When Todd McCray, a developmentally challenged young man still living on his parents' Kansas farm, hears that a local animal shelter is seeking temporary homes for its dogs during the days leading to Christmas, he knows exactly what he wants for the holidays. His father objects, but Todd's persistence quickly wins out. Soon the McCrays are the short-term foster family for a lovable pooch the young man names Christmas.
But what about all the other dogs who will be forced to spend the Yuletide season in cages? In the days that follow, Todd uses his special gifts of persuasion to encourage his hometown to participate in the Adopt a Dog for Christmas Program. What follows from his small act of kindness will teach his family, and his community, about peace on earth and good will toward men and animals.
This unfortunately was a let down for me. I was originally really excited for this book because I love cheesy holiday stories and I love dogs. But this one fell flat.
I think it could have been the writing. I really disliked the main character, the dad. Because of that, it made it hard for me to enjoy reading his perspective. I also found the don to be an irritating cardboard cutout of an actual child. The dialogue was awful, especially for the kid. It was the kind of "perfect child" in a book that you assume will say things like "oh golly" and "gee willikers", which made it hard to believe any of the story. I know the characters is, as the synopsis describes, "developmentally challenged" but I wouldn't have gotten that without being told. He definitely acts younger than his age, but honestly I would have assumed that was a writing flaw if I hadn't known.
The cheesy moments I would have been fine with originally, you kind of expect cheesy plots when you pick up a holiday book or even watch a holiday movie. But because I wasn't connected to the characters and the dialogue was off, it made me roll my eyes. The way I describe it is watching a holiday movie with good actors vs. bad actors. With good actors, even if it's a little cheesy you are stil enjoying it. But bad actors, cheesy moments can get irritating. I think if the writing was better and if there was more character development maybe this could have been a really cute holiday story. The book is less than 150 pages long, so there could have easily been room for some character development or something. I think making it so short was a bad decision.
The plot itself was fine, I don't expect a lot of originality when it comes to holiday stories because that really isn't the point of reading a holiday book. Like I said earlier, I wish there was more. I think it being so short definitely negatively impacted not only the character development but the story development also. Honesty, I would have liked less of the dad also. He drove me insane and I was way more interested in the boy and the dog than I was about him and his inner thoughts.
Overall, I can't say I recommend this book. Of course, like all my reviews, I recommend checking it our if you read the synopsis and think it sounds cool. But for me, it just wasn't what I was hoping it would be. I was really excited for a holiday story revolving around a dog.