The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere (review)

December 18, 2014 Christian, Christmas 0 ★★

The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere (review)The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere
Published by Macmillan on 2001
Number of Pages: 144
Genres: Christian, Christmas, Family, Holidays
Source: Gift
Format: Hardcover
Purchase: At Amazon

Sometimes, the things that can change your life will cross your path in one instant-and then, in a fleeting moment, they're gone. But if you open your eyes, and watch carefully, you will believe....


Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life-and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself. Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together. A chance meeting on Christmas Even brings Robert and Nathan together-he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference.

“There’s a difference between needs and wants, and we have everything we need.”

The point of view shifts between 2 different families, and a teacher who teaches the son of one of the families. Mostly, the point of view shifts are done in a way that made sense. There were a few times where I wasn’t sure who I was reading about for a paragraph or two, and then it cleared up.

I really enjoyed reading about Maggie and her family. I hoped for a Christmas miracle for her and her family, but the miracle ended up happening for Robert instead. Maggie’s storyline centers around the fact that she has ovarian cancer. We get to read about lots of sweet and sad moments in her life, and really get a feel for her and her family as characters.

I did not care for Robert at all. And since most of what you learn about his family is from his point of view, you don’t really learn much of anything about his wife and children. This is because HE doesn’t really know anything about his wife and children. He does get better as the story progresses, but I still didn’t really care for him at the end. His storyline centers around the fact that he is a workaholic, and spends more time at his job at a law office, than he does with his wife and kids. He spends so little time with them in fact, that he doesn’t have the least idea about what to buy them for Christmas!

This is a Christian fiction book, which is not something I tend to read. It was a gift from a family member however, and short, so I figured I’d give it a try. The mention of God isn’t as heavy as in some I’ve come across, it really is only emphasized in the beginning and end of the book. You will need a box of tissues if you read this however. I spent at least half the book crying, which isn’t something I was expecting from a Christmas book!

The two families were compared throughout the book. One was poor, barely making ends meet, but they were happy and full of love. Making the best of what they had. All three of them had personalities and flaws and felt like actual people. The other family was rich, more money than they knew what to do with. But the father was never there. And no one in that family except the father and grandmother had enough characterization to know anything about them. They all came off as paper dolls or puppets.

It wasn’t really a book I ever would have bought for myself. And the only bits I actually liked were about Maggie’s family. I thought it was horrible that the family you actually end up liking the most, is the family that has to suffer the most. And the family you don’t have any attachment to is the one that gets the happy ending. So this book gets it’s stars based solely on the Maggie moments.


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