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Skipping Christmas [Hardcover]

John Grisham
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)

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Book Description

8 Nov 2001
Imagine a year without the chaos and frenzy that has become part of our holiday tradition - this is just what Luther and Nora Krank have in mind when they plan to skip Christmas and embark on a Caribbean cruise instead. But as this weary couple is about to discover - it's not as easy as that.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Century; First Edition edition (8 Nov 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0712620044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0712620048
  • Product Dimensions: 19.7 x 13.4 x 2.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (137 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 605,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Long before his name became synonymous with the modern legal thriller, he was working 60-70 hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby--writing his first novel.

Born on February 8, 1955 in Jonesboro, Arkansas, to a construction worker and a homemaker, John Grisham as a child dreamed of being a professional baseball player. Realizing he didn't have the right stuff for a pro career, he shifted gears and majored in accounting at Mississippi State University. After graduating from law school at Ole Miss in 1981, he went on to practice law for nearly a decade in Southaven, specializing in criminal defense and personal injury litigation. In 1983, he was elected to the state House of Representatives and served until 1990.

One day at the DeSoto County courthouse, Grisham overheard the harrowing testimony of a twelve-year-old rape victim and was inspired to start a novel exploring what would have happened if the girl's father had murdered her assailants. Getting up at 5 a.m. every day to get in several hours of writing time before heading off to work, Grisham spent three years on A Time to Kill and finished it in 1987. Initially rejected by many publishers, it was eventually bought by Wynwood Press, who gave it a modest 5,000 copy printing and published it in June 1988.

That might have put an end to Grisham's hobby. However, he had already begun his next book, and it would quickly turn that hobby into a new full-time career--and spark one of publishing's greatest success stories. The day after Grisham completed A Time to Kill, he began work on another novel, the story of a hotshot young attorney lured to an apparently perfect law firm that was not what it appeared. When he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures for $600,000, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers, and book rights were bought by Doubleday. Spending 47 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991.

The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham's reputation as the master of the legal thriller. Grisham's success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was republished in hardcover by Doubleday and then in paperback by Dell. This time around, it was a bestseller.

Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year (his other books are The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, The Chamber, The Rainmaker, The Runaway Jury, The Partner, The Street Lawyer, The Testament, The Brethren, A Painted House, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, The King of Torts, Bleachers, The Last Juror, The Broker, Playing for Pizza, The Appeal, and The Associate) and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 250 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into 29 languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films (The Firm, The Pelican Brief, The Client, A Time to Kill, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, A Painted House, The Runaway Jury, and Skipping Christmas), as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. The Innocent Man (October 2006) marked his first foray into non-fiction, and Ford County (November 2009) was his first short story collection.

Grisham lives with his wife Renee and their two children Ty and Shea. The family splits their time between their Victorian home on a farm in Mississippi and a plantation near Charlottesville, VA.

Grisham took time off from writing for several months in 1996 to return, after a five-year hiatus, to the courtroom. He was honoring a commitment made before he had retired from the law to become a full-time writer: representing the family of a railroad brakeman killed when he was pinned between two cars. Preparing his case with the same passion and dedication as his books' protagonists, Grisham successfully argued his clients' case, earning them a jury award of $683,500--the biggest verdict of his career.

When he's not writing, Grisham devotes time to charitable causes, including most recently his Rebuild The Coast Fund, which raised 8.8 million dollars for Gulf Coast relief in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. He also keeps up with his greatest passion: baseball. The man who dreamed of being a professional baseball player now serves as the local Little League commissioner. The six ballfields he built on his property have played host to over 350 kids on 26 Little League teams.

Product Description

Amazon Review

John Grisham has turned a satirical eye on the overblown ritual of the festive season, and the result is Skipping Christmas, a modest but funny novel about the tyranny of December 25. Grisham's story revolves around a typical middle-aged American couple, Luther and Nora Krank. On the first Sunday after Thanksgiving they wave their daughter Blair off to Peru to work for the Peace Corps, and suddenly realise that "for the first time in her young and sheltered life Blair would spend Christmas away from home".

Luther Krank sees his daughter's Christmas absence as an opportunity. An accountant, Luther quickly estimates that "a year earlier, the Luther Krank family had spent $6,100 on Christmas", and had "precious little to show for it". Luther makes an executive decision, telling his wife, friends and neighbours that "we won't do Christmas". Instead, Luther books a 10-day Caribbean cruise. All goes well until people get wind of the Kranks' subversive scheme. Everyone, from Christmas card salesmen to horrified neighbours, besieges the couple with questions; what about the Christmas party, carols and the erection of Frosty the Snowman? Things start to turn nasty in the local neighbourhood.

Grisham builds up a funny but increasingly terrifying picture of how the tightknit community turn on the Kranks, who find themselves under increasing pressure to conform. As the tension mounts, will they ever manage to board their plane on December 25? Skipping Christmas is Grisham-lite, with none of the serious drama of earlier books such as The Pelican Brief, but a funny poke at the craziness of Christmas. --Jerry Brotton


'..a beguiling and beautifully constructed novel’ -- Sunday Times, praise for A Painted House

'..a lyrical, gritty and personal novel - his best work’ -- The Times, praise for A Painted House

'You can take the adventure out of Grisham, but you can’t take Grisham out of his adventures... an impressive read’ -- The Observer

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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First Sentence
The gate was packed with weary travelers, most of them standing and huddled along the walls because the meager allotment of plastic chairs had long since been taken. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, New Look At The Spirit of Christmas. 4 Feb 2002
An excellent read.
I've read almost all of John's books, and enjoyed most of them. This is a real breath of fresh air.
The humour is subtle, and John really captures the feeling of Christmas.
Peace, is something the Luther Krank seeks, when he is faced with Christmas, so he decides to "Skip Christmas" completely, but, in a very entertaining chain of events he slowly realises that Christmas isn't just about tinsel, candles, presents, lights, fixtures, fittings and big bank balances, and that there is far more than that involved. A simple phone call completely turns his plans upside down, and he finds himself at the "mercy" of those he was avoiding.
I read this book, "post Christmas" and found I could really relate to some of the feelings conveyed.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just wonderful!! 23 Mar 2006
By clrussl
I have to say that this must be one of my favourite books. It is so easy to read and the main characters come alive, with all their weaknesses and silliness. You can't help smiling at some of the incidents and the twist in the tale ...... well, it takes your breath away!
Brilliant as a present, but buy it first for yourself.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, must be read before Christmas!! 14 Nov 2001
This is a very different story for John Grisham. Must be read before Christmas. I really enjoyed this book, it made me laugh and the story has stayed in my mind long after finishing the book. A very good read, I highly recommend it!!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What Christmas Is All About...Unfortunately 6 Sep 2003
In a good way this book makes you cringe. Why? Because we have all been there at CHristmas time. The stress of the planning,the cost of it all. So as we have all thought at times, the characters in this book decide to escape and instead of spending all their hard earned money on gifts and food decide to escape on a cruise. The cringe moments come when the whole street is decorating their houses and theirs is the only one without so much as a bit of tinsel. It is typical of how we are always looking at what the neighbours are doing and what they will think fi we dont celebrate Christmas the traditional way. The pressure is piled on to them to conform and as the stress levels increase as a reader the scenes that are set become more hilarious. Defenitely worth a read and a good diversion from the heavy legal bound usual writings.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic feel-good Christmas read 26 July 2005
By A Customer
Skipping Christmas is a wonderful little book to get you in the holiday spirit. It offers a comical and also cynical glimpse into the stress of the run up to Christmas. Throughout the book you will laugh out load then shed a tear at the end.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Here's one I made earlier... 15 Mar 2007
Someone bought this for me a few years ago as a Christmas present and as so often happens, I put it to one side to read later. I've just finished it, and I'm glad I did.

Skipping Christmas follows the fortunes of Luther Krank and his wife Nora. Their daughter Blair has gone off to Peru to do voluntary service and with Christmas approaching, Luther has a brainwave. They will skip Christmas this year, save the money, and hasten off on a Caribbean cruise. (I confess I have often thought the same!) He dashes downstairs, fires up the computer and stares at his spreadsheets. Christmas last year cost him a whopping $6,100, heck a top line cruise for two costs only $5,000! They will skip Christmas and cruise the seas, and already Luther Krank can see string bikini clad tanned girls everywhere.

But nothing is ever as straight forward as that. This is a short novel by Mister Grisham's standards, indeed by anyone's standards, being only 178 pages and small pages at that. It is almost as if this is a throwaway one "he made earlier" when he had nothing better to do, but that would be unfair. I read it in a weekend. The writing is crisp; the dialogue spot on, and as in all of Grisham's books, the narrative is delivered very much tongue in cheek, through his unmistakeable dry wit.

For me, this wit has never been successfully reproduced in the accompanying Grisham adapted movies, resulting in the books, almost invariably, being considerably better than the films. This book made me laugh out loud several times, and anything that can do that, makes it money well spent. I liked it a lot, and hope you will too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Grisham Lite" hits the spot 13 Jan 2003
By A Customer
This is great fun. Grisham really isn't trying too hard as he points the finger at the excesses and social paranoia that dominate Christmas. It's an enjoyable read that is little more than a long short story. Grisham's well practiced, easy style, zips along at a comfortable pace with some neat, wry observations about suburban behaviours. Read it and then give to friends to read next year.
One small gripe - Grisham loses his nerve and goes for the Disney ending when something a little more Grimm would have been far more satisfying. Shame.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A real turkey of a book 26 Jan 2002
I bought this on the back of all other John Grisham novels, however, I have noticed that his plots are becomming a little tired!. This was one my holiday reading material over christmas and quite frankly I could not believe it was written by the same man who bought us The partner, A time to kill and The Firm. Its a daft story and an even dafter ending. I will wait for reviews on his new book before I buy any more of his novels, because his last three books leave alot to be desired. I think this guy has lost the plot!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars One Star
worst ever book i have read
Published 26 days ago by Maurice Cawte
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite Good
Quite good but not his best
Published 29 days ago by C. Cooper
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent light read
I loved the detail of the book, I really would like to skip Christmas as a result it has a lovely flow to it and makes a great holiday read
Published 2 months ago by Paul M
5.0 out of 5 stars unusual Grisham
Different and enjoyable
Published 2 months ago by Marion Aspel
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't expect John Grisham's usual standard
Awful Not up to John Grisham's standard. I have read many of his books and am just reading Rainmaker now and find it difficult to put it down - very enjoyable read.
Published 3 months ago by customer
1.0 out of 5 stars Truly awful
Having just read Sycamore Row which I liked, I thought I would give this a go. It's American slapstick at its worst, simplistic, sentimental and completely unfunny. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars More like Tyler than Grisham
I’ve only briefly dipped into John Grisham’s work prior to this. Legal thrillers don’t interest me, but this looked different. As, indeed, it turned out to be. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sue
4.0 out of 5 stars A ridiculous idea
We all know it is crazy but this is a very funny reminder of why we all do Christmas and the thought of skipping it is a ridiculous idea
Published 4 months ago by Gill Armstrong
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
I would highly recommend this book - especially if his usual subject matter of the legal world is not your taste as this is completely different. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Lindy
4.0 out of 5 stars Skipping Christmas
A good story line. A pleasant change from the usual law based tales. A story that keeps you guessing until the bitter end.
Published 5 months ago by M D FACEY
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