Review : The Christmas Cookie Club

The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman
Pages : 270
Genre : Fiction, Holiday!
Stand Alone
My Rating :

What it’s about :

Every year, on the first Monday of December, the Christmas Cookie club gathers at Marnie’s house. This year again, the twelve girlfriends are getting ready to share wine, cookies, and the stories that make their lives.

The Christmas Cookie Club was a nice read, although a bit different from what I first expected. The complete story takes place in a single day, the day when the Cookie Club is meeting. Although there isn’t really a “story” in the traditional sense of the word, the book still kept me interested. Ann Pearlman made me feel as if, for a moment, I was part of the group – maybe like a little bird peeking on everyone’s conversations.

So, after reading so many reviews of the book last year, I was looking forward to finally reading it. The first 50 pages of the book were so depressing, for a while I thought I was reading the wrong book. Between them, Marnie and her best friend Charlene share an awful lot of sad stories : death of a husband, loss of a child, being cheated on, violent relationship… you name it, it’s there.

Luckily, as I turned the pages and the other girls arrived at Marnie’s house, things lighten up a bit and the book started to fill with the Christmas spirit. I found that the characters’ stories made them real, and I felt that, despite the number of characters in such a small number of pages, I knew who they were. Each chapter introduces a new cookie recipe (and they are so, so yummy looking, I’m absolutely going to try them!), and ends with an ingredient’s story. This made the book really easy to read little by little or, should I say, one bit at a time!

The voice of Marnie was easy to relate to, which surprised me since I had little in common with her – she’s a woman in her fifties about to have her first grandkids, for a start – but her loving personality made it easy to care for her. Because she is the narrator, everything is of course told from her point of view, which means she knows some things about her friends, and ignores some others. In spite of her group of friends taking a huge importance in the book, I couldn’t help but feel that this was, before anything, Marnie’s story. Through her friends life, she was telling her own. She admits to that easily though :

“Sometimes I can’t get my mind around the different versions of me, Marnie. And yet the friends who met the other adaptations of me through the decades are still part of my current life. Witnesses, when we’re all together, to my whole existence. I love them as I love myself in all my varieties and aspects. And I love them for the spectacular women they are, each in her own way. (p. 73)”

So, all in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was also the perfect read for this time of the year : the Cookie club meets soon before Christmas, but it’s not about Christmas. It’s about love, friendship, family, giving, and… cookies, of course!

And if you enjoy the book, or want to start your own cookie club, be sure to get your hands on this :

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8 responses to “Review : The Christmas Cookie Club”

  1. Amanda says :

    This sounds like a great holiday read!

  2. Juju at Tales of says :

    I’m so glad you reviewed this. I’ve been eying it for some time. Question: Did it ever get sexual?

    • kay says :

      Juju : it didn’t. The closest it comes to it is at the beginning of the book, when Marnie mentions waking up after a sexy dream with her boyfriend, but it never goes into detail. There are mention of people having affairs and such, but since the book is focussed on the relationships between the women and their stories, it’s all really “clean”, I’d say.

  3. Meg says :

    This sounds right up my alley! And I can’t pass up a book that’s about the holidays, friendship and cookies.

  4. toothy says :

    mmm cookies! i do love baking. i’m glad you were able to keep the characters straight because when i first read 12 girls meeting together i though “uh oh, i’m going to have to draw out a relationship tree to keep the characters straight”.

  5. bermudaonion says :

    I enjoyed the book and would love to get my hands on that cookbook!

  6. Literary Feline says :

    I meant to read this last year but didn’t get around to it. I did give my mom a copy for Christmas though and she enjoyed it. I am glad you ended up enjoying it, Kay. Sounds perfect for the holiday season.

  7. kay says :

    Amanda : it was! It was also great that it didn’t only focussed on the holiday part.

    Meg : I couldn’t pass such a book either! I think you might like it; I’d love to hear your comments on it!

    Toothy : I love baking, but I’m so bad at it – or anything in the kitchen really! I admit that 12 characters is a lot, but since the author doesn’t mix them all together from the start, it helps!

    Kathy : I would too! I might get it in December I think.

    Literary Feline : It was perfect for the season, I’m happy I finally got to read it. Do you think you might manage to read it this year?

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