Review: THE LAST CHRISTMAS GIFT by Nathan Shumate
"Ralphie" as a war orphan stuck in a George Romero movie on Christmas Eve. Worth the read!
Malcolm’s dad died in Vietnam, so Malcolm is toughing things out in his formative adolescent years. One big constant is his Grandpap, who helped to raise him, but he died a little while ago. They just had the funeral. His body’s still in the casket in the parlor in front of their house.
Kinda creepy if you think about it, and it gets worse when you realize Malcolm lives across the street from a graveyard. Christmas Eve rolls around, Malcolm really wishes his dad or Grandpap were around, and he’s trying to take his mind off things.
Then Malcolm executes the time-honored trope of “Earnest Protagonist Effs Around With Something He Doesn’t Understand,” one thing leads to another, and boom, Grandpap’s corpse comes back to life in the parlor!
Oh. Oh no. Oh no, no, no, no. The thing Malcom did? It hit the graveyard too. Lots of undead are roaming the street now, and Grandpap’s awake, and Malcolm had to tell him what he did, and they have to see if they can fix it before the night’s out…
Let me just say that I don’t actually like reading eBooks. I’ve finished maybe five total, ever. This was one of them, and it’s so much fun. I liked the guts it took to pick up the Walking Dead and send them on parade down 34th Street, to treat it seriously enough to give it good prose, and to tell a positive male role model story the entire way.
Malcolm and Grandpap get the lion’s share of the screentime, this is very much a story about a kid and his grandfather, transferring life lessons across generations, as grandfathers are known to do.
Malcolm is the kid you probably were, and Grandpap is the mentor you probably needed.
America, right around Vietnam. Familiar, semi-recent, and relatable.
Spooky/paranormal, nothing else objectionable.
Who’s it for?
Anyone who likes a little bit of Christmas Cozy sprinkled in their horror, or vice versa. If you like both genres then this is a great car-crash.
Why read it?
Because it’s the most wonderful time of the year, bro. It’s good heartfelt fun that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Go read it.
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