Mine just happens to be Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life' starring Jimmy Stuart. It's based on the book 'The Greatest Gift' by Philip Van Doren Stern. I admit I've never read the book but Jimmy and I go back many, many Christmas's because I've watched this movie every year at least once during the holidays for most of my life and I'm over 50. So I can probably say with a relative amount of certainty that I've seen the movie 50+ times and I've also watched a number of remakes/variations and enjoyed them all.
What does this have to do with 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles'? You might ask if you probably hadn't already figured it out. It's the story itself. 'Merry Christmas, Mr. Miggles' has the same wonderful underlying theme and while there are very definite differences there are also some similarities just enough to give me that same warm feeling that I get from 'It's a Wonderful Life'. For me this story was like a beautifully wrapped tribute to a traditional holiday classic. Mr. Miggles like George Bailey is a solid rock upon which his community depends. He goes out of his way to help people and enrich their lives never asking for anything in return and when trouble lands on his doorstep does he ask for help? Or any kind of payback? and the answer is no he doesn't just like George Bailey, Sean fails to see his value to a community that loves him and like George it's the people who care about him and whose lives he has touched who band together to give him support and make him realize how much he is truly loved and appreciated by his community.
There were other things that put me in mind of my favorite holiday classic as well, things like...
the fact that both George Bailey and Sean Miggles have tragedies in their past that have altered their lives from their chosen paths.
Both George and Sean are faced by a crisis in the present that has the ability to destroy them...personally and professionally.
With George we are shown the impact he's had on the people in his life by the angel Clarence who shows George how life in his town would have been had he never been born and with Sean we see it through Toby's eyes as he tries to help defend Sean and finds out about all the people that Sean has quietly been helping over the years.
Both men are loved by someone whose faith and belief in them is unwavering and unquestioning.
Both George and Sean have a powerful community member whose goals will be their undoing. For George it's the banker, Henry F. Potter for Sean...pfft, really? you thought I'd spoil the story and telly you? Sorry...no, you'll have to read the story to find out.
Ok so I could keep going with this list but I don't think I need to. I only did this to illustrate some of the similarities between this story and my favorite holiday movie. Does this bother me? Hell no, because for all the similarities that I may have seen I also saw a wonderfully well written story that contained it's own unique and original ideas. I loved this story and I can't say for sure because it's early days but it wouldn't surprise me if this ended up being one of, if not my favorite holiday story this year.
Whether the author realized how much this story reflected a holiday classic or not, I neither know nor care. What I do know is that I loved it from the first word to the last. In part it was because it reminded my of what for me is a much beloved story and it was also because of all the differences that I saw, differences that made this story into it's own unique and wonderful holiday story and there was just one other little thing...library sex...sweet and sexy and seriously hot!!! oh-my-god-start-the-cold-shower-library-sex for that alone this book should get 5 more stars.
So if you love holiday classics and authors who can put a unique and original spin on them, you'll want this on your holiday reading list...seriously, right now, add it, read it and if you don't love this story...maybe get a cardiogram done...just sayin'.
An ARC of "Merry Christmas Mr. Miggles" was graciously provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.