On Strike For Christmas
by Sheila Roberts

St. Martin's Griffin, 2007. ISBN 978-0-312-37022-0.
Reviewed by Becky Lane
Posted on 11/06/2008

Fiction: Chicklit

Bogged down reading several heavy tomes about impending doom, dealing with the dwindling state of our retirement fund, and bombarded with robo-calls prior to the election, I found myself in desperate need of a light-hearted reading escape. While cruising the aisles of my local Tar-jay store, I stumbled across the perfect thing.

Although I love a well-written Christmas story, I hate the shoddy ones that pop up on the store shelves mid-August. I was leery of buying one by an unfamiliar author, but the "Bookmarked-Breakout" sticker on the front of this one gave me courage. Plus, I couldn't resist the premise: a small town's women finally get fed up and go on strike, leaving the men to handle Christmas completely on their own.

The story begins with Joy, who loves celebrating the holidays with her huge, boisterous, extended family. Her husband wants to sit quietly at home, keeping her all to himself. Over the years, her resentment of his Grinch-like attitude toward tree-decorating and party-hosting builds up until finally, she throws in the towel. She vows not to lift a finger this Christmas, leaving her husband to do as much or as little as he wishes.

When friends in her knitting circle hear of her boycott, they climb on board. Laura's husband isn't a Grinch; he loves Christmas. However, he is totally clueless about what a burden it puts on Laura—a working mother of two—when he leaves her to handle the preparations. Another friend's husband is a skinflint who begrudges every penny she spends. When the local newspaper gets wind of the story, things really get out of hand.

In the end, the men aren't the only ones who learn some valuable lessons. I learned one or two myself. Perhaps it's time to take a closer look at the demanding traditions that began in the 50's, when women had a lot more time on their hands, and spiraled out of control when TV's domestic goddesses got hold of them. Maybe the husbands are right—it really doesn't have to be this hard!

Sheila Roberts, happily married mother of three, lives on a lake in the Pacific Northwest. Before she began her writing career, she tried her hand at several music-related endeavors, such as owning a singing telegram company, and playing in a band. Find out more by visiting her website.

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