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When I picked up this title, I didn't realise it was a short story. It might have been better as a longer book, not sure.
In any case, Claire is the long-suffering mother at the heart of the tale. She is taken for granted by her entire family, including her husband, and when her grown-up kids (plus spouses and four year old twins) descend on her home for the Christmas holidays, she should be happy about it, right? Because she loves Christmas and everything associated with it.
Well, I understand that this is supposed to be a wry look at this woman who is trying to juggle everything and not quite managing it, but all I felt was terribly sad. Claire clearly has not got a lot of money to spend, but she goes out of her way to make sure that her family have their favourite foods and she goes above and beyond when it comes to everyone having a good time. Her children are ridiculously self-centred and instead of being concerned about her returning home a lot later than expected on one occasion (and no doubt her body language would tell any normal person that there was a reason for her lateness and that a hug might be in order or a listening ear), she is expected to feel bad that she wasn't home in order to babysit.
I am sorry, I wanted to like this, but I think that this story is a little bit close to home for me. I just wanted to put my arms around Claire and whisk her off for a pampering weekend. And tell her ungrateful family what I think of them.
3 stars from me. It was ok but I found it a little depressing.
Thank you to NetGalley and Amazon Original Stories.
In her seasonal novella Oh. What. Fun., Chandler Baker cleverly balances domestic satire with a deeper message about the inequitable expectations placed on women, in particular at the festive season. It's a subject that will ring true for many female readers.
Christmas is only days away, and the Clauster family is gathering at the family home in Austin, Texas. Matriarch Claire is in the thick of the rather manic logistical exercise that maintaining the Clauster family Christmas traditions requires, and receives little support or thanks for her efforts.
When the family all head off to Disney's Christmas Fantasy on Ice on the night before Christmas Eve, it takes them two hours and an impromptu marriage proposal to realise that they've left Claire behind at home. But Mom’s not there, either, and by the next morning it's become clear that she's actually disappeared.
Will the Clausters be able to redeem themselves and discover the true meaning of Christmas, or will their festive season never be the same again?
I really enjoy Chandler Baker's writing, and in particular the way she captures very serious societal issues within a fictional context. The nuanced characterisations in Oh. What. Fun. are impressive in so short a work, perhaps aided by the domestic setting that will be familiar to many readers. While there are several laugh-out-loud moments, there's also the opportunity to reflect on our own behaviour in a similar context - am I a Christmas martyr? Do I let others take on an unfair load? How might we create a celebration that everyone can enjoy without exhaustion and resentment?
Oh. What. Fun. is a thought-provoking and entertaining seasonal read. I'd recommend it particularly to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction, especially those with an interest in gender issues such as the division of domestic labour.
My thanks to the author, Chandler Baker, publisher Amazon Original Stories, and NetGalley, for the opportunity to read and review this title.
Christmas is fun and magical, right? Right?? Written in a lighthearted and humurous style, this brings home the message that it's still often mothers who make it all happen, and that it is stressful and exhausting. And that those mothers deserve a little magic as well.
Oh what fun! A Christmas novel (or novella) should be fun and light with a bit of a story to make you think - this book had all of that an more. I enjoyed it! Thanks NetGalley for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
Audio Version - I had no idea what to expect from this th saving never listened to anything by Chandler Baker before. It was quite funny. Fed up of being taken for granted of at Christmas time by the whole family, Mum or Mom does something quite out of character and goes missing on Christmas Eve! Definitely worth a listen.
I don't think that this story was fun. Sad, mostly. It felt like a long rambling story you might hear at a bar. The mother's disjointed narrative was her "audition video" for the talk show. There is no clear narrator for the rest of it. One of the kids, I'd guess, or maybe each of them in turn. I do think the author had some fun writing it. Many amusing little details, dropped here and there. Worth a chuckle every now and then. I've definitely read worse. The whole wasn't all that fun to read. (I really should have noted the sarcastic punctuation.) The cumulative effect of it all was more "poor Mom" than "zazzy fun times." That can get a bit tiresome, even in a story as short as this one - 47 pages. I didn't give up, though,, because it was so short. So, I guess that's a win, eh?
Oh, my gosh! What a super cute little story that’s a holiday love letter to moms everywhere (and maybe even some dads too). This story was written with sly humor to accentuate the mundane ebb and flow of family life, with everyone filling their role and reminding us how much we can take our parents for granted. This short story does an excellent job creating a holiday scenario that forces one family to reach the point of realizing (possibly too late) how integral their mother, Claire, is to not only their Christmas holiday, but to every day of their lives.
I highly recommend this story that is full of good humor and self-realization. It made me both laugh out loud and get teary-eyed. This is, after all, a very sentimental time of year, and I was lucky to have grown up with a working mom who took care of the home, cooked homemade meals, and still loved me enough to make time to hide Easter eggs, take me to the school Halloween carnival, play Santa, take me to the fair, but probably didn’t get the thanks she deserved as often as she should have. This story made me nostalgic for my childhood in the best possible way, and for that I applaud this author and highly recommend this story as a delightful seasonal read that will actually have you laughing, maybe crying, and trying to figure out what’s happened to Claire this Christmas!
The story is written in the first person with "we did this," and such, but it wasn't clear who the narrator was, because every person in the story was named. There was no "I" or "me." Also, I didn't find it as funny as the description said it would be, but that might just be me and my mood tonight.
It was a very interesting story, and I did enjoy it. It's a nice, quick read perfect for Christmastime.