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The Christmas List PDF, ePub eBook


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Title: The Christmas List
Author: Richard Paul Evans
Publisher: Published October 6th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2009)
ISBN: 9781439150009
Status : FREE Rating :
4.6 out of 5

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Box returns with a holiday novel of hope, love, and redemption. Dear Reader, When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don't remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died The New York Times bestselling author of The Christmas Box returns with a holiday novel of hope, love, and redemption. Dear Reader, When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don't remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died: in first place on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time, I hadn't considered writing as an occupation, a field with a remarkably low on-the-job casualty rate. What intrigues me most about Mrs. Johnson's assignment is the opportunity she gave us to confront our own legacy. How do we want to be remembered? That question has motivated our species since the beginning of time: from building pyramids to putting our names on skyscrapers. As I began to write this book, I had two objectives: First, I wanted to explore what could happen if someone read their obituary before they died and saw, firsthand, what the world really thought of them. Their legacy. Second, I wanted to write a Christmas story of true redemption. One of my family's holiday traditions is to see a local production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I don't know how many times I've seen it (perhaps a dozen), but it still thrills me to see the change that comes over Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a dull, tight-fisted miser into a penitent, "giddy-as-aschoolboy" man with love in his heart. I always leave the show with a smile on my face and a resolve to be a better person. That's what I wanted to share with you, my dear readers, this Christmas -- a holiday tale to warm your season, your homes, and your hearts. Merry Christmas

30 review for The Christmas List

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*

    EXCERPT: Saturday - three weeks before Christmas James Kier looked back and forth between the newspaper headline and the photograph of himself, not sure if he should laugh or call his attorney. It was the same photograph the Tribune had used a couple of years earlier when they featured him on the front page of the business section. He had worn a silver herringbone-weave Armani over a black silk t-shirt for the photo session, the corner of an ebony silk handkerchief peeked strategically from the EXCERPT: Saturday - three weeks before Christmas James Kier looked back and forth between the newspaper headline and the photograph of himself, not sure if he should laugh or call his attorney. It was the same photograph the Tribune had used a couple of years earlier when they featured him on the front page of the business section. He had worn a silver herringbone-weave Armani over a black silk t-shirt for the photo session, the corner of an ebony silk handkerchief peeked strategically from the breast pocket. The black and white photograph was carefully posed and lighted to leave half his face in shadow. The photographer, a black-clad young Japanese man with a shock of bright pink hair, chose to shoot in black and white because, in the photographer's words, he was "going for a Ying-Yang effect - to fully capture Kier's inner complexities." The photographer was good at his craft. Kier's expression revealed a leaky confidence. While the photograph was the same, the headline could not have been more different. Not many people get to read their own obituary. ABOUT THIS BOOK: Dear Reader, When I was in seventh grade, my English teacher, Mrs. Johnson, gave our class the intriguing (if somewhat macabre) assignment of writing our own obituaries. Oddly, I don't remember much of what I wrote about my life, but I do remember how I died: in first place on the final lap of the Daytona 500. At the time, I hadn't considered writing as an occupation, a field with a remarkably low on-the-job casualty rate. What intrigues me most about Mrs. Johnson's assignment is the opportunity she gave us to confront our own legacy. How do we want to be remembered? That question has motivated our species since the beginning of time: from building pyramids to putting our names on skyscrapers. As I began to write this book, I had two objectives: First, I wanted to explore what could happen if someone read their obituary before they died and saw, firsthand, what the world really thought of them. Their legacy. Second, I wanted to write a Christmas story of true redemption. One of my family's holiday traditions is to see a local production of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. I don't know how many times I've seen it (perhaps a dozen), but it still thrills me to see the change that comes over Ebenezer Scrooge as he transforms from a dull, tight-fisted miser into a penitent, "giddy-as-a-schoolboy" man with love in his heart. I always leave the show with a smile on my face and a resolve to be a better person. That's what I wanted to share with you, my dear readers, this Christmas -- a holiday tale to warm your season, your homes, and your hearts. Merry Christmas MY THOUGHTS: I know it's not Christmas, that has been and gone, but this modern-day version of Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol appealed and, I am pleased to say, was a rewarding read. Reading his obituary, and all the accompanying online comments, is a real eye-opener for this very successful and self-absorbed businessman. It did make me wonder what mine might say about me. Beyond that all that I am going to say is, have a box of tissues handy. 3.5 stars for this emotional work by Richard Paul Evans. I listened to The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans, narrated by John Dorsett and published by Simon and Schuster Audio, via OverDrive. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions. Please refer to my Goodreads.com profile page or the 'about' page on sandysbookaday.wordpress.com for an explanation of my rating system. This review and others are also published on my blog sandysbookaday.wordpress.com

  2. 4 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    James Kier is a ruthless businessman. Ruthless in the sense that what he wants is only to make money and he does not care about the feelings of his employees and their families. He also does foul business practices and he enjoys seeing his competitors close their shops. There was a time when he drove one of his competitors to bankruptcy by clandestinely buying all the materials in the market so the poor winner (his competitor) in the bidding had to close shop so James Kier got the job for his co James Kier is a ruthless businessman. Ruthless in the sense that what he wants is only to make money and he does not care about the feelings of his employees and their families. He also does foul business practices and he enjoys seeing his competitors close their shops. There was a time when he drove one of his competitors to bankruptcy by clandestinely buying all the materials in the market so the poor winner (his competitor) in the bidding had to close shop so James Kier got the job for his company. Then he marches to his competitor, calls him "donkey" and says that he should improve on his planning. One day, he is reading the newspaper and sees an obituary of himself. What's in it makes him think of what he is doing in his life. So he asks his secretary to make a list of the people he has wronged and as he wants to make amends. Since the list is given 3 weeks before Christmas, he now refers this as his "Christmas List." So, the rest of the story is about the lives of these 6 people who his secretary thinks her boss hurt or did wrong in the past and how James Kier tries to use his money and power to make them happy and his secretary is like his guardian angel. You see, James Kier and his secretary work very closely that the secretary knows almost everything about her boss. Sounds like very similar to the plot of Charles Dicken's The Christmas Carol minus of course the three ghosts. Instead, the plot is filled with people who were like characters in a T.V. afternoon drama. There is nothing to it really. It's just that they mouth terribly melodramatic words and they are there to highlight how opportunistic James Kier as a person not even as just a savvy businessman. It is like James Kier is all evil and the other characters, the ones that have been wronged, are good if not like angels without wings. Life does not normally work that way, right? There are always the good side and the bad side in everyone. John Paul Evans' way of presenting his characters is what I am not so happy about his works: it is so simplistic that his characters appear like unreal or caricatures. But the theme of repentance followed by redemption is there and oh what the hell, at some points in our lives, we all sat down on front of the television and watched afternoon series. Or like Coney Reyes in the recent hit T.V. series 100 Days. The ABS-CBN writers were probably inspired by Dickens or maybe even this one.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Shawna

    There are some spoilers in this review. Having had first-hand experience with a relative that died of pancreatic cancer, I was disgusted with Evans' patently romanticized version of Sara Kier's death. One does not impart declarations of love and a pithy bon mot about how heaven-won't-be-heaven-if-you-are-not-there-my-love in the final stages of death by pancreatic cancer. In reality Sara Kier would have been comatose. And the schmaltz doesn't end there...Sara dies on Christmas Day...which was the There are some spoilers in this review. Having had first-hand experience with a relative that died of pancreatic cancer, I was disgusted with Evans' patently romanticized version of Sara Kier's death. One does not impart declarations of love and a pithy bon mot about how heaven-won't-be-heaven-if-you-are-not-there-my-love in the final stages of death by pancreatic cancer. In reality Sara Kier would have been comatose. And the schmaltz doesn't end there...Sara dies on Christmas Day...which was their 25th wedding anniversary to boot! Another point where I had a lot of trouble suspending disbelief was when Sara tells her son how good his father used to be, how he had wanted to be a social-worker, how he had been a just and upright man, it was only after he got swindled that he turned evil. So Junior had never before heard this bit of family lore? What house did he grow up in? Was Sarah keeping it a secret? Call me crazy, but it seems like this family history should have come out much sooner, say the first time Junior expressed anger or frustration with his absentee father, maybe at age 13. We are lead to believe that James Kier is real estate developer in Utah, and Mormonism is never mentioned...I can't believe that Mormons in good standing aren't going to be a little wary of doing business with a man who appears to be an unrepentant sociopath. Wouldn't his reputation preceed him in such a community and he'd quickly be frozen out? Finally, James keeps a Bible given to him by an old woman whose walk he shoveled as an adolescent, a Bible that he can lay his hands on immediately. It's not buried in some box in the attic somewhere, no, apparently he took it with him when he left his cancer-ravaged wife! So the moral we are to take from this little syrupy gem is that apparently, when you are rich, it is super easy to make amends. First, because you can afford to take lots of time off work (and have your staff handle everything.) You can buy houses for people you've wronged, you can give your loyal secretary an outrageous pay raise and let her work from home, you can remodel your basement to create an art studio for the son you've neglected, endow scholarships, etc...so what are us working class slobs supposed to do? (I guess since we'll never have the power to be as cartoonishly evil as James Kier, we don't have to worry about it.) This book is a heavy-handed morality tale with very little nuance and flat characters. If this novel had been written by a thirteen-year-old girl, I'd say the girl had some talent, but I expect more than this pabulum from a grown-man with 13 (!) bestsellers to his credit.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    This is a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge story. Kiel is a very busy business man who has left his wife and son. He and his girlfriend have plans to steal away for the weekend at a quaint bed and breakfast in the mountains. He arrives early and waits...and waits...and waits. She never comes. The morning paper arrives and he sees his obituary. He supposedly died on the trip! Comments are pouring in from all over the world about him. Comments that you don't want to read about yourself. The only nice o This is a modern day Ebenezer Scrooge story. Kiel is a very busy business man who has left his wife and son. He and his girlfriend have plans to steal away for the weekend at a quaint bed and breakfast in the mountains. He arrives early and waits...and waits...and waits. She never comes. The morning paper arrives and he sees his obituary. He supposedly died on the trip! Comments are pouring in from all over the world about him. Comments that you don't want to read about yourself. The only nice ones? From his wife. Who he left. Who he served with divorce papers the day she had her first chemo treatment. What a jerk! Kiel decides he wants to change things. After all, he's alive. Now he just has to convince others of that. He calls his secretary Linda and asks for a list of all the people who he's wronged in life. She returns with a list of 5 stating that these were the most affected. He sets out on a quest to right these wrongs and along the way, learns many valuable lessons. This book was written out of an experience that the author had while still in school. His English teacher had him to write his own obituary. I have my students to do the same. It's a lesson in leaving legacies. What kind of legacy would you leave? What would you want others saying about you when you are no longer here? I highly recommend this book. It didn't necessarily have to center around Christmas because the story could apply at any time. This book will make you consider choices you have made in this life. There is still time to make amends if you need to! Leave a legacy you'd be proud to read of in the paper!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This book was inspired in part by Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and reading it, I can certainly see the parallels. However, while Scrooge's sin was indifference to others' suffering, the miser in this story, a business exec named James Kier, is guilty of causing suffering. Instead of being visited by a ghost, as Scrooge was, his change of heart comes after his identity is mixed up with that of a car accident victim: he reads his own obituary and finds out what people really think of him. All in all This book was inspired in part by Dickens' A Christmas Carol, and reading it, I can certainly see the parallels. However, while Scrooge's sin was indifference to others' suffering, the miser in this story, a business exec named James Kier, is guilty of causing suffering. Instead of being visited by a ghost, as Scrooge was, his change of heart comes after his identity is mixed up with that of a car accident victim: he reads his own obituary and finds out what people really think of him. All in all, it's an interesting premise, but I found the book to be a disappointment. The characters, for the most part, are too flat to be engaging. The dialogue is too soppy-sweet, and parts of the book just feel like a cheap Harlequin. Some elements are so ridiculous as to be funny, and parts of the book, particularly parts involving some of the flatter characters, were almost predictable. Worse, the main character's initial interest in the people that he's hurt, which ultimately leads to his redemption, is just a little too sudden, out-of-character, and convenient to be believable. The worst part for me, as a reader, came about two-thirds of the way through the book, when his (ex)wife delivers a shmaltzy monologue about how she will always love him because this horrible person that he is isn't who he really is. She even tells of a specific bad situation that turned him into the cruel, selfish person he became. I think I understand what Evans was trying to do -- showing that everyone has a past, that the main character is himself a victim, and so forth -- but the whole passage just left a bad taste in my mouth. In addition to being an unrealistic (and also unnecessary) back story, it makes the main character seem rather passive and dumb. He's not really a villain, you see, not on purpose: he just kind of fell into it and doesn't realize what he's doing. I don't think it makes sense for someone just to change in a single moment for no good reason (Star Wars III, anyone?), particularly since the cruel person that James became is polar opposite to the kind, generous, loving person he was. People can change, of course, which is more or less the point to the story, but I don't think people suddenly start doing things they never would have done before without serious, conscious, thought. It also takes away from his triumph when he changes his life for the better. He wasn't fixing a gradual mistake, nor was he even changing himself since, as we find out, the bad, hurtful person (who is, as you may recall, worse even than Scrooge) wasn't "really" who he was to begin with! That said, the book wasn't all bad -- not by far. After I began it, I couldn't put it down, and I stayed up until one or two o'clock just to finish it. There were some aspects of this book that were very well-done, especially in those places where Evans differed from Dickens' famous novel. For one thing, James Kier's change of heart does not come in a single epiphany. He decides to make amends for his actions near the beginning of the book, but he is more concerned about his legacy, his reputation, than about his own morality. This attitude is very real and human. His subsequent encounters with the people he's hurt are what lead to his ultimate change, and this change comes gradually, rather than in a single moment. It was well-done, all things considered. Best of all, I liked that he was unable to make amends for everything he'd done. He has destroyed lives, and no amount of sorriness or good will can change the past. I liked the darker edge that the book got from his visits with his former victims (victims is probably the wrong word, but I couldn't think of what else to call it). Moreover, it is these victims, particularly Estelle, who are among the most real, fleshed-out characters, even though they only appear for a handful of pages. Perhaps Evans should have written less about James' family and business associates (and business associates' families), and included more about the people whom James visits, who are the reason for James' change of heart. As it stands, they are just shunted into the background. And they're the best part of the book.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jill

    This book was a Christmas present two years ago. At the time I really wanted to read it and I was reading a lot of Christmas books, and then the holiday passed and I guess it ended up on the shelf for longer than I was planning. I think though that sometimes books come to you when you need them or are ready for them, so it wasn't really forgotten there on the shelf, it was just biding it's time until it was the right read for me for right now. Maybe that sounds silly, but I know I buy books thin This book was a Christmas present two years ago. At the time I really wanted to read it and I was reading a lot of Christmas books, and then the holiday passed and I guess it ended up on the shelf for longer than I was planning. I think though that sometimes books come to you when you need them or are ready for them, so it wasn't really forgotten there on the shelf, it was just biding it's time until it was the right read for me for right now. Maybe that sounds silly, but I know I buy books thinking I can't wait to read them, only to let them sit for months (or years) and then when I pick them up they are just what I was looking for then. This is the first book I've read by Richard Paul Evans. I've thought about picking up other titles he has written, but for whatever reason I haven't. I know I have seen some of the his made for TV movies made from his books like The Christmas Box. The main thing I brought away from this book is that it is never too late to do the right thing and that there are more important things in life than money. I know we all know that, but to have it brought home in a meaningful way is so much better than just spouting platitudes. James Keir reminded me quite a bit of Scrooge and how his death affected other people. To get to see what people really thought about you because they believe you have died was a blessing for him because it opened his eyes to his past mistakes and took him on the path of righting the wrongs he had done. A modern retelling in a new and light.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    Since some of my Christmas decorations are still up--hey, I think that once you reach June, you should just leave them up because December is right around the corner--I decided to read this as a "Christmas in July" treat. Not such a treat. This book is a retelling of A Christmas Carol without Jacob Marley dragging his chains and I missed that. James Kier reads his obituary in the newspaper while at a bed and breakfast several hours from home and when he logs onto the computer he finds out that h Since some of my Christmas decorations are still up--hey, I think that once you reach June, you should just leave them up because December is right around the corner--I decided to read this as a "Christmas in July" treat. Not such a treat. This book is a retelling of A Christmas Carol without Jacob Marley dragging his chains and I missed that. James Kier reads his obituary in the newspaper while at a bed and breakfast several hours from home and when he logs onto the computer he finds out that he is universally hated and practically everyone he knows is thankful that he is dead. In fact the only person who defends him is his wife, Sara, who he is divorcing while she is in the last stages of cancer. Lovely man. The obituary is a case of mistaken identity so James goes to the memorial service for the James Kier who really died and finds out that the dead man was a school bus driver who was universally loved and changed the lives of everyone around him. So James decides that he is going to change and find the people that he has wronged in his life and make restitution. You could cut the schmaltz with a knife, and a butter knife at that. Not worth the time when A Christmas Carol has the same message and is a far, far better book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    D

    This book is a kind of modern retelling of Dickens' Christmas Carol but without the ghosts and time travel. I read this book to get in the holiday spirit. It is did not get me in the holiday spirit. It was one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. Set in areas of Salt Lake City I am well famliar with, this is the story of a man who totally messes up his life and then decides one day, after mistakenly being reported as dead, to put things back together and change. The problem i This book is a kind of modern retelling of Dickens' Christmas Carol but without the ghosts and time travel. I read this book to get in the holiday spirit. It is did not get me in the holiday spirit. It was one of the most depressing books I have read in a long time. Set in areas of Salt Lake City I am well famliar with, this is the story of a man who totally messes up his life and then decides one day, after mistakenly being reported as dead, to put things back together and change. The problem is that he can't reverse the damage he has done. In the end, there is a message of hope, repentance and forgiveness, but it is not strong enough to overcome the total helplessness the main character experiences as he realized that in many ways, it is too late for him. This is an interesting book and does have a significant and important message in the end, but don't count on it to make your holiday spirit bright.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    I just listened to this book rather than reading it this year- my library had the audio and it helped me get through a few work days. Beautiful beautiful book. I got more out of it this year than I did last year. I think it will be a yearly read or listen for me. This book was outstanding! I couldn't put it down! Thank you so much, Jennifer!

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristin Lees

    What a fast read! Those mini chapters kept me talking myself into reading another. I liked the tidy and good-feeling ending with such an unlikable character you think it’s impossible. Without Sara and Linda, it would all be impossible. Entertaining modern day Scrooge!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mikka Gottstein

    Im Grunde ist "Der Weihnachtswunsch" eine moderne Variante des bekannten Weihnachtsmärchens von Charles Dickens: Der reiche Karrieremensch James muss an Weihnachten erkennen, was für ein selbstsüchtiges, leeres Leben er führt und wie vielen Menschen er damit geschadet hat, und das rüttelt ihn dermaßen auf, dass er Besserung gelobt. Deswegen bittet er seine Sekretärin, ihm eine Liste mit den Menschen zu erstellen, die am meisten unter ihm gelitten haben, und macht sich auf den Weg, sie nacheinande Im Grunde ist "Der Weihnachtswunsch" eine moderne Variante des bekannten Weihnachtsmärchens von Charles Dickens: Der reiche Karrieremensch James muss an Weihnachten erkennen, was für ein selbstsüchtiges, leeres Leben er führt und wie vielen Menschen er damit geschadet hat, und das rüttelt ihn dermaßen auf, dass er Besserung gelobt. Deswegen bittet er seine Sekretärin, ihm eine Liste mit den Menschen zu erstellen, die am meisten unter ihm gelitten haben, und macht sich auf den Weg, sie nacheinander aufzusuchen und den Schaden, den er angerichtet hat, wieder gutzumachen. Die Geschichte ist also nicht unbedingt etwas Neues, aber ich fand sie interessant, unterhaltsam und berührend umgesetzt. Ich war angenehm überrascht, dass der Autor es James nicht zu einfach macht - der reumütige Büßer muss schnell erkennen, dass man sich Vergebung nicht mal so eben erkaufen und Unrecht nicht immer ungeschehen machen kann. Nicht jeden Punkt auf der Liste kann James abhaken. Und mehr und mehr begreift er, dass seine Reue von Herzen kommen muss, aus dem ehrlichen Wunsch heraus, zu helfen - und nicht aus dem Wunsch heraus, das eigene Gewissen zu beruhigen. Religion und Glaube spielen in diesem Buch eine Rolle, stehen aber nicht im Mittelpunkt; man kann auch als nicht religiöser Mensch etwas für sich mitnehmen. Für mich ist es ein Buch, das dazu anregt, auch mal über das eigene Verhalten nachzudenken und sich vorzunehmen, jetzt, in der Gegenwart, alles zu tun, damit man in der Zukunft nichts bereuen muss. Anfangs hatte ich nicht erwartet, mich mit James anfreunden zu können, so egoistisch und skrupellos ist sein Verhalten. Aber natürlich erfährt man im Laufe des Buches noch, wie es überhaupt dazu kommen konnte, dass ein Mann, der in jungen Jahren freundlich, hilfsbereit und warmherzig war, sich dermaßen in einen eiskalten Geschäftsmann verwandelt, und das hat mich halbwegs mit ihm versöhnt. Vergebung ist ein wichtiges Thema in diesem Buch, und James tut wirklich sein Möglichstes, um sie sich auch zu verdienen. Natürlich geht seine Wandlung sehr schnell vonstatten und das ist sicher nicht ganz realistisch, aber das hat mich nur wenig gestört, schließlich verwandelt sich auch in Dickens' Weihnachtsmärchen Ebenezer Scrooge quasi über Nacht! Von einem Weihnachtsbuch erwahrte ich weniger Realitätsnähe als von einem regulären Roman. Auch die anderen Charaktere haben mir an sich gut gefallen, denn auch diejenigen, die nur kurz auftauchen, haben alle ihre ganz persönliche Geschichte und wirkten auf mich glaubhaft und lebendig. Allerdings hätte ich mir bei vielen der Menschen auf James' Liste gewünscht, noch wesentlich mehr über sie zu erfahren! Sie wurden zum Teil eben doch sehr schnell abgehakt, und auf zum nächsten. Der Schreibstil ist eher einfach, aber angenehm und flüssig zu lesen, und so hatte ich das Buch dann auch in nur einer Nacht durch. Das Ende ist eine bittersüße Mischung, bei der nicht alles gut ausgeht, es aber doch in allem auch Hoffnung gibt, und das macht es für mich trotz kleiner Kritikpunkte zu einem schönen Weihnachtsbuch. Fazit: Der reiche Geschäftsmann James liest seinen eigenen Nachruf in der Zeitung - ein Versehen, das ihm die Augen öffnet, denn nun fühlt sich alle Welt frei, sich darüber auszulassen, was für ein skrupelloser Fiesling er doch war. Und jetzt, wo er so darüber nachdenkt, stellt er fest: sie haben recht. Also bittet er seine Sekretärin, ihm eine Liste mit den Menschen zu erstellen, denen er am meisten geschadet hat, und zieht los, das Unrecht wiedergutzumachen. "Der Weihnachtswunsch" ist für mich kein Buch, das man unbedingt gelesen haben muss, aber es ist ein nettes Buch für zwischendurch, wenn man im Weihnachtstrubel mal ein wenig die Seele baumeln lassen will, das aber dennoch zum Nachdenken anregt. Natürlich ist nicht alles realistisch, aber der Autor lässt durchaus auch manches bittersüß enden.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    This book has the subtlety of a sledgehammer. After an unbelievable epiphany, the main character goes from being the most heartless man on earth to being the most loving. What upset me the most is that the character couldn't even make his own list. He destroyed countless lives with his greed, but looked to his secretary to define his redemption. We all need to live the best lives we can. However, his need for external validation represents one of the main deficiencies in our society. Searching f This book has the subtlety of a sledgehammer. After an unbelievable epiphany, the main character goes from being the most heartless man on earth to being the most loving. What upset me the most is that the character couldn't even make his own list. He destroyed countless lives with his greed, but looked to his secretary to define his redemption. We all need to live the best lives we can. However, his need for external validation represents one of the main deficiencies in our society. Searching for external answers instead of looking within leads to a shallow easily manipulated society. I'm glad I got this book from the library and didn't actually part with any money.

  13. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn/QuAppelle

    I did finish this book, or would have given it one star, but this was a stretch for me. What is the appeal of this author? The writing is amateurish, the theme is overused, and the whole "story" is manipulative. After hearing for years how awful he was, all of a sudden this guy has a "revelation" after reading some things written about him on a website. Worst of all, he had to ask his secretary to come up with the list of people he had damaged!!! He could not even do this himself?

  14. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Audio book read by John Dossett 1* I know that Evans’ works are hugely popular, and I feel as if I’m dissing a saint. But really … this is so maudlin and formulaic. Rich, ruthless businessman is reformed just in time for Christmas with the help of his trusty assistant. Oh, and I really hate how he strings people along as he prepares to give them a great gift. What a jerk!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diana

    James Kerr is a successful businessman. There is a sudden death and through a mistaken identity, he is presumed dead. When he reads his obituary, he is appalled at the poor opinion people have of him. People see him as a ruthless, heartless businessman. Also, his estranged wife, Sara, is dying. As James sets out to discover more, he tries to undo some of the grief he has caused. Can he and will he really change his ideas and beliefs.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Judith Teggelaar

    A beautiful and touching story in the tradition of Ebenezer Scrooge. A hard-hearted business man, after seeing his premature obituary, has a change of heart and seeks forgiveness from those he has wronged. It has you pulling for the bad guy.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim Ivins

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A great Christmas story like a Christmas Carol. I love the reminder that we always can change and find forgiveness from our Savior.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Caroline Perez

    A very sweet story of redemption and reconnecting during the Christmas season. I really enjoyed it!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Shonda

    James Kier is reading his morning paper when he reads an obituary. His obituary. Puzzled by the false report, he searches the internet and finds a story explaining his death. Even though he knows he’s very much alive, it’s the anonymous, (and not so anonymous) unsympathetic comments he reads, that cause him to re-evaluate his life. James Kier is a shrewd real state investor. He’s richer than rich and will be the first to admit he’s taken advantage of many individuals to reach the top spot. Does h James Kier is reading his morning paper when he reads an obituary. His obituary. Puzzled by the false report, he searches the internet and finds a story explaining his death. Even though he knows he’s very much alive, it’s the anonymous, (and not so anonymous) unsympathetic comments he reads, that cause him to re-evaluate his life. James Kier is a shrewd real state investor. He’s richer than rich and will be the first to admit he’s taken advantage of many individuals to reach the top spot. Does he feel guilty? No, don’t be foolish! If these individuals weren’t so weak in the first place, he wouldn’t have taken advantage of them. So it’s really their fault. Shaken up by the comments, James finds his namesake and attends the repast at his house. The deceased James Kier was a humble man. He didn’t live in a big mansion or drive an expensive car. Quite the opposite in fact. He was a school bus driver and touched the lives of many students. He was a dedicated husband and loving father. His presence will be missed by so many. As James speaks to the widow and her son, he realizes for the first time what a good, decent man really is. This awareness changes him forever. He decides, with the help of his assistant, to make amends with the five people he has hurt the most. Will they welcome his apology? Have they long ago forgiven him for his ways? Or will they slam the door in his face before he can say he’s sorry? James is not sure, but determined to find out. Meanwhile, his only son is getting married and doesn’t want James to attend the wedding. He was an absent father and did the despicable: he left his mother when she needed him the most. Will his son forgive him for his past mistakes? Or is it too late for a reconciliation? Mr. Evans has a talent for writing inspirational holiday stories. The Christmas List is a treasure waiting to be discovered.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Before I read the book, I automatically thought that it was an updated version of A Christmas Carol. But actually, it seems to be based more on the Robert Burns poem "To A Louse, On Seeing One On A Lady's Bonnet At Church" . Jim Kier has the rare gift of reading his obituary. We are all curious about what would be said about us after we are dead. We all hope nice things; however, Kier learns that he has left a trail of misery in his path. Can he repair the damage he has made? He attempts just tha Before I read the book, I automatically thought that it was an updated version of A Christmas Carol. But actually, it seems to be based more on the Robert Burns poem "To A Louse, On Seeing One On A Lady's Bonnet At Church" . Jim Kier has the rare gift of reading his obituary. We are all curious about what would be said about us after we are dead. We all hope nice things; however, Kier learns that he has left a trail of misery in his path. Can he repair the damage he has made? He attempts just that. He has compiled a short list of the people he hurt the most. As he attempts to make amends, he learns the extent of how much he has destroyed people’s lives…and not all of them are scars that can be seen. During this process, he learns that his original intent was misguided. He has an epiphany that he set out to make amends so he would feel better, but when things don’t go as planned, he re-assesses his motives. The only part that hinted on A Christmas Carol would be the epilogue, where we got to see how Kier’s life had changed, and how he had changed the lives of others. Although this isn’t a ‘Feel Good Warm and Fuzzy’ Christmas book, it isn’t as depressing as last years offering “Grace”. This book actually has a message of hope and the power of forgiveness. Very nice ‘fairy tale’, just like A Christmas Carol, and just like A Christmas Carol, we all are not so naive, that we would think someone so profoundly evil, would change overnight; or at all. And though this doesn’t revolve around Christmas, the book ends on Christmas Day. It takes place during the Christmas Season, although very little mention of it is made in this book, just little references here and there.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nandi Crawford

    It is hard for me to put this book in any of my categories, but I have put it towards Holiday stories; I wrote on Mr Evans' facebook page that he was probably one of the few authors left who could write some of the best writings that somehow encourage mankind to go on. I like that. In this book, although it starts us hating the man, by the end, we have a change in attitude. James Kier is a powerful businessman in Salt Lake City who isn't above doing unscrupulous things to get his way in the busi It is hard for me to put this book in any of my categories, but I have put it towards Holiday stories; I wrote on Mr Evans' facebook page that he was probably one of the few authors left who could write some of the best writings that somehow encourage mankind to go on. I like that. In this book, although it starts us hating the man, by the end, we have a change in attitude. James Kier is a powerful businessman in Salt Lake City who isn't above doing unscrupulous things to get his way in the business world. Even to the point of serving divorce papers to her on her way to chemotherapy is nothing short of inconsiderate. But one day he gets an eyeopener; He looks up in the paper and discover that his obituary was front and center on the front page. Although his first impulse was to sue and take the paper down; he looks at it another way. Then come to find out, another man with his same name passed away, and though he lived simply, folks had nothing but good to say about him; Between those two events, things began to change for him; he realized that life isn't all about making money and what not and he decided to embark on a journey to apologize to the ones he caused problems to as well as make amends. Believe me, when he does this, he meets up with some opposition, but it makes a better man out of him.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A movie that I can watch over and over again is Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray's character has several do-overs afforded to him to get things right. This book has a similar theme, as the main character, James Kier, is given a wake-up call and the time to make amends for wrongdoings in his past. I picked this up tonight, sat down to read it, and made my way through it in 2 1/2 hours...so you can see that I couldn't put it down! I love Richard Paul Evans's writing style, and I love that he ha A movie that I can watch over and over again is Groundhog Day, in which Bill Murray's character has several do-overs afforded to him to get things right. This book has a similar theme, as the main character, James Kier, is given a wake-up call and the time to make amends for wrongdoings in his past. I picked this up tonight, sat down to read it, and made my way through it in 2 1/2 hours...so you can see that I couldn't put it down! I love Richard Paul Evans's writing style, and I love that he has a lesson to share with his readers but that he doesn't beat us over the head with that lesson. This book was less about Christmas and more about taking the time to make things right when you have done wrong. By the end of the book, I was shedding several tears, both from the sadness of Kier's loss of his wife and from the happiness of him finding peace and forgiveness in the arms of his son. Although the story was a bit far-fetched at times, I am a fan of the saying, "It's fiction...accept it." And this is the kind of fiction that I love to read!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans was a wonderful, quick read. It’s a modern retelling of Scrooge about a guy, James Kier, a money hungry, selfish businessman, stomping on people left and right to benefit himself and make more money. He’s even left his wife, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. One day, he reads his obituary in the newspaper after a mix-up, and sees all the spiteful comments people left about him online after they believe he is dead, and he has a change of heart. He ma The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans was a wonderful, quick read. It’s a modern retelling of Scrooge about a guy, James Kier, a money hungry, selfish businessman, stomping on people left and right to benefit himself and make more money. He’s even left his wife, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. One day, he reads his obituary in the newspaper after a mix-up, and sees all the spiteful comments people left about him online after they believe he is dead, and he has a change of heart. He makes a list of some of the people he has hurt most over the years through his manipulation in business, and tries to reconcile with them, making up for his past ways. I really enjoyed this book, just like I’ve enjoyed all of Evans’ books. I thought it was a great story of redemption and forgiveness. Though James was hard to like at times, I was grateful to see him make a change and become a better person.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mayda

    Think of this book as A Christmas Carol Wannabe Collides with Love Story and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it is about. If you like sad and sappy Christmas stories in which the stereotypical bad guy has a miraculous and rapid change of heart, tries to make amends only find out it is too late for some, add in his estranged wife who is, of course, dying of cancer, and, for good measure, tries for a reconciliation with his soon-to-be-married son, then this is the book for you. On a more s Think of this book as A Christmas Carol Wannabe Collides with Love Story and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what it is about. If you like sad and sappy Christmas stories in which the stereotypical bad guy has a miraculous and rapid change of heart, tries to make amends only find out it is too late for some, add in his estranged wife who is, of course, dying of cancer, and, for good measure, tries for a reconciliation with his soon-to-be-married son, then this is the book for you. On a more serious note, I’d have to say that this novel is anything but believable. The only character who came off as real is the one who told the reformed businessman that she forgave him a long time ago and to take a hike and stop wasting her time with his apologies – it was too late. Not my cup of tea. I expected an overload of sweetness from Evans, but this tale sent me into sugar-shock.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book was entirely too syrupy for me. Maybe I'm a cynic, maybe not. Richard Paul Evans always seems to straddle that syrup fence in all of his novels, but he never completely went over the edge. That kept me coming back to read more. (I loved the Walk series. Good stuff.) But poor Richard took a nose dive into the syrup side with this one. To call it unrealistic would be putting it mildly. I can see how some would like this kind of story, but it is just my personal preference that everything This book was entirely too syrupy for me. Maybe I'm a cynic, maybe not. Richard Paul Evans always seems to straddle that syrup fence in all of his novels, but he never completely went over the edge. That kept me coming back to read more. (I loved the Walk series. Good stuff.) But poor Richard took a nose dive into the syrup side with this one. To call it unrealistic would be putting it mildly. I can see how some would like this kind of story, but it is just my personal preference that everything not be tied up in a neat little bow at the end of every book. If fiction is supposed to mimic reality, this one fell short. By a long shot.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    Again, looking for a Christmas story and because I just read another Christmas book by this author, I picked this up at the library. It is a modern take on Dicken's The Christmas Carol. It is an easy read and reminded me how the bad treatment of others can follow and haunt us for a lifetime. There is some bad behavior that can never be made right. You can say I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry and it is forever too late. On the positive side, realizing mistakes and trying to recompense is the right Again, looking for a Christmas story and because I just read another Christmas book by this author, I picked this up at the library. It is a modern take on Dicken's The Christmas Carol. It is an easy read and reminded me how the bad treatment of others can follow and haunt us for a lifetime. There is some bad behavior that can never be made right. You can say I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry and it is forever too late. On the positive side, realizing mistakes and trying to recompense is the right thing to do and can and will change a life and make a happier person.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Nancy Brady

    James Kier reads his own accidental obituary (and the comments people make about him), and after meeting the family and friends of the real James Kier that died, decides to change. Asking for help from his secretary Linda, he approaches five people whom he hurt (destroyed their lives) in various ways. He gets varied responses from them, but continues on his quest to change. Will people accept the new James? Especially the woman he is divorcing? His son? This is a real tearjerker and not unlike Di James Kier reads his own accidental obituary (and the comments people make about him), and after meeting the family and friends of the real James Kier that died, decides to change. Asking for help from his secretary Linda, he approaches five people whom he hurt (destroyed their lives) in various ways. He gets varied responses from them, but continues on his quest to change. Will people accept the new James? Especially the woman he is divorcing? His son? This is a real tearjerker and not unlike Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" and gives new meaning to redemption, love, and forgiveness.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Marty Qualls

    This book truly changed my life. A handful of books have a message as important as this one. Through the story I was able to see the difference I can make by how I act, react, and interact with people in my personal and professional life. I will be a better person because of Richard Paul Evans and his wonderful book. If there is one book to read this Holiday Season, or anytime for that matter, this is a "Must Read" recommendation for everyone!

  29. 4 out of 5

    Karla

    Was a perfect Christmas read I was a blubbering mess by the end. This was a great read to get you in the giving, loving mood for Christmas. The main character of the story reminded me in some ways of Scrooge with a modern twist. This would be a good read to take on a journey or trip home to see the in-laws. Make sure to take your tissue along. Great book about love, family, loss, redemption, giving, and forgivness.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    I had bought this on a whim at The Works - it was a festive-looking jacket on a hardcover book, and it was only 50p. I had very low expectations so I was pleasantly surprised at its unique take on A Christmas Carol. The 'ghosts' in this novel is an incorrectly published obituary and redemption comes in the guise of attempts by the protagonist undo and make the lives that he ruined better. Really liked it.

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