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The Christmas Story (1952): You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out, Kid

Jane Werner, The Christmas Story (Golden Press, 1952)

A classical depiction of Mary, Joseph, and Jesus adorns the book's cover.

Wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
photo credit:

I was certainly the wrong person to read this one to the Bean—it’s a hand-me-down from my wife’s family—given how antipathetic I am to religion, but then I was relieved when the book simply would have failed to live up to even my barest expectations of pre-lit even if I were a foaming-at-the-mouth young-earth creationist. The obvious flaw in the book, which is listed on the title page as being “told by” Jane Werner, is that she starts off trying to put the story into her own words (i.e., to make it simpler for the pre-lit set), but she abandons that concept roughly a quarter of the way through and simply starts quoting. Going back and revising for one approach or the other might have made it acceptable, at least until you get to the end. For obvious reasons, this being a pre-lit book, it dances around some of the things that would raise uncomfortable questions, but… why bring up Herod at all, you know? And then, well, the story just ends. I know Golden works in a strict 24-page format, but you couldn’t have planned a little better than that awful summary on the last page? Come on, now. This has the stink about it of Golden playing to its bible-belt constituency rather than putting this to the editorial-process screws. *

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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