The Great Christmas Bowl
by Susan May Warren
Number of Pages: 184
Vendor: Tyndale House
Publication Date: 2009
Availability: Kindle Link
Genre: Contemporary, Holiday
My Rating: 4.25 of 5.0
Publication Date: December 7, 2012
Marianne Wallace is focused on two things this holiday season: planning the greatest family Christmas ever and cheering on her youngest son’s team in their bid for the state championship. Disaster strikes when the team loses their mascot—the Trout. Is it going too far to ask her to don the costume? So what if her husband has also volunteered her to organize the church Christmas tea. When football playoffs start ramping up, the Christmas tea starts falling apart. Then, one by one her children tell her they can’t come home for Christmas. As life starts to unravel, will Marianne remember the true meaning of the holidays?
Marianne loves staging her traditional holidays with her family. She and her EMT husband, Mike, are soon to be empty-nesters as four of their children have moved away to college. The youngest son, Kevin, is in high school and has finally joined the school football team, the Big Lake Trouts.
Marianne is disappointed that only a couple of the kids are coming home for Thanksgiving but she is still excited. Meanwhile she has been cheering on the Trouts who look like they have a chance to go to the state championship! Then the team lucky cheering mascot, an older gentleman who wears a large trout costume, has a heart attack. Kevin begs his mom to step in as the replacement trout. As embarrassing as that might be, Marianne can’t refuse her son.
To add to Marianne’s harassed holiday season she has been ‘drafted’ to be the new Hospitality Chairwoman at her church. That makes her responsible to handle the annual Christmas Tea. The older ladies of the church want the usual Swedish Meetballs but some of the younger ladies want a change. Marianne suggests making her famous Clam Chowder but the idea isn’t warmly received. She keeps putting off how to handle the situation even as the day creeps closer. Kevin and Mike are busy so she ends up decorating the tree by herself and dealing with more disappointing news that her children aren’t going to make it home for Christmas.
Marianne slowly, and hilariously, wiggles into her role as the Big Lake Trout. As the team continues to win the press shows up and interviews the 'Big Trout'. Someone mentions the Christmas dinner but it comes out as a Christmas Soup, and is misinterpreted as a Soup Kitchen. Marianne is ready to give up but surprising help turns the problem into a success.
I loved the easy flow of this story and the real-life feel. I could picture Marianne’s reluctance to be the team fish and to be the hospitality chairwoman. I could also feel her frustrations and disappointments. I loved how Kevin began to stretch and grow in a great way and how his actions shine with the good things he has been taught. The circumstances surrounding the Tea hit close to home for me as we are preparing for our annual church tea to be held in January. This one is a fun story that makes you think about the true meaning of hospitality; of serving and helping others. I recommend this as a fun read with a good message.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~Marianne's dilemma with the Church Tea:
"Did you know that the real meaning of hospitality is 'giving comfort to strangers'?"... "If we want to have a party for ourselves, then let's just call it that."
This is a fun, quick read which I picked up as a Bargain sale at CBD for our Ladies Book Club.This is set in Big Lake, north of Twin Cities, Minnesota for My Where Are You Reading Challenge. I will also add this to my New Author Challenge list.(I thought I read this author before but looking over her titles I do not recognize any.)
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