Christmas Jars - Jason F. Wright
This novella has some odd pacing, sloppy character development and is too heavy on the melodrama without conveying much emotion.
Still, compared to what I just finished, it was a palatable story that tries (a bit too hard) to show the joy and healing that comes from giving.
In the story, a young journalist who is enduring a rough patch suddenly finds a jar of spare change and some bills on her doorstep when she needs it most. Sensing a story, she tracks down the family that started the tradition of giving away a year's worth of spare change to the needy and finds a true connection.
It's so formulaic, you know what happens next. But it tries.
And no, I am not being kind because this is a story about a reporter. Although the author is identified as a former journalist, his character bears no resemblance to the traits and abilities of any professional journo I know.
I might, however, have a weak spot for another reason. Growing up, my mother always put her change in a giant bottle in our living room. Pennies were rolled into sleeves, taken to the bank and traded for dimes. Dimes, eventually, gave way to quarters. And yes, that money often was all there was to buy for Christmas.
I don't have a Christmas jar or bottle of my own. But I do still save and roll change. Perhaps there is redemptive power in little family traditions, too.