Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Capote's "A Christmas Memory"

Buddy and Sook

Although I’ve had the book for several years, last night I finally sat down to read the incredible short story by Truman Capote “A Christmas Memory.”   Capote, a.k.a  “Buddy” in the story, lived with some distant elderly cousins when he was young, and this autobiographical tale is an account of the special relationship he had with one eccentric relative, Miss Sook Faulk.   As they do in other Capote stories, such as “The Grass Harp, “ the family misfits bond and become each other’s closest friends, along with their little dog Queenie.  Together they undertake the baking of 30 fruitcakes, and we see them foraging for ingredients together (including moonshine), finding a Christmas tree in the woods, and crafting gifts for each other.  

It didn’t surprise me at all to learn that the story has been adapted for the stage by Ira David Wood of Raleigh, NC’s Theatre in the Park.  Wood also plays Scrooge in A Christmas Carol every year.  “Doing A Christmas Carol   is like playing a Super Bowl game; “ he says, “doing A Christmas Memory is like taking a quiet walk in beautiful winter woods.”  In an interview about the production he says “The wonderful thing about the work is that it becomes something very personal to each audience member. We all have a special Christmas locked away in our hearts — complete with close friends, pets, sights, and smells of the season. The story is merely a key we use to unlock the door that takes us back to our own past.” 

The story brought me to the present in much the same way.  On a Christmas morning kite-flying outing, Buddy’s friend “sees the Lord” in the ordinary, prompting her to say that she could “leave the world with today in my eyes.”

The story can be read on line here, but you’d be depriving yourself of the charming drawings in the edition illustrated by Beth Peck. 

A true gem and one of the most beautiful stories I’ve ever read.   Do you have a favorite holiday book that you like to read every year?


tina said...

The pictures looks like Norman Rockwell sweet. I've never heard of this book before. No favorite holiday books here-just a movie. It is of course It's a Wonderful Life.

Donna said...

thx for the book recommendation..always looking for a great Christmas book

meemsnyc said...

Looks like a good read.

LazyMom said...

It's fruitcake weather!
Have you seen the Geraldine Page's "A Christmas Memory?"

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Thank you for giving the description of the book. Good book for this festive season.

TALON said...

The story and the illustrations look beautiful, JGH.

We have a couple of classics we love, "The Mummer's Song" by Bud Davidge (my father was born in Newfoundland) and "Twas The Night Before Christmas" which we always read just before bed on Christmas Eve...

Anonymous said...


nanny said...

Sounds like a good book for me.....thanks for the idea.
I learned a new word too.....arils...they are soooo good.

Patti Lacy said...

I LOVE this book and RARELY like Christmas books
EVERYONE should buy this little volume.

Anonymous said...

Dennis got Capote's "A Christmas Memory" for Christmas many years ago and it was such a nice story with humore and love in it.

Anonymous said...

Dennis recommends "The Animals Merry Christmas" golden book. Mother Hedgehog makes an apple dumpling. and mice go about with "Merry Christmas" on their lips.