Book Reviews

The Christmas Cookie Club

These stories about the lives of twelve friends will definitely leave you wanting for more.

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What would we do without one another? It was a statement, not a question. Each of us knew the answer for herself. Every year on the first Monday of December, Marnie and her twelve closest girlfriends gather with batches of beautifully wrapped homemade cookies. Everyone has to bring a dish and a bottle of wine and, as they eat, they take turns telling the story of the cookies they have baked. Stories that, somehow, are always emblematic of the year that has just passed. This year, the stories are especially important. Marnie’s oldest daughter has a risky pregnancy. Will she find out tonight how that story will end? Jeannie’s father is having an affair with her best friend. Who else knew about the betrayal? Rosie’s husband doesn’t want children, but can she live with his decision? Each woman, each friend has a story to tell. The Cookie Club is about the passion and hopefulness of a new romance, the betrayal and disillusionment some relationships bring, the joys and fears of motherhood, and above all, it’s a celebration of the friendships between women.

Our Review:
Pic_Cookie-ClubI have read “The Christmas Cookie Club” last Christmas and it was a very well thought gift from my husband. The women described in this book can be any woman you know, even yourself. The models are so wide spread that it makes it easy for us to blend in the decor and feel like we are either one of the group or the one talking. I could identify myself with Rosie the most. I want children with a desperation, my husband wants none. He thinks that he is well past that age to want tiny feet running across the house, but I won’t back down.
I was reading faster and faster, looking for the solution in the book at hand and the one found left me staring silently at the burning fire. I shall not tell you what it is as you will have to read the book and find out for yourselves.

Favourite parts: the cookie recipes that can be found at the end of each chapter. Being a huge sweets fan, I actually tried to make some of the cookies listed with a moderate success (only because of my below average cooking skills). The heart warming stories are also a plus, making the book an easy read.
Bad parts: it was too short. I wanted more. More! It feels that stories about other people’s life tend to be addictive and you want to know what happens next – something like a TV show you tune in to watch.

I would grade it a 5/5 stars as it is still an excellent read (even out of season)

Buy from Amazon


About the author

Ann Pearlman

1352.2Ann Pearlman is a writer of both fiction, and non-fiction books and has been passionate about writing since eighth grade. She is the author of eight books, both fiction and non-fiction. Infidelity was nominated for both the Pulitzer and National Book Award and made into a Lifetime movie by Lionsgate. The Christmas Cookie Club was translated into six languages. A Gift for My Sister: a Novel came out in 2012. Ann was born in Washington D.C. and, as a child, moved around several Midwestern cities, most notably Chicago and Pittsburgh. After moving to Cleveland, Toronto, Cincinnati, and Kalamazoo, she settled in Ann Arbor, where The Christmas Cookie Club is set. Ann received an undergraduate degree in Anthropology, and a graduate degree in Clinical Social Work and maintains a private psychotherapy practice in Ann Arbor. She studied writing at the University of Michigan, attended workshops at Sewanee and Squaw Valley Writers’ Conferences.

Q: What was the idea that triggered “The Christmas Cookie Club”?

A: I had been writing fiction for some time and have won prizes for short stories from small literary magazines. I also had written several novels that had not found a home, one back in high school. When I first attended a cookie party in 2000, I knew it would make a great setting for a novel about women’s friendships. I started notes for it then. Writing another non-fiction book (Inside the Crips )interrupted the project. I returned to it in the winter of 2008.

Q: Are any of the characters based on real-life people you know? If yes, which ones?

A: Yes. Charlene in Christmas Cookie Club was based on a heartbreaking incident in a friend’s life. I showed her what I wrote when it was still in a draft stage and made certain it felt all right with her. She thanked me very much for what I wrote, the part I had fictionalized ended up being especially meaningful to her. She then asked me to include a scene from her life that no one else knew. Of course I did. I acknowledged her. Other spectacular things happened for her as a result of this. Her wonderful personality, my love and regard for her were evident in my writing and the way we both handled the situation brought us closer.

I wrote about this in my blog. Here’s the link: http://www.annpearlman.net/blog/a-year-of-the-christmas-cookie-club-novel/

Q: What were the most difficult parts to write and why?

A: There were no parts that were difficult, but I had thought about it and written notes for the novel for almost a decade. I had to do research for the part on the ingredients, which was both fun and educational.

Q: Do you feel emotionally attached to your characters?

Absolutely!! I’m very attached to them, and can’t stop writing about them. A Gift For My Sister is about Marnie’s daughters, Sky and Tara. Sissy and Allie are also in the novel. I am still writing about the characters.

Q: Did you laugh, cry and fear the unknown along with your characters?

I feel the emotions of my characters while I’m writing so when I write sad scenes, tears stream down my cheeks. I laugh with glee at the happy ones.

Q: What do you think makes a good author these days?

A: I think good writing and a good story is timeless. We want people we care about, and an exciting story. We want to learn something or think about the world in a slightly new way. My sense is “these days” people are writing about the fanciful, impossible to speak about what is going on in the world and express their concerns. The Hunger Games trilogy is an example of that.

Q: Would you change your style to suit the masses or would you rather write for a niche genre that has solid fans?

A: I have purposely written prose that can be read by anyone with a high school reading level. I want to reach people; this was also true for my non fiction books. So it’s very important to me to contact the masses because you can touch so many and make a difference in so many lives. However, I have to give people my authentic best. Trying to pander to what a publisher thinks some demographic will buy is folly. The writer is betraying herself/himself. Besides, fads change rapidly.

Q: How can people contact you for feedback?

I can be contacted by:

Email: ann@annpearlman.net
Facebook: facebook.com/annpearlman
Twitter @AnnPearlman

I want to make sure that you know my second novel, A Gift for My Sister is out in both the U.S and the U.K., and receiving lots of attention especially in Australia.

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