A Modern American Christmas” pokes good–natured fun at some of the over-the-top behaviors and events of early 21st century Christmas celebrations. Though it is humorous and somewhat irreverent, it is also not meant to be disrespectful. The story-line is framed in modern Christmas traditions and serious ethical and moral issues of the times. It does take slightly sarcastic jabs at consumerism to the extreme, double-standards, keeping up appearances and personalities who don’t “do what they say” or “don’t say what they do!” The story is that of a young college woman home for the holidays only to discover that the beloved family home is in the foreclosure process. The ‘squatters’ or renters, (depending on how the reader wants to view them) who have been living there until the actual owners (her family) can return for the one last ‘Spectacularly Sensational and Shiny’ Christmas in the home, are quite the characters. The dialogue is funny and fast and somewhat biting. There is some mystery, some romance, a little sex and an interesting cast of personalities: a woman who rescues laughing hyenas; an outrageously expensive veterinarian who treats the heroine’s beloved cat; a college dean with more hunting trophies on her wall than scholarly achievements; a brother gone missing only to return after missing for five years. Anyone who feels his or her Christmas or any holiday was not all it could or should have been will realize as they read this story, “they are not alone!”
Gabrielle Glamore’s college Christmas break begins with a meeting with the Dean of Academic Affairs over a misreported grade. Though that issue is resolved, there are the much larger issues of football team members and their grades, an instructor who does not appear for class and a dean whose office looks like the waiting room at “The Hunter’s and Fisherman’s Outlet Store.” When the young woman arrives home she discovers that a family of strangers is living in her home. Since she has not returned home all fall semester, she was not aware that her parents had rented out the house in hopes of avoiding foreclosure. The family who is living in the house is quite unique: Dad, a chemist in appearance; Mom, a bank officer in title: Derek, age 23, handsome and intelligent but descending rapidly into alcoholism and Davy, a young boy of 12 who needs good parenting. In the midst of this holiday joy, her brother who was not kidnapped or abducted returns, as originally feared, and is quite disappointed that there is no welcoming home party! The story is of adventures leading up to the return of Gabrielle’s parents, her grandmother’s visit, this brother’s re-surfacing and the Christmas Eve Dinner. The turn in the story and what eventually happens to the foreclosed house should amuse the reader. And, there is a happy ending.