Finished December 22, 2009
Anne Fine puts the fun in disfunctional with this Christmas story.
Everyone's gathering at Ralph's house for Christmas. Mum is fretting about how she'll manage to feed everyone. Dad's fretting about the destruction sure to be inflicted upon them by the terrible twins, Sylvia and Sylvester. Ralph and his brother Harry are dreading their sickly sweet cousin Titania and her sudden outbursts of song and dance.
This is the funniest Christmas story since A Christmas Story. Each character is hilariously quirky. The book is narrated by Ralph who has been sent to his room because of an incident that brought the family Christmas to a quick conclusion. His explanation is the plot of the story.
One of my favorite quotes (about Great-granny, who is a terror)
"How should I know? Perhaps she was getting into the Christmas spirit and going off to look for some firstborns to slaughter."
My favorite character is Aunt Ida who claims she went to morning communion at Wells Cathedral (even though the Cathedral is about "seven hundred hours' drive from here").
She took communion "even though the vicar was floating past the windows at the time." She even took the chalice. There was wine in the chalice and prawns, too., "the big sort. The ones you can buy at Tesco. I had three or four."
Everything turns out ok at the end, of course. The crazy characters are still crazy. The family is still disfunctional, but it's a Happy Christmas for Ralph, Harry, Mum and Dad who are such a fun family it's no wonder there are sequels to this book. However, being a British author and publication, the books are not readily available in the United States.