A Christmas Memory
A poignant, deeply felt novel about loss, grief, the healing power of forgiveness, and the true meaning of the holiday season.
About the Book
It’s 1967, and for young Richard it’s a time of heartbreak and turmoil. Over the span of a few months, his brother, Mark, is killed in Vietnam; his father loses his job and moves the family from California to his grandmother’s abandoned home in Utah; and his parents make the painful decision to separate.
With uncertainty rattling every corner of his life, Richard does his best to remain strong—but when he’s run down by bullies at his new school, he meets Mr. Foster, an elderly neighbor who chases off the bullies and invites Richard in for a cup of cocoa. Richard becomes fast friends with the wise, solitary man who inspires Richard’s love for books and whose dog, Gollum, becomes his closest companion.
As the holidays approach, the joy and light of Christmas seem unlikely to permeate the Evans home as things take a grim turn for the worse. And just when it seems like he has nothing left to lose, Richard is confronted by a startling revelation. But with Mr. Foster’s wisdom and kindness, he learns for the first time what truly matters about the spirit of the season: that forgiveness can heal even the deepest wounds, and love endures long after the pain of loss subsides.
In A Christmas Memory, Richard Paul Evans (#1 New York Times bestselling author and the “King of Christmas fiction”) delves deep into his childhood memories to take readers back to an age when his world felt like it was falling apart, reminding us that even in the darkest of times, the light of hope can still shine.
When I wrote A Christmas Memory, I was really sick. Perhaps the sickest I’ve ever been. I had pneumonia for four weeks then caught Covid on top of it. I was in bed 18 – 20 hours a day. I was losing a lot of weight and Keri, my wife, had to force me to eat. A close friend of mine died of the same thing just a month before and I wasn’t sure how things were going to turn out. Then this book started coming to me.
For several days I lay on my stomach and scrawled out the words about my childhood and an old man I visited. I was so foggy-headed that I thought it was probably just junk I was writing. As I started to get better I went back and read what I’d written. I was amazed. It was some of the best writing of my career. Tears came to my eyes as I read about this little boy. I knew something miraculous had happened. I suppose that’s why I think there is something special about this book
Reading Group Guide for A CHRISTMAS MEMORY
- Richard Paul Evans has written more than 40 bestselling novels, yet has said, A Christmas Memory may be, to him, his most meaningful book. Why do you think this one was so important to him?
- A CHRISTMAS MEMORY reads much like a Memoir. In the Author’s Note, Richard writes “…when a writer bases a story on a life experience, it is usually the core of the story that is kept intact, while the names and details are changed. In a way this book is the opposite of that. While the main story is a composite of several of my childhood experiences, it’s the details that remain stubbornly intact, some indelibly scarred into my memory.” How much of this story do you think is real?
- The author states that the mid sixties were a time of a cultural revolution, with civil unrest and race riots. How does this compare to today?
- The author begins the story with the loss of his brother in Vietnam. What do you remember of the war? What were your feelings around it?
- Mr. Foster is a role model for the young Richard. How have the portrayal of male figures in media changed over the years?
- Richard’s mother had an idyllic vision of her childhood home. Was it her memories that had changed or the world she grew up in?
- Richard spent a lot of time alone and unsupervised by his parents. Was this common back then? How has parenting changed in the last fifty years.
- Before reading this book had you ever heard of a Kintsugi vase? Why do you think the author chose it to represent his family?
- Little Ricky is obsessed with robots. Do you think culture romanticized technology more back then?
- The author says that Mrs. Covey was an accurate portrayal of his teacher. Did you ever have a teacher like Mrs. Covey? Did you ever have a teacher who was the opposite?
- Mrs. Covey tells the children there is no Santa. Was it her place? Should children be told to believe in Santa?
- Richard best friend is Beau. What role do animals play in a child’s life? How about yours?
- Little Ricky said that he had never read a book that “spoke” to him. What books changed your life
- What part of the book had the greatest impact on you?
Published November 22, 2022
Length: 192 pages