Picks and Pans Review: Seven Stories of Christmas Love

updated 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/21/1987 AT 01:00 AM EST

by Leo Buscaglia

May anyone who gives any other Buscaglia book as a holiday present suffer the Torture of Sitting on 1,000 Half-Eaten Candy Canes. This slim volume displays a warmth and charm missing in the bulk of the hug-sodden Buscaglianist philosophy. True, sprinkled through the book's 110 pages are such compulsive aphorisms as "There is no lesser or greater gift if the gift is love." (Doesn't that mean that love is both all-encompassing and pointless?) But the focus is a series of experiences in Buscaglia's life relating to Christmas. He doesn't do any grand extrapolating or preaching; he just tells about the time he was dragooned into being Santa at an elementary school where he was a teacher, or the time he spent the holidays in a hospital after a heart attack. Some of the tales seem too perfect, such as the story of how Buscaglia's poor, immigrant Italian family in Los Angeles struck up a friendship with a poor, immigrant Jewish family that lasted through more than 30 years of shared Christmas and Hanukkah feasts. But, hey, 'tisn't the season to be skeptical. Merry Christmas, Leo, and have a nice day. (Slack, $12.95)

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