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Picks and Pans Review: Christmas, Present

updated 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/15/2003 AT 01:00 AM EST

By Jacquelyn Mitchard

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If Beaches is on your Top 10 movie list and you've got at least one episode of Touched by an Angel on videotape, then this book might be your cup of herbal tea. If, however, you'd rather skip Christmas entirely than read 132 pages devoted to the last hours of a woman's life as she bids goodbye to her husband and kids, then you may want to take a pass. The author aims to inspire, but the subject matter—a brain hemorrhage, a devastated family—is necessarily depressing. Mitchard's prose can be poignant: "Elliott realized his time with Laura was collapsing slowly, like a spent parachute." But an overdose of melodrama—plus a too-tidy ending—makes this one Christmas present that is best left unwrapped.

NOVEL

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