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Boo Humbug
by Rene Gutteridge

Reviewed by Heather R. Hunt

"...a light-hearted and spirited holiday tale."

Rene Gutteridge's Boo books are essentially a Halloween series, but here she crosses over into the Christmas holiday and it's a real hoot - or should I say humbug! "Boo Humbug," the fourth book about the eccentric small town of Skary, Indiana, is the author's Christmas present to her fans as Gutteridge tells readers in both the dedication and the acknowledgments that she continues to write about Skary because the fans want her to. These loyal fans will be delighted to revisit the neighborhood for its over-the-top holiday festivities.

Gutteridge does a great job making the book accessible for general readers, too, who may just be in the mood for a holiday read and so pick up this delightfully colorful little hardback with the Christmas lights strung 'round the border without knowing the history of Skary. Gutteridge orients new readers by giving mini-biographies of the characters as they make their entrances. The whole story, in fact, feels quite like a play, which makes sense considering Gutteridge's background as a playwright. It is also fitting because the central story this time 'round is Lois Stepaphanopolis's unorthodox staging of Dickens' "The Christmas Carol."

Readers familiar with the residents of Skary may already be casting the classic tale with various townsfolk, but Lois's staging is so modern and improvisational that readers will be surprised when she avoids the obvious casting choices. In fact, Skary's resident Scrooge, Alfred Tennison, doesn't even play Scrooge, at least not in the play within the story ...

Woven amidst the theatrical preparations are various domestic conflicts among the characters that are often directly related to the play itself. Indeed, some of them are only finally resolved on stage on opening night in a masterfully written, surprising yet satisfying climax with all the right holiday buttons pushed for a heart-warming Christmas conclusion.

Getting a bit frazzled during this busy season? Going through withdrawal because of no time to read? Grab a quick mug of cocoa and a copy of "Boo Humbug" to enjoy a few moments of rest in this light-hearted and spirited holiday tale.

Heather R. HuntHeather R. Hunt is a business editor in Connecticut. For fun she reads, writes, cheers on the Red Sox, and enjoys tennis and cycling. She also co-leads a local tea party and enjoys holding government officials and media outlets accountable. Check out her blogs, The View from Stonewater and Connecticut for Sarah Palin.