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Reviewed by Jane Finch for Readers' Favorite
The 95th Christmas by Michael Hume tells the story of an elderly gentleman – Dugger Coleman – who resides in a retirement home and struggles to fill his time every day. Dugger has a distant claim to fame with a Christmas song that he wrote way back in 1949 and it's long since been forgotten, although at the time it was very popular. A chance meeting with a stranger, who happens to be a major fan of the song and Dugger the songwriter, changes Dugger’s life dramatically. A strange and dubious business proposal by the stranger makes Dugger reexamine the past and hasten to catch up with the present. The unusual requirements of the business venture give him a reason to get up in the morning and excite him more than he could have ever imagined.
Michael Hume has created an amazing story reminiscent of A Christmas Carol. The author uses the first person to portray the thoughts and feelings of the bus driver of the retirement home. This aspect gives an interesting view of the characters at the home, and shows how he and the staff attempt to make life easier for those in their care. The story then changes to third person for Dugger’s story, providing a contrast on the two viewpoints. More importantly, though, the story delves into Dugger’s past with clips from his childhood Christmases. It provides glimpses of happier times that Dugger had forgotten, and uses these to help him examine the things and relationships that he had almost abandoned. There are surprises along the way and unexpected revelations, with an entirely satisfying ending. A very emotive read for which Michael Hume should be congratulated.