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Reviewed by Erin Nicole Cochran for Readers' Favorite
The Christmas Coat by Kathleen Shoop delivers on so many levels, from the narrative to the pitch-perfect realistic dialogue throughout and the message of being generous in the end. In my mind, The Christmas Coat comes across as a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol, at least in some respects. We have the main credit “Scrooge” being played by the character Elliot Ebberts, who is quite possibly finding himself living out the best/worst/best day of his life, all starting with the purchase of a very expensive color-blocked cashmere coat. The three “ghosts” are played by Mary Jane, Jonathan, and James. One of my favorite moments was on page 20: “She ran a brush through her hair, then dug out lipstick so old that it crumbled when she drew it along her lips.” Kathleen Shoop has a way of making us smell, taste, and see words come to life.
Kathleen Shoop creates a story that resonates fully in The Christmas Coat. Emotions ran wild within this reader, from laughter to empathy to sadness to feeling hopeful for new beginnings. There was not a feeling that was left unexplored. Every sentiment found its way into the story. Above everything else, it felt believable, like all of it could truly take place, which leaves the reader with their own light at the end of the tunnel. Whether poor or rich, we find ourselves veering off from the people we want to become. The Christmas Coat puts a magnifying glass, although the faults could be seen by space, to the flaws of one man, Elliott Ebberts, who could very easily be any one of us.