The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere // Book Review

Twas the day before Christmas…

Length: 144 pages
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press; Reissue edition (November 9, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0312289510
Genre: Fiction, Holiday
Buy On: Amazon


Sometimes, the things that can change your life will cross your path in one instant-and then, in a fleeting moment, they’re gone. But if you open your eyes, and watch carefully, you will believe….

Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life-and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself. Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together. A chance meeting on Christmas Even brings Robert and Nathan together-he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference. The Christmas Shoes is a universal story of the deeper meaning of serendipity, a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape, and even save, our lives.


Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my mama, please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if mama meets Jesus tonight

This song was my first introduction to the story of “The Christmas Shoes” about 8 years ago, and it was the first song that ever made me cry; it is also the first thing that comes to mind when I see any red high heels or the cover of this book.

My goodness, Donna VanLiere sure knows how to grab her reader’s heart and rip it out of the chest! The Christmas Shoes was heart-wrenching and emotional, and tragic, but it was also so beautiful and heart-ful. It seems like nowadays the real meaning of Christmas is lost behind all the gifts and decorating, and Santa Claus takes it place. However, The Christmas Shoes was a reminder of what Christmas really is–and what really matters.

As the book spans back and forth between two different POVs, the reader is introduced to Robert–a man who seems to have everything: a nice house, lots of money, and a good job, but who is losing sight and hold on the most important thing: his family and marriage–as well as Jack–a man who does not have much and leads a simple life, but places his value in his wife and son.

Throughout the book, the author does an expert job of bouncing back and forth between the characters, as well as weaving their stories together. She writes with such poignant style, and captivates the reader to each and every page. By the end of the book, it is almost impossible to have a dry eye.

It takes a skilled author to write a tragic story without leaving the reader feeling depressed, and Donna VanLiere is that author. Her story is tragic, and a tear-jerker, but she writes it with such an attractive dialogue. While The Christmas Shoes ends tragically, the author leaves the reader feeling grateful, convicted, and inspired. She shows that the real meaning of Christmas comes, not from gifts under the tree, but love in each and every one’s hearts.

I would recommend this story to an older audience (PG) who can appreciate the true meaning behind this beautiful story, and really live it out.

The Christmas Shoes is a perfect book to read on Christmas. It is a reminder of what Christmas is really about, and is also a slap-in-the-face of how short and important life is. Let us never lose sight of the important things.

Merry Christmas EVE! We only have two more days of blogmas!

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