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A Christmas memory by Truman Capote

A Christmas memory (original 1956; edition 1989)

by Truman Capote, Beth Peck (Illustrator), Celeste Holm

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6272315,477 (4.33)85
Title:A Christmas memory
Authors:Truman Capote
Other authors:Beth Peck (Illustrator), Celeste Holm
Info:New York : Knopf, [1989]
Collections:South Austin Bookies Book Club

Work details

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (1956)



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Showing 1-5 of 22 (next | show all)
Lovely,touching,heartwarming. A quick but unforgettable read for the season.The illustrations were beautiful.I will read this every year! ( )
  LauGal | Aug 16, 2016 |
5***** and a

This autobiographical novella is a wonderful, touching story of family love. Capote is at the peak of his writing ability here. Our hearts embrace Buddy and Sookie. The date listed is when our book club discussed it, but I've had this book for ages and I read it every December on my birthday.

Update: December 2010
This autobiographical story is based on Capote’s own childhood, living with relatives in Alabama. It’s a memory of the innocence of childhood and the anticipation of something special. It is also a story of love and respect, as well as of loneliness and want.

One crisp November morning 7-year-old Buddy hears his cousin Sook (whom he calls Friend) declare, “It’s fruitcake weather!” With that pronouncement, the two set off on their annual campaign to bake dozens of fruitcakes for “friends.” Sook is an elderly woman with a child’s mind, and she and Buddy are constant companions (and each other’s only friend). It is during the Great Depression and times are hard. It takes them all year to save the pennies, nickels, dimes for their Fruitcake Fund, and the other relatives in their household look upon them with derision. Still, nothing can dampen their spirits as they bake and mail the fruitcakes, hunt deep into the woods for the perfect Christmas tree, make the ornaments and decorations that will make it look “good enough to eat!”

Capote was a gloriously talented writer and he is at his best here. The reader feels the anticipation of a child, smells the piney woods, shivers in the crisp morning, and is comforted in the warmth of love.
His writing is never so brilliant as when he is mining his childhood for stories such as this. The emotion is evident and genuine. His descriptions are gloriously vivid without overwhelming the story. The lessons learned – about kindness, tolerance, family, love and forgiveness – are gently told but ring loud and clear in the reader’s heart.

I leave you with one quote from the story. Sook and Buddy are enjoying the outdoors and she has a revelation …
“You know what I’ve always thought?” she asks in a tone of discovery, and not smiling at me but a point beyond. “I’ve always thought a body would have to be sick and dying before they saw the Lord. And I imagined that when He came it would be like looking at the Baptist window: pretty as colored glass with the sun pouring through, such a shine you don’t know it’s getting dark. And it’s been a comfort: to think of that shine taking away all the spooky feeling. But I’ll wager it never happens. I’ll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are” – her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone – “just what they’ve always seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.” ( )
  BookConcierge | Feb 12, 2016 |
An excellent collection of holiday short stories. All three stories are excellent. A great read around the Christmas holidays. Can easily read all three in a sitting! I read them every year. ( )
  MathMaverick | Dec 16, 2014 |
A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote
Fruitcake weather and a nice warm memory of why it's made and with who.
His cousin Mrs. Falk is remembered fondly. Detailed descriptions of the scenes as they are brought into the picture.
I can just imagine the smells as the baking starts. He's only 7 and she's in the 60's.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Oct 30, 2014 |
Caught up in the fact that I do not like the personality of what was Truman Capote. Dying from alcoholism, with few friends because he threw them away with his cutting, acerbic, back-biting nastiness, in his insecurity, claiming he helped Harper Lee pen her award-winning novel, while in fact she helped him write his masterpiece In Cold Blood, I allowed this to cloud my opinion of his writing.

Then, I read this incredible book and it confirmed what a talented, gifted writer he was.

His childhood was terrible, neglected by parents, abandoned by both, his early life was filled with instability. Save for a wonderful elderly cousin in Alabama, who understood this intelligent, feminine, lonely child and who surrounded him with unconditional love and memories to last a life time, his early life was insecure and lonely.

With a nasty custody battle looming over his head, he landed with distant relatives in Alabama. It is in Alabama that he met his long-time friend Harper Lee, who befriended Truman, and developed his personality into the character of Dill in her Pulitzer Prize winning To Kill a Mockingbird.

This book, however is not about Harper; it is about Christmas; it is about times that were economically difficult, and emotionally trying. Living in a house of one elderly man and three older spinsters, he sensed that it was cousin Sooke who broke through his barriers and allowed him to be temporarily free of pain.

Some said she was "simple minded", "childlike", yet those were the traits that endeared Truman to her and that enabled her to love him with a pure, innocent love that endured.

Scrimping together enough pennies to make 30 fruit cakes, Truman and his cousin carefully collected the items and made batches of wonderful smelling, great tasting treats to give to those they knew, and to some they hardly knew. Tasting the last bit of whiskey at the bottom of the jar, and dancing in the candle light provided laughter to a boy who barely knew how to laugh.

Walking through the woods to cut down the nicest tree; slipping in the water as they trudged through the underbrush; pulling the large pine and stopping when they grew tired, were but a part of the memories that Truman held dear.

Carefully fashioning hand-made kites to give to each other for Christmas presents, and then allowing their spirits to soar with the wind that held the kites aloft provided rare memories to hold in his heart.

Five Stars! ( )
3 vote Whisper1 | Oct 21, 2014 |
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First words
Imagine a morning in late November.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Capote's "A Christmas Memory" ("Un ricordo di Natale", "Eine Weihnachts-Erinnerung", "Een kerstherinnering", etc.) should not be confused with his "One Christmas" ("Un Noel", "Eine Weinechtan", "Un Natale", etc).
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Book description

In: Breakfast at Tiffany's: A Short Novel and Three Stories (Modern Library, 1994) pp. 143-161.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375837892, Hardcover)

A Christmas Memory is the classic memoir of Truman Capote's childhood in rural Alabama. Until he was ten years old, Capote lived with distant relatives. This book is an autobiographical story of those years and his frank and fond memories of one of his cousins, Miss Sook Faulk. The text is illustrated with full color illustrations that add greatly to the story without distracting from Capote's poignant prose.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:32 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A reminiscence of a Christmas shared by a seven-year-old boy and a sixtyish childlike woman, with enormous love and friendship between them.

(summary from another edition)

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