Saturday, October 23, 2010

Book Review: Snow Day

Snow Day. Billy Coffey. 2010. October 2010. FaithWords. 195 pages.

Some things in life are constants. Mountains. Rivers. Sky. But not on that particular December day.

For the right reader--at the right time--Snow Day may prove a satisfying read. It could depend on if you're a glass half-full or a glass half-empty type person. You may find the message-driven Snow Day to be heartwarming, sincere, and satisfyingly optimistic. Or. You could find this MESSAGE-driven novel to be arrogant, condescending, and a little unbelievable. Each and every chapter has at least one sermon-illustration in it.

Readers are brought into Peter's life for just one day. Through Peter's eyes, we witness the beauty, the mystery, the wonder of life. Of course, life isn't always a thing of beauty. And Peter acknowledges that. Peter is in fact struggling with depression, with doubt, with worry, with fear. But because Peter takes a "snow day" from the factory to "be" with his wife and kids, he has an extraordinary amount of time to reflect, contemplate, observe, absorb the world around him and his place in it.

I enjoyed some chapters more than others. I enjoyed some messages more than others. I think some messages were more intentional than others.

Peter is very self-aware as a narrator. He is trying to sell readers on his message, his journey. And I found him--at times--to be arrogant, condescending. There were definitely places where I thought Peter was a little too proud of himself for being so good, for doing the right thing, for being so wise, for being so observant. I think that Peter thinks that he is always right--that his way of seeing the world is the right way. I doubt that was the author's intention! And perhaps it's just the way I read it.

I didn't like Peter. Perhaps it was his selfishness. Or the way he intruded in on other people's lives. Going up and questioning strangers. Or how angry he became when an employee wouldn't return his Merry Christmas the right way. Or the way he demanded to see a store manager to "report" the "unfriendly" encounter at the check out lane. Or the way he applauds an old man yelling and screaming for "help" just because he couldn't find a price for a skillet.

There's one incident that I really disliked. His wife has sent him out on this snowy, snowy day for "bread and milk" and stocking stuffers. He matter-of-factly dismisses his daughter, Sara, and heads to the "boy" aisles. He doesn't want to go to the girl aisles, the pink aisles, the domain of dolls and busy mothers. No, he'll buy his son something special--a Superman costume--even if it is slightly over budget on what he agreed with his wife to spend on stocking stuffers. Not that he says to himself, "Well, since I'm not buying Sara anything I can spend twice as much on my son!" But I think it screams out BOYS ARE WORTH MORE THAN GIRLS. That sons are better than daughters. He then nostalgically goes on and on and on about the wonderfulness of Superman. How every little boy deserves the dream of being a super hero. How every boy has to one day grow up to be a man. But the dream should be held onto while it can. Which I suppose is okay. He can bond with his son over Superman. But I think a REAL man would not be embarrassed to shop for his daughter. A GOOD man would love his daughter and want to be involved in her life. For Peter to care so much "about being a good Santa" to his kids while he still can, while they still believe, he sure is blind. I think this incident makes Peter weak and selfish.

If anything, Snow Day made me appreciate my Dad in a whole new way. And I have to be thankful for that.

© Becky Laney of Operation Actually Read Bible

1 comment:

Nicole said...

This is an interesting and honest assessment of Snow Day by Billy Coffey. Thank you for that. It's very much like his blog, so it felt more like a series of blog posts than an actual novel. Good to hear your perspective on the book.