‘Manny’s Christmas’ not for kids

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    By MICHELLE JOHNSON

    Be careful this gift-giving season not to judge a book by its cover. Literally.

    When I sat down to read “Manny’s Christmas” by Kyle Crane, I thought it was a children’s book. It’s short, 68 pages and is printed in large type, like many children’s books. In fact, I almost sent it to my nephew for Christmas. Thank goodness I decided to take a few minutes to read it first, because “Manny’s Christmas” is not a children’s book.

    The book deals with some pretty tough issues, including racism, which is handled pretty well; but also included are some serious family conflicts, sexual innuendos and spousal abuse, not the least of which is suitable for young readers.

    Perhaps if these issues were resolved I could be persuaded to recommend the book for children, but still I have doubts.

    The book is poorly edited, typographical errors abound, and the story is somewhat sketchy with the plot relying on underdeveloped characters.

    In some ways, the writing is quite good. Crane manages to arouse curiosity about certain characters or situations, but never ties it in to plot. Throughout the novel, he consistently starts things he doesn’t finish.

    As a reader, this is pretty frustrating. As a human being, I realize that life is pretty frustrating. We all turn onto cul-de-sacs of life at some point or another. So maybe the story is realistic.

    However, I can’t in good conscience recommend this book for children. Young adults, maybe. My best advice on this one is to read before you give.

    “Manny’s Christmas” is distributed by Granite Publishing and Distribution and has a list price of $4.95.

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