If you are already sick of hearing how many shopping days are left before Christmas (and Halloween hasn’t even arrived yet!), then today’s book is going to be right up your alley. Many readers, of a certain age, loved the Choose Your Own Adventure series as children and some have tried to recreate the experience in a format for grown-ups, but until now I don’t think the power of negativity has ever been harnessed to allow the fraternity of pessimists and misery guts to choose their own path through a story. Thanks to Mike Macdonald and Jilly Gagnon however, this is now a happy, unhappy possibility with the Choose You Own Misery series. We received Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays from the publisher via Netgalley and here’s the blurb from Goodreads:
From “The Onion” alum writers Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon comes a hilarious choose-your-own-path story to ruin your holiday spirit.
This is the year you re going to do it: you re going to avoid Christmas completely!
…or you were, until your island getaway got washed out by a hurricane. Now you have to choose: should you spend the holiday with your shrewish sister and her Europhile husband, or endure your new girlfriend s family for a week? Help chop down a tree even though it might throw out your back, or endure the icy judgment of a woman who thinks only children and pussies help bake cookies? Jet off to the glamorous slums of Kingston, Jamaica, or accept the offer of a ride from a man who never stops smiling…and is probably going to turn you into a skin suit?
From the writers who brought you the hilarious parody “Choose Your Own Misery: The Office” comes a second helping of misery with a festive twist. Christmas is full of fun surprises for kids, but for adults, it s just an endless series of aggressive crowds, overwhelming credit card debt, and pretending to like the people you re forced to spend it with.
Once you unwrap all the holiday misery hiding in these pages, the blackness of your heart will rival any lump of coal.”
I wouldn’t class myself as a particular Christmas grump, but I had a lot of fun with this book nonetheless. The kindle edition allows you to click on a page option at the end of each section to choose the next step on your path to misery: shall I accept a lift from a sweaty, suspicious stranger or hire a car at inflated holiday prices? Should I tell my girlfriend’s family about the unfortunate accident that I caused or allow them to keep thinking of me as a paragon of virtue? There are so many options to choose that I was able to replay the book a number of times without crossing any paths I had already selected.
The book is written from a male character’s point of view, so I don’t know whether female readers will feel like this is a problem, but right from the off I was able to relate to the frustration and bewilderment of the protagonist as he (I) was forced to make unlikely choices as a series of absurd obstacles appeared in the road of his (my) planned escape from Christmas jollity.
If you’re looking for a Kris Kringle present for a subversive friend, or just want to while away the time on a long and boring train commute, this book would be a great choice.
Until next time,