A Boy Called Christmas by Matt Haig is the first book in the Christmas trilogy, which I will be reviewing and posting about on Instagram during this holiday season. The novel is, and I am one hundred percent honest, the true story of Father Christmas and how Christmas became the jolliest season of all. Beware, as the blurb says, this story is not for those believing that there are things that are impossible. It is, in fact, a story that proves that in this whole wide world there is nothing impossible.
I have recently watched the Netflix adaptation of the book and, despite reading it last year, I found it is a great idea to write a review. For me, it was the most wonderful Christmas book I have ever read, and I am not a big fan of holiday themed books. As you have probably guessed already, it is a middle grade read teaching its readers about the distinction between good and evil, about friendship and the good things that might come out of believing in magic. Full of magical adventures, mystical creatures and reindeer, Matt Haig’s novel is about ancient times (or perhaps not so ancient) when nobody knew about Father Christmas, because there was no Father Christmas. It follows the journey of Nikolas, who has nothing but a turnip doll, an evil aunt and a father that left to a faraway land in hopes of bringing home money. Except, there is one more thing: he believes in elves and the forces of good, which will ultimately change the whole faith of humanity – even the King’s! What I found particularly outstanding is Matt Haig’s writing style and use of imagery, he manages to portray a story so vivid you quite often find yourself fully lost in it. Both worlds, the one inhabited by humans and the magical world of elves, are depicted such that everything seems to be happening right in front of your eyes as you’re flipping through the pages. Not only the writing, but the characters are quite magical – literally – as well. Dealing with a wide range of emotions, from grief to pain to hope and confusion, every character is well rounded, from pixies to elves and, least but not last, trolls.
The book settled me as I found myself transported to a childlike, fantastic world in which everything and anything is possible as long as you believe in it. As the quote goes, “An impossibility is just a possibility you don’t understand yet”. A Boy Called Christmas brought so much joy and it really has the potential to give its readers, whether children or adults, the fuzzy feelings. I believe it is the bit of magic everyone needs in their lives, especially during this particular time of the year.
Title: A Boy Called Christmas
Author: Matt Haig
Illustrations: Chris Mould
Publication Date: 2015
Publisher: Canongate Books