The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment
January 22, 2022
My first book review of 2022 was titled “Indulgence versus Resolution.” This second review of 2022 focuses on satisfaction.
Satisfaction is defined as fulfillment of one’s wishes, expectations or needs. Satisfaction means fully satisfying one’s inner appetite by producing contentment. What could be better in a world of chaos but to fill self with contentment? Let me tell you what I found in my reading indulgences…
I embraced old friends with joy. Re-reading the first Cat Who book by Lillian Jackson Braun helped me remember why I read the whole series with delight. Jim Qwilleran never stagnated. He moved through the years gracefully, from one city and one home to another, meeting each mystery with a freshness that I still love. Harry Potter did not disappoint either. Magic is embedded in her words as J.K. Rowling sweeps the reader into her creation of wonder and imagination. It never gets old. I watched re-runs of Midsomer Murders and started my cozy mysteries. But first I focused on that new book by J.K. Rowling.
Rowling certainly did not disappoint in “The Christmas Pig.” But she did surprise me. I should have known she would take me in an unexpected direction. I had no idea that the story first deals with divorce. Rowling immediately captures the reader’s heart with a totally ripped raw reaction of a young boy’s experience with the sudden separation and divorce of his parents. Even though parents tell their children that they are not divorcing them and will love them always, divorce starts out by the ending of love and that can bring confusion and angst. Then strangers start coming into their lives. Maybe a new father figure or a second mom and sudden siblings. The child has absolutely no control or voice as the world he knows disappears.
In “The Christmas Pig” the boy, Jack, moves closer to his grandparents with his mom and deals with a new school filled with bullies instead of friends. The stuffed pig he cuddled as a baby becomes his biggest comfort and then in one fell swoop, the pig is flung out a car window onto a busy street, into a sludge of dirty snow. Lost! This catalyst propels the boy to explode all his pent up feelings at once. In a torrent, he flings both words and objects through the air. All on Christmas Eve.
This is where Rowling turns on the magic and opens the door to the world of Lost Things. The reader experiences a place where all lost things go, some never to be missed, others mourned and needed back. There is a monster who terrorizes and devours lost things for fun. And there is a new pig, given to the boy but spurned, yet he shows Jack a way into this lost world. The Christmas Pig takes willing and dangerous steps to help Jack find his old love-worned beloved pig.
I needed a box of tissues to get through to the ending. Both fearful and joyful tears. A good writer tells a story. A great writer wraps the story around the heart and squeezes tight. I thought I might burst. Of course, this brought much contentment in the long run. I wiped my tears with a huge satisfied sigh. Pure joy, well fought for.
We have a whole new year to read ourselves into contentment. So many books. So many kinds of books. Unexpected endings that are not all happy but well earned. We learn about others and ourselves through stories. We can read different layers within the same story. Harry Potter is not just about an orphan who fights a battle against terrible evil. It is about friendships and enemies. It is a study on what confronts us in life and how it can beat us down or lift us up. It is about learning when to grow and change and when to stand tall and strong against letting the bad change us. “The Christmas Pig” is not just about losing a favorite toy or divorce and bullies. It is about how we can let our experiences stretch and grow us into new understandings and perceptions. And ultimately to find ourselves in the struggles of everyday challenges. To see what we wanted so badly may not be the thing we really want in the end. And when we get to that point of understanding, comes great satisfaction.
Other definitions for the word satisfaction are gratification, delight, gladness. I think a lot of us found we could live with less in our lives during the challenges of this pandemic. Many found family time and pets and new hobbies to be more satisfying than job promotions and ladders to climb in the workplace. We will always need to fill our pockets with enough to buy us security and sustenance. But I hope we remember what else we found during this time in history.
Something we can actually find again and again within the pages of a multiple and diverse range of books, both fictional and non-fiction.
My wish for you is that you reach satisfaction in your journey.
*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.