Monday, December 28, 2020

A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote

 A Christmas Memory is a collection of three short stories written by Truman Capote.  I’ve previously read In Cold Blood and Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote.  This collection is unlike anything I’ve read by him before.  It’s a tender recollection of memories of his time as a youth living with elderly cousins in rural Alabama.

 Truman’s parents divorced when he was a very young child and had a bitter custody battle over him.  This led to him being raised by cousins, three elderly spinsters and a bachelor, in a rural town.  As he looks back on his childhood in the 1930’s living with his cousins, Capote realizes these were the happiest times in his childhood.  In particular, the childlike sixty-year-old Miss Sook Faulk took care of Truman, was his friend, and confidante.  She was a shy woman who was a very good person.

 In the first story, “A Christmas Memory,” Miss Sook, Queenie the rat terrier, and Buddy (Truman Capote) make fruitcakes to show people they care about them.  They scrape together all of their money for the ingredients and send them off to loved ones when they are complete.  They don’t have much, but they love to make others feel loved.  This story has one of the most poignant endings of any story I have ever read.  I’m tearing up just thinking about it.

 In the second story, “One Christmas,” Buddy travels to New Orleans to visit his father for Christmas.  The visit doesn’t turn out as he imagines, and he longs for his home back in rural Alabama.  Luckily when he returns home, Miss Sook helps to explain the true meaning of Santa Claus.

 In the final story, “The Thanksgiving Visitor,” Miss Sook invites Buddy’s nemesis, Odd Henderson, for Thanksgiving dinner with the family.  Will Odd show up?  Miss Sook shows Buddy her humanity in this story.

 Reading this collection, I want to make homemade fruitcake now.  This collection of short stories was very touching and perfect for the holiday season.  I feel bad for Buddy’s childhood, but happy that he had such a friend as Miss Sook.  Even more powerful, I’m glad that he was able to memorialize her in these stories.  They are short stories, but are filled with humanity, the spirit of joy and giving, and love and loss.    

 Favorite Quotes:

“It's bad enough in life to do without something YOU want; but confound it, what gets my goat is not being able to give somebody something you want THEM to have.”

 “I could leave the world with today in my eyes.”

Overall, A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote is an unforgettable collection of stories.  I highly recommend it.

 Book Source:  Purchased from

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