Return to Christmas
by Kathi Macias
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: New Hope Publishers
Released: Oct. 5, 2015
Source: ebook review copy from the publisher through NetGalley.
Book Description, Modified from Goodreads:
Former Marine Chet is having a hard time adjusting to civilian life. He doesn't need help. He needs employment. He doesn't have issues. The little boy his wife's friends adopted who has attachment disorder has issues. But there is something about that little boy that draws him. Will the events leading up to this Christmas be able to melt his soldier heart or will he spiral into a dark depression?
Return to Christmas is Christian fiction. Chet knows his wife doesn't want to work, but he can't seem to get a steady job. He often stays at home with their 3-year-old while his wife works. He feels like a failure as a bread winner. He refuses to take any opportunities to go to college or otherwise improve his chances of getting a job. Since his wife doesn't complain, he's mean to her in an attempt to make her hate him. He starts binge drinking so he's not even watching out for his kid anymore. The wife draws strength from God to love her husband, but she can see all the things he should be doing and can't understand why he won't.
Frankly, Chet came across as mainly having an ego (perception of self-worth) issue, yet everyone thinks he'd get better if only he'd go into PTSD counseling. He did have a few nightmares, and he's afraid to make new friends due to losing friends while in the military. However, the point that he kept going on about was his inability to get a steady job and how that made him feel like a failure as a husband and father. He got worse until, in the last chapters, he suddenly realized his need for Jesus and immediately decided to go to counseling, etc. He didn't even know why he had lost his faith. I felt like the author avoided providing potential answers to hard issues except looking to God as the first step (which is important).
I liked the kids, but I had a hard time feeling sympathy for Chet. Unfortunately, when an author spends the whole book with a person stuck in a downward spiral, a sudden complete turn-about doesn't feel realistic to me. There was no bad language or sex.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.