Jimsy: the Christmas kid

December 14, 2010

For some reason, Project Gutenberg neglected to include the frontispiece in their etext.

I kind of loved Jimsy: the Christmas kid, mostly for the way Leona Dalrymple always manages to stop short of sentimentality. It’s classic Christmas story stuff — an elderly couple volunteers to house a poor boy from the city over Christmas, and he ends up changing their lives — but there’s no classic Christmas story wallowing, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that.

Abner Sawyer is a bank president, and acutely aware of his own respectability. Judith Sawyer is his quiet, repressed, long-suffering wife. Jimsy, the street urchin they’ve agreed to take for the holidays, is irrepressibly cheerful and unconscious of Abner’s hostility towards him. And that’s all standard. What isn’t quite standard is how Jimsy’s best friend Specks is staying with the family next door, and how their friendship apparently consists of pummeling each other at every opportunity. Or how Judith hears what the neighbors say about her and is mortified, and how she tells Abner that it’s all true. Or Abner’s hobby of woodworking. Or, best of all, Abner’s conviction that he’s doing things wrong, somehow, and his willingness to try anyway.

Also, the incidental illustrations are adorable.

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