The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn: A Book Review

SantaClaus

During the Christmas holiday last year, I  had the perfect opportunity to read two books in which I buried myself- my typical holiday without all my ablutions as a matter of course. (laughs)

To understand the history of Christmas, I chose to read the Autobiography of Santa Claus. I am not sure if it is an authorized one.

I enjoyed this book because this is full of funny anecdotes about Santa Claus implying that he may be a comical person. However, there is a lot of information that is beyond belief, which could unsettle historians. For instance, it is beyond belief that some historical figures such as  Attila, King Arthur, Leonardo da Vinci, Saqoyah, St.Francis de Assisi, St.Patrick , Charles Dickens , Christopher Columbus, Benjamin Franklin, the Wright Brothers, Washinton Irving, George Washington, Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, Sarah Knight, Theodore Roosevelt – to name a few–  helped Santa Claus spread the real spirit of Christmas both in Europe and America. It also beyond belief that Santa Claus has magical power he does not know how that came into him prolongs his life for centuries. ( That’s why I am stating in the present tense because the book suggests that Santa Claus is still alive.) It is  even ridiculous that whoever helps him on his mission just the likes of those above will have immortal life. In short, they have been living with him in many centuries. So, the book appears to be deceiving; my world was turning upside-down as if I had abject discombobulation about history  in that I wanted to Google if all those facts have been recorded in history books.Besides, it came as no surprise to me  when  I found out that some on Goodreads were not satisfied with this book; they rated it with less than two stars.

Nevertheless, when I was halfway to finishing the book, I came to understand the underlying motive of the author. I guess that  to creatively elucidate the timeline of how Santa Claus and his legacy of gift-giving on Christmas,he brushed upon or, to put it mildly, appealed to some  famous people in history. In other words,  he may have had a comparative lack of primary sources  of historical facts. Rather, he must have decided to study St.  Nicholas’ life in the context of history , science, and literature. Or to have a new twist, he may have chosen to write in this kind of autobiographical style although he may have been aware of receiving I-was-not-born-yesterday reaction from his readers. Whatever the reasons are, still, the author is brilliant! His idea is cunning; it’s not that easy to use historical figures in incorporating them into a story. He must have thoroughly studied how to connect all the people who gave significant contributions to history with Santa Claus’ life. So ,this account is something of an oxymoron since it is supposed to be a credible autobiography but incredible in great depth.

Instead of being bothered by those historical facts the author fabricated, I ‘d rather call  them “the author’s historical versions”. One of those historical versions I enjoyed is the story  how Charles Dickens helped Santa Claus restore the meaningful celebration of Christmas in London. It is so cute. 🙂

Dickens

The book is also simply and beautifully written. The author may have intended to do so , for he must have wanted everyone, especially children, to read it – you know- to disabuse us of the  fictitious stories we have been instilled in since we were young.

Another thing that makes the book fanciful is its illustrations. It’s been a long time since I saw such images. It looked  as though I was reading an antique book. 🙂

claus3

claus2

claus

Even though you might recoil from  the author’s distorted history,  you  will still end up appreciating the book. You will learn a whole lot about Santa Claus. But I’m pretty sure that the ulterior  intention of the author is to let us realize that Santa Claus life story is all about spreading love.  So there! 🙂

Rating: 3/5 stars  ( I liked it.)

 

 

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