I picked up Snow Day by Billy Coffey because a couple of blog friends highly recommended it, plus the title conjures up joy for this Southern girl — we only get snow days once or twice a year, and the phrase promises a fun day off. It’s basically the story of Peter Boyd, whose job at the factory is under a dark cloud of possible layoffs, his encounters during a snow day off from work, and lessons learned from various other characters.
Billy has a humorous yet warm, thoughtful, laid back style that I first encountered when someone shared a link to Billy Coffey versus the grocery store a few months back. The story was good, easily readable, the characters were genuine and likable, the lessons were valuable. All in all it was a good read.
The only slight shadow over it for me was that it was billed as a novel, and usually in a novel the story is the main factor and any lessons learned are handled with a little more subtlety, not quite so moral-of-the-story-ish. This is more like a series of several objects lessons set within the framework of a snow day. And that’s fine, there is nothing wrong with that at all — it was more a matter of adjusting my mentality when I was waiting at first for the story part to pick up and take off.
I poked around Billy’s blog a bit yesterday and saw a post which I can’t figure out how to get back to now in which he usually asked his children what they learned that day, and one day one of them asked him that question. Thus the title of his blog is What I Learned Today. It’s good to have that mentality with the encounters in life rather than just letting them float by without thought.
I’ve been debating with myself whether to mention my one area of disagreement with the book, having to do with Santa Clause. 🙂 I don’t want to start a Santa Clause debate. We haven’t incorporated Santa except as a storybook character, and my kids haven’t suffered any detriment to their enjoyment of Christmas or the development of their imaginations. We respect other Christian families’ rights to incorporate Santa if they want to and can in good conscience, and only want the same grace in return. I thought Billy’s logic was a little faulty when Peter encountered a Christian family who felt strongly against Santa and then he went on a few pages later to talk about people who want to explain away the supernatural and say that Christ was just a moral teacher. Obviously the family Peter encountered were not trying to explain away everything supernatural, and it doesn’t follow that if you believe in Jesus you’ll also believe in Santa. He goes on to say that Santa was like “God 101 for a small child.” That’s exactly why some people don’t like Santa. Children are capable of belief in God without also believing in Santa and the Easter Bunny and tooth fairy.
Again, I don’t want to get into a Santa debate, and everyone is free to handle him however they wish. I just wanted to mention the issue because I didn’t want to recommend a book that had an area I disagreed with without qualifying it.
And I do recommend this book. If you like Andy Griffith, Paul Harvey, and that kind of homey story and gentle wisdom, you’ll like Snow Day.
(This review will be linked to Semicolon‘s Saturday review of books.)