Real Santa

Real Santa


Synopsis for book:

Real Santa is a funny poignant novel that shows us what one man will do to keep his daughters innocence intact by preserving her belief in Santa Claus. Bob Kronenfeldt is an unemployed engineer with one shot to keep his daughters belief in Santa intact. When she tells him the only way she will believe in Santa is if she can videotape him and then tells her fourth grade class she will prove the existence of Santa Claus by posting her video to YouTube ; Bob realizes he must become the Real Santa. He devises a way to actually land nine reindeer on his roof and go down his chimney to deliver the gifts and then go back up the chimney and fly away with the reindeer. He hires a broken down movie director and ends up funding a full scale production that bankrupts him and threatens his marriage. When he goes to find the “Real Santa” to help him, the line between what is real and magic is crossed. It is a funny heartwarming story of parenthood gone wrong and illuminates what lengths parents will go to keep their children happy.

 

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 

In a fit of inspired insanity, a laid-off suburban father decides to prove to his 9-year-old daughter that there really is a Santa Claus. Never doubt the determination of a mad scientist and his plans. In this sixth novel from prolific writer and blogger Hazelgrove (The Pitcher, 2013, etc.), the author marries the everyday dramas found in the novels of Tom Perrotta and Nick Hornby to the high camp of Carl Hiaasen or Dave Barry. His protagonist is an aging engineer named George Krononfeldt who is promptly laid off from his firm for his increasingly cranky attitude. Simultaneously, his daughter Megan is slowly being poisoned of her belief in Christmas-y myths by her hateful teacher, Mrs. Worthington. “I will kick Santa squarely in the nuts once and for all,” she proclaims during one of her darker moments. Undetermined, George starts sketching out plans to give his daughter—who has inherited her father’s penchant for requiring empirical data to prove a coherent thesis—one more Christmas miracle. “I’m going to be the Real Santa,” George tells his father, whom he enlists in aid of the outlandish project. “I’m going to land a sled on the roof, go up the chimney, go down it, deliver the gifts, and then I’m going to get back in the sled and take off into the sky.” After spending more than $80,000 building a contraption that would rival a NASA launch and engaging the help of his estranged older son and daughter and a slightly mad Santa impersonator named “Kris Kringgle,” George does indeed take to the skies. It’s not as frenetic as Christopher Moore’s The Stupidest Angel or as maudlin as all those holiday staples (read: A Christmas Story), but adults looking for a funny holiday-themed tale that doesn’t lose its sense of wonder in the face of realism will find a treat here. A lovingly crafted comedy about the madness that fatherhood inspires.

 

 

Starred Booklist Review

                                                      

*Starred Review* Real Santa.
By William Hazelgrove.
Oct. 2014. 244p. Koehler, $26.95 (9781940192963); e-book (9781940192598).
First published September 1, 2014 (Booklist).

If somebody doesn’t make a movie out of this book, there’s something wrong with the world. George Kronenfeldt is an engineer who is, again, out of a job (he’s a good engineer but not a good employee)—and this time it’s right around Christmas. Faced with a bleak financial future, George seizes on a new project to keep him occupied: to convince his nine-year-old daughter that Santa is real. That sounds nice enough, until you realize it means Bob intends to dress up in a Santa suit, rent himself some reindeer and a sleigh, build ramps to get them on his roof, hire a movie director to whomp up some special-effects footage of the reindeer and sleigh landing and taking off, and generally tear his house (not to mention his family) apart. This could have been played as an out-and-out slapstick comedy, but instead the author approaches the story like a character study: a portrait of a man with the best intentions in the world watching those intentions collide with reality. It’s a steamroller of a story, starting small, with George’s idea, and getting bigger and bigger as George tries to put the elements together, as his obsession takes him further and further away from reality. Beautifully done.