Title: #ChristmasHatesYouToo (Bah Humbum: Advent Calendar 2016)
Author: E.F. Mulder
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Length: 66 Pages
Category: Contemporary, Holiday
At a Glance: This is a cute story that has several surprises and twists.
Reviewed By: Sadonna
Blurb: Born December 25, Noel Beebe is tired of having his birthday overshadowed by all things Christmas. While looking for love on social media, he comes across a prospective new beau just in time to celebrate the Big 3-0, someone who encourages him to take back his day and say thumbs down to Christmas! On a trip to the Big Apple, Noel does just that, flipping off the Rockefeller Center tree and demanding his coffee in a nondecorative paper cup as a fun birthday prank. His act of defiance is caught on video and soon goes viral, leading to a backlash all over the Twitterverse, Internet, and TV. Suddenly what Noel thought would be his best birthday—and even Christmas—yet is shaping up to be his worst. Can his family and his potential boyfriend prove to the world that Noel isn’t the Scrooge he’s been labeled?
Review: Noel Beebe is sick of sharing his birthday. And, his parents even named their December 25th baby Noel! I mean, come on! Full disclosure: I do have a high school classmate born on Christmas day, whose name is Holly I actually think that’s pretty cute.
Well, Noel is turning thirty, and while he has a job he loves, a family he loves, and a pretty good life, he doesn’t have that one true love he so desperately craves. He’s tried to meet people, but due to his work schedule—he’s a chef who works most evenings—he’s found it hard to find someone to date. So, he moves on to what a lot of people do these days; he finds friends online. He spends a summer online with a guy, and feels like they have a real connection, and despite the fact that the other guy is in the closet and is scared of telling his family—because of a real fear that he’ll be disowned—Noel thinks he can handle it and actually help Bart. But then, just when Noel thinks they will move things to the next level, Bart totally disappears. Nothing. No online profile, no FB, no nothing. Just gone. And Noel is crushed.
After some time, he tries to move on. He meets some guys on Twitter, over, of all things, why they hate their birthdays. One of the men is a Chinese guy named Hung, who was born on St. Patrick’s Day. Noel’s misfortune is obvious. Ethan’s complaint is that he was born on a Leap Day, so he’s only on his sixth actual birthday. When Ethan, an aspiring actor, surprises Noel just before Christmas, they march all over Manhattan complaining about Christmas, all in good fun, as a pre-birthday prank. But then something unexpected happens when Ethan, while trying to raise his social media profile, uploads a video of one of their exploits, and Noel gets all kinds of blowback from the “war on Christmas” types.
While Noel’s friends and family try to defend him, things get worse. Noel’s best friend (who is a minister), and his father (who is the town police chief), and others do their best to try to keep his spirits up, but Noel can’t turn a corner without seeing his face on the news or hearing from his family about what’s going on. That’s when Hung shows up as well. He’s a journalist and, of course, Noel is suspicious of his motives. Then things really get out of hand, and Noel is in a precarious situation and might miss Christmas after all.
This was a cute story that has several surprises and twists. The author did a good job of showing the danger of social media and the self-appointed “outrage junkies” who just cannot resist weighing in on every little thing. For anyone who reads this genre, I would think that this would be something that is painfully obvious. There are far too many rushes to judgement without the benefit of full disclosure or context. I’ve watched it over and over and over. It’s sad to see that the advent of the 24/7 news cycle has helped spur the quick-draw reaction that requires nothing more than a keyboard and some indignation.
I loved Noel’s family and his friends and his coworkers, who did their best to try to protect him. This is the first story I’ve read by this author. I liked the writer’s style and look forward to reading more!
You can buy #ChristmasHatesYouToo here: