I can distinctly remember the time when I was in the same place as the protagonist of this novel. Like the young man who had dreamed of having a brand new red and shiny bike of his own, it was my dream to have an American Girl named Molly McEntire. I am sure every adult woman, and older teenage girl knows what I am talking about. My, was she my favorite American Girl as a child! I remember losing myself in the book series that was all about her pre-teen life during World War 2. I had dreamed for years of owning my own doll. She was the number one item on my Christmas list when I was in the the third grade. Every other girl in the third grade had one of their own. I was envious. Well, it was Christmas Day, and after opening each and every one of my presents, I couldn’t find the brunette doll with two long braids, anywhere in the large pile of stacked gifts that were underneath the tree. Neither was she in my stocking either. Disappointment had flooded my entire insides. Yet at the same time, I felt guilty. Is it a sign of ingratitude that I feel this way? I asked myself.
This was an important lesson for me in my childhood that will always stay with me. I was faced with the deep realization that I don’t always get what I want, and my maturity level barred me from seeing that I had many of life’s deeply valued treasures. Even as a grown woman, many times I am reminded of that I will not always have what I want in life. Right now, I am in a season of waiting. I want my apartment, car, husband, children, money, success, status as a published writer, a job, more education, friends, etc. Yes, these things will come, but I need to wait. Some of these things may never come at all. At the same time, I have to remember that God is giving me life’s most valued treasures.
Twelve year old Eddie desires nothing more than a bike for Christmas. A brand new bike, just like the ones he sees on bike racks outside of department stores. This becomes a desire, a dream! Every day and every night he prays and asks God to allow his mother to give him the bike on Christmas morning. He strikes a bargain with God, promising to attend church every Sunday, be on his best behavior, and earn good grades in school. As the days go by, Eddie anticipates the sight of his brand new bike, and the amount of money his mother is saving up to buy it. With his hopes up, Eddie doesn’t see any reason why he won’t get the bike he’s been longing for. However, Christmas day turns out to be a major disappointment, when he is given a sweater that his mother had knit with her own hands. Since the death of his father, a former baker, finances have been very tight, and Eddie has been bereaved. His bereavement doesn’t end on Christmas Day, like he expected it to end. Disappointment washes over him and stays with him for the entire day. His life takes a a more tragic turn that very night. A beautiful story of pain, loss, and growth as a young boy embarks on his journey to manhood. One Christmas changed the life of a child, and the process of growth and maturity was not easy.