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Book review: Recent graduate works to find happiness despite hardship in 'Picturing Christmas'

"PICTURING CHRISTMAS," by Jason F. Wright with J. Sterling Wright, Sweetwater Books, $13.99, 192 pages (f)

New York transplant Aubrey is spending her first holidays alone, by choice, in "Picturing Christmas." Things haven't gone the way she'd hoped. Her parents are divorced, the job she was supposed to have gotten didn't pan out and now she's been fired from her unpaid internship. What more could go wrong?

Plenty, as it turns out. She meets a mysterious man who isn't what he seems at first. Separate visits from her parents end disastrously and Aubrey finds herself in a pit that she can't quite make her way out of. The holidays are far from the magical ones she remembers when she was younger, and she's determined to put much distance between herself and those memories.

Just when it looks as though Christmas will be a dark hole of loneliness, the words of a child and her new friend Jole wake her up to the reality that happiness is something she can choose, not something that's forcibly taken away.

"Picturing Christmas" is a beautiful story with a warm message of love and the search for selflessness, though it lacked some of the development and depth of Jason F. Wright's other novels. It has no profanity, violence or sexual references.

Jason Wright is the author of 14 novels, and his upcoming novel for children is titled "The Lost Carnival." Though he previously lived in Utah, he and his wife and four children live in the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia.

Sterling Wright has ghost-written several novels, and "Picturing Christmas" is the first written under his own name. He also lives in Virginia with his wife.

Megan Jensen is a BYU graduate, mom, writer and avid traveler. Find her at