Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Stories for Life Day

Happy Life Day everyone.

For those still figuring it out, Life Day is the Christmas-like holiday featured in The Star Wars Holiday Special from 1978. Look it up; it is terrifying. You will hear how terrible it is, but when you watch it you will be terrified that it really is so terrible and really does exist and did get made. Of course, people tend to build up affection for terrible things like this, and with access to the Internet Life Day has been getting some new, well, life. 

This year we have a new addition to the fairy-tale-like stories we have been getting--this time with the Star Wars Life Day Treasury: Holiday Stories from a Galaxy Far, Far Away. While I've found these collections to be intriguing, in the past I've commented on the seeming lack of a clear audience. The publisher is Disney, so as far as bookstores go these are considered children's books. And the writing style is simple enough for young readers (around that 8-12 range). But the content is better appreciated by adults--especially so when it comes to Life Day. This time, though, as far as the book itself, that lack of clarity seems to be gone. 

The writing style is still simple enough for younger readers. But it's also neutral enough to not make adults feel like it wasn't written for them, too. And the content is fantastic. It's like reading a classic collection of Christmas stories. There are eight stories that are meant to correlate to not just Life Day but also other holidays around that time of year in different parts of the Star Wars universe. This of course is meant to reflect the other holidays besides Christmas that people celebrate in winter in our world--but this is the U.S. and most people are familiar with Christmas traditions, and so most of these stories feel like Christmas stories. Unless perhaps it's a case of the reader bringing their own memories to the stories: maybe someone who celebrates Hanukah rather than Christmas would see Hanukah in the stories. 

The stories cover classic holiday themes like family, the differences between rich and poor, hospitality, food, traditional beliefs, myths, ornaments and decorations, and hope in hard times. Each one has a different focus. They're short and to the point and so would make good stories to read with family in the evening. They allow a quick glimpse into the various nooks of the galaxy without needing a lot of exposition. There is a whimsical, Hallmark-like tone at times but it's intentional and held in balance. They're deliberately cheery, heartwarming stories, and that's fun to see in the Star Wars setting. Somehow we have a seed of a good idea in Life Day, and this book waters that seed and ignores the less than impressive aspects of the holiday special. I'm impressed. 

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