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The Christmas Shoes by Donna VanLiere book cover
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Book details

  • Date Published: Nov. 9, 2001
  • Length: 144 pages
  • Audio: 3 hours 3 minutes
  • Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
  • Content Warning: death, grief
  • Great book club pick!

The Christmas Shoes Book Review

The Christmas Shoes is a story about how you can gain the whole world and lose your soul, while, by contrast, you can appear to lose everything when you really have everything.

This book tells the story of two opposing worlds. In one world is Robert Layton. Robert is a successful attorney who has had one professional achievement after another. He lives in a house in the most coveted neighborhood in town, has a beautiful wife, and two sweet girls. But as the Christmas season is approaching, his wife, Kate, tells him that she wants a divorce. They agree to get through the holidays before making it official.

In the other world is Nathan Andrews. Nathan is an eight-year-old boy who’s dad is a mechanic and who’s mom, Maggie Andrews, is dying of ovarian cancer. He lives with his family in a humble house, but he knows he has two parents who love him and love each other. But at the tender age of eight, he is young boy facing the heavy reality of a dying mother.

But then something happens on Christmas Eve when Robert and Nathan cross paths in a chance meeting when Nathan wants to buy a Christmas gift for his mother, but he doesn’t have enough money.

I don’t want to give too much away other than to say that this book is simultaneously the most heartwarming story and heart-wrenching read in one great book. To say this book is a tear-jerker is an understatement.

While this book deals with a dying mother and the subsequent grief that follows, I think one of the best parts is the way Nathan’s mother teaches him how to view her death. I think it offers a lot of insight for those of us who have had to deal with the loss of a loved one.

The Christmas Shoes is considered a Christmas classic. In 2002, it became a made-for-TV movie starring Rob Lowe. If you are looking for something to watch this holiday season, you can find the movie on Amazon Prime.

This is one of those books that has really stuck with me. Have you read this book? I would love to hear what you thought about it.

The Christmas Shoes Book Discussion Questions

  1. What factors lead to the breakdown of Robert and Kate’s marriage?
  2. How did Robert’s marriage fall apart in light of his parents very healthy marriage? What did he get wrong?
  3. Discuss Nathan’s teacher. How was she not only able to make Christmas easier on him, but also bring some joy to his life?
  4. Discuss the role that Robert’s mother plays in saving his marriage.
  5. Discuss the interaction between Maggie Andrews and Kate Layton in the doctor’s office.
  6. What did you think about the way Nathan’s mother told him to view her pending death? Discuss the difference between being “taken” versus being “received”?
  7. Who was your favorite character in this book and why?
  8. This book has several powerful scenes, which scene was the most powerful for you?
  9. Discuss the interaction between Robert and Nathan’s dad?
  10. What does is the lesson does this book teach about what is ultimately important in life and in death?
  11. What did you think about the final scene in the book?

The Christmas Hope Series

When you are done reading this book, you will definitely want more, and the good news is that The Christmas Shoes is that there are more. Here are all 11 books in this series:

  1. The Christmas Shoes
  2. The Christmas Blessing
  3. The Christmas Hope
  4. The Christmas Promise
  5. The Christmas Secret
  6. The Christmas Journey
  7. The Christmas Note
  8. The Christmas Light
  9. The Christmas Town
  10. The Christmas Star
  11. The Christmas Table

Author Donna VanLiere is a New York Times best-selling author. She has also one several awards including a Retailer’s Choice Award for Fiction, a Dove Award, a Silver Angel Award, and two Audie Awards for best inspirational fiction. She was nominated for a Gold Medallion Book of the Year and is an inductee in the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges Hall of Excellence whose other members include Coretta Scott King, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale and Senator John Glenn.

Looking for more Christmas books?

I have got you covered! There really is something for everyone. Check out one of these posts for more:

35 Top Christmas Novels to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

9 New 2023 Christmas Books I’m Excited to Read This Season

25 Classic Christmas Books You Will Keep Coming Back To

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