Rating: 5 stars for the contemporary story, 1 star for the supernatural story. Overall rating: 3 stars out of 5
Seven-year-old Markie is determined to shine this Christmas. He’s decided his light can’t be hidden any longer, but not everyone in his life is supportive.
This Christmas, he’s looking for a miracle. Maybe if the family’s Nativity can host a miracle, then it might spill over onto him and his family.
For me, A Miracle for Markie by Lynn Lorenz is absolutely two short stories, one of which is unnecessary and in a Twilight Zone sort of way, will forever be that question mark dangling around narratively speaking. The other? An amazingly beautiful story about love and acceptance.
Why, oh why, I lament, did someone not pull them apart or say, hey, let’s just concentrate on that treasure of a child, Markie?
Because that’s where all of this story belongs. On a broken family at Christmas time, a genderfluid child at the heart of the shattered mess of a family because his father couldn’t accept his child and the changes Markie was going through. Lorenz brings Markie delightfully to life, we feel the joy in finding and buying “the one” dress for Christmas, the fear and doubt instilled by the father due to past arguments and loud disapproval. And we get the fiercely loyal and protective mother and sister, who are loving and supportive of Markie while dealing with their own anger and pain.
This story? Beautiful, heartwarming, and all kinds of perfect. Just like Markie. Lynn Lorenz can write kids that melt your heart and this one is no exception. Love this whole part of this short story.
Ok, then on to the weirdness.
So there’s this Nativity that Markie likes to play with, and Markie makes up this story about a wise man in love with the shepherd, gives them names and, boom, in a Christmas Miracle, they come alive. But only at night. We see and hear them so they become real to the readers as well. And of course they move around the Nativity, because , hey, real now. When found in different places, who gets blamed and called a liar? Markie, which I hated. That’s never cleared up. Because it’s never shown that Markie brought them to life, while showing the reader that he did.
It gets worse. We know that they are alive. No one else does. And we know nothing else about that. Nothing about a time frame etc. Just that they are alive. Guess what happens to Nativity scenes after Christmas is over? Yep. But they are alive….no matter here come the boxes….
Is that creepy music I hear start to play as the lid comes down and the screams start? Why is this even part of the story? Or why didn’t the author do a better job is explaining what does happen to the little alive people? Unreal. For me they keep waking up in a box in the dark for a year til next Christmas. Talk about your nightmares.
This was so unnecessary next to Markie’s story that glowed. I love Markie but guess what part of the story I remember. Yep. That box and the little shepherd and his boyfriend the wise man.
So if you want to skip over small chapters about Nativity scenes and keep just to Markie, then yes, I recommend this. But in no way, should you read the entire book. Not unless you have a really warped sense of humor. Then be my guest.
Cover art: Kris Jacen. Lovely job of conveying the warmth and glow of the holidays.