Thursday, December 22, 2016

CHOOSE YOUR OWN MISERY - HOLIDAYS: A REVIEW

Choose your Own Misery: The Holidays
Written by: Mike MacDonald
Kindle version: 362 pages
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Language: English
October 2016
Genre: Humor/Holiday
Thank you to Diversion Publishing and Net Galley for the ARC

From "The Onion" alum writers Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon comes a hilarious choose-your-own-path story to ruin your holiday spirit.

This is the year you’re going to do it: you’re going to avoid Christmas completely!

...or you were, until your island getaway got washed out by a hurricane. Now you have to choose: should you spend the holiday with your shrewish sister and her Europhile husband, or endure your new girlfriend s family for a week? Help chop down a tree even though it might throw out your back, or endure the icy judgment of a woman who thinks only children and pussies help bake cookies? Jet off to the glamorous slums of Kingston, Jamaica, or accept the offer of a ride from a man who never stops smiling...and is probably going to turn you into a skin suit?

From the writers who brought you the hilarious parody "Choose Your Own Misery: The Office" comes a second helping of misery with a festive twist. Christmas is full of fun surprises for kids, but for adults, it’s just an endless series of aggressive crowds, overwhelming credit card debt, and pretending to like the people you re forced to spend it with.

Once you unwrap all the holiday misery hiding in these pages, the blackness of your heart will rival any lump of coal."


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I grew up on Choose Your Own Adventure books happily bought from the Scholastic Book Fair at school. Quite often my fate was rather grisly and rarely ended well, but the journey was always fun.

Now my holidays were and are rarely full of misery. Consider me lucky I suppose. We didn’t have a large family get together every season where the crazy uncle boozed it up and you rolled your eyes at every one of your cousin’s jokes. My family isn’t perfect, but the holidays weren’t hell.

And yet I still enjoy watching or reading about Holiday misery. There is something wrong with me I think. Except, I guess I like the kind of misery where everything works out in the end. This is not the case for Choose Your Own Misery. There are no happy endings.

Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays is pretty simple. You are a single male who was planning on spending the holidays drunk on a tropical beach with your buddy from college. But the universe has different plans and the trip is cancelled due to a hurricane. So what now? Do you spend the holidays with your girlfriend? So you try to find somewhere else to go?

Things I liked: If you are a Christmas scrooge than this is right up your alley. It’s a great parody of family, drama, holiday perfection, and nauseating holiday cheer. The endings are different shades of miserable. It is choose your own misery after all.

The kindle version of this was great because when you click on your choice it takes you immediately there.

Its subversive and fun. Worth having around during the holidays if you like that kind of thing. Misery that is.

Things I didn’t like so much: The book is written from a male’s perspective so some of the frustration I didn’t relate to. Or the stereotypical characters found within the story. Maybe I just wasn’t in the mood. Shrug.

I wanted it to be funnier. I wanted there to be some reasonably happy endings. But then again, I am a mush head when it really comes down to it. Alas, this was a bigger problem for me than expected.

Buy or Borrow: Borrow. In the end, it wasn’t for me. Apparently I like the holiday cheer more than I thought.

Part of: Standalone.

Also Recommended: For another Choose your Own Adventure type story try: To be Or Not To Be, or Romeo and/or Juliet by Ryan North, Pretty Little Mistakes by Heather McElhatton, and Lost in Austen by Emma Campbell Webster.

2.5 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks