A year ago, Goose had the perfect life: loving parents, Christmas around the corner, a new puppy. But this was all taken away from him suddenly when his parents were killed in a car crash on Christmas Eve. Now, a year on, he lives with his grandmother who is slowing losing to dementia, and is getting himself into a heap of trouble. The only thing he cares about is his dog Mutt, so when he goes missing, Goose’s world finally crumbles entirely. Until the sudden apparition of mysterious man, who thinks he might be called Anthony. Though he is unsure of even his own name, Anthony seems to have many answers and Goose finds himself relying on him to find Mutt. In their quest, they come across Frank, Goose’s late father’s best friend, who has lost his family, an old lady who has lost a precious bangle, an old man who has lost his wife and a woman who has lost her child. Unbeknown to them, their stories are intertwined, and Anthony finds himself easing their pain. But who is Anthony, really? Why is he here, and how does he know so much?
Lost Christmas was written in the way that is worthy of many of the most successful traditional Christmas tales and its very modern Mancunian setting does not take away in any way the warm sentiments at the heart of its tale. It is a poignant story of love and loss, which alternates funny moments with moving episodes, sometimes verging on the heartbreaking (particularly Helen’s story), but most of all it carries a message of hope, and never giving it up.
Yes, the eventual revelation of Anthony’s identity might not come as a surprise to adult readers particularly, and one cannot help but spot the similarities with It’s A Wonderful Life, but to be quite honest, who cares? Lost Christmas is a modern fairy-tale, set in the back streets of Manchester yet it oozes Christmas atmosphere and anticipation of the magic it might bring. It is Christmas spirit at its best, and even the barely-hidden Christmas scrooge in me could not help but be moved by this wonderfully touching and hopeful tale.
You can still catch the TV adaptation of Lost Christmas, starring Eddie Izzard on BBC iPlayer here.
Many thanks to Quercus for sending me a review copy of “Lost Christmas”.