Glenn Beck’s Tears Save Christmas

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Incorporating Washington Post Book World.Wonkette World o’ Books is a bit late to the party on this week’s Fine Read. The Christmas Sweater, a curious coming-of-age novel by beloved teevee lunatic Glenn Beck, was actually published in 2008, which took place a full, what, THREE years ago, almost? A picture book version (for the kids) and a film/one-man-show version (for chortling libtards with money to burn on a goddamned Glenn Beck movie) followed in 2009. There were many amusing reviews. But no one, it seems, had read the novel that led to the comical movie/show. Until now.

The many amusing reviews of Glenn’s one-man show focused on the great man’s forced crying and limited repertoire of goofy character voices, as well as on the inspiredly bonkers “it was all a dream” plot twist at the end. But what about the quality of the prose, amusing reviewers, what about the quality of Glenn’s vigorous, weepy prose?

This description of a mysterious rural person, for example:

“Afternoon,” the well-worn man said as he leaned on one of the few sturdy sections of fence along the road. He was about as old as my grandfather but leaner and quite a bit shorter. His eyes looked like they belonged to a much younger man, but his face was nearly caked with dirt, and his full, speckled beard sprang from his face as if trying to escape.

The escaping speckled beard is an intriguing, if dumb (does this mean that everyone’s fingernails “spring” from their fingers “as if trying to escape?”), touch of surrealism. Most of Beck’s writing is a see-Jane-run affair, with the occasional burst of Straining Towards Poignancy:

Grief exploded within me, forcing out sobs and streams of tears, which poured down my cheeks. I sank to the ground and sat in the rough grass, cross-legged, with my face in my hands. I cried for the first time since my mother died.

Perhaps your reviewer should explain the plot a little bit. The novel is a “memoir” of Glenn’s childhood, except in the book Glenn is called “Eddie.” Glenn/Eddie is born into a family of bakers. Of their financial situation, Glenn writes, “We weren’t wealthy, we weren’t poor — we just were.” This Zen family runs into hard times early on. Eddie/Glenn’s father dies of cancer, then his mother dies in a car wreck, and then Eddie/Glenn goes to live with his grandparents, to whom he is unceasingly brattish.

Oh yeah, and along the way there’s something about Eddie/Glenn wanting a Huffy bike for Christmas but getting a sweater instead. He hates the sweater and isn’t shy about letting his mom know. This upsets Eddie/Glenn’s mom, and she dies soon after.  At some point Eddie/Glenn finds out that he was going to get the bike all along, but he didn’t because he acted like a vile ingrate.

He meets a mysterious rural person named Russell, who eventually teaches Eddie/Glenn an Important Lesson, THE END. Or, almost the end. At the end-end Eddie/Glenn wakes up (he was asleep the whole time!) and his mother is still alive. Eddie learns to show appreciation for his mom and his grandparents and the sweater; he ends up getting the bike after all; it was all a dream, God bless us everyone, etc.

There was a further “it was all a dream” twist after the book was published. It turns out that The Christmas Sweater isn’t 100% truthful about Glenn’s childhood, or something (We can’t be bothered to look up the details). Your reviewer isn’t hugely disturbed by fictionalized memoirs; embellished life stories can be great fun, except when they aren’t. The best fictionalized memoirs don’t tell half-truths so much as a truths-and-a-half, to paraphrase somebody.

Do politics ever enter The Christmas Sweater? They do, thanks to Eddie’s baker father (who doesn’t get to come back to life):

“Eddie, Mrs. Olsen is a very good customer of ours. Her husband passed away a year ago and she’s had a hard time making ends meet…what she gave me isn’t money, but it’s just like it for people who need it. They’re called food stamps…”

Dad explained that while our family would never accept help from anyone, especially the government, there were good people who needed it.

Your reviewer reckons he’ll give Glenn Beck some Xmas charity points for this imaginative sympathy for a widow on food stamps. It can’t be easy to write such a character when you believe that everyone on food stamps is a Maoist time-traveler who goes back in time every day to murder the Founding Fathers.

In conclusion: Glenn Beck has the same initials as “Great Book.” Coincidence?

The Christmas Sweater by Glenn Beck, Threshold Editions, 284 pages, $11.99

Thanks to Wonkette operative “Jeff.” Wonkette World o’ Books is off next week, and will see you cherubs in the New Year. May your War on Christmas be merry and bright.

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99 comments

  1. BaldarTFlagass

    “it was all a dream” plot twist at the end.

    I keep hoping I'm gonna wake up and it's gonna be 1976 again.

      1. BaldarTFlagass

        That was my first choice, but decided to go for High School Daze, when I was less aware and the world to me seemed like everything was gonna be all right. By '96, I was already totally jaded.

      2. Terry

        If we do go back ti 1976, i'm going to buy a slew of gold commemorative coins and make a fortune in 2010 selling them to teabaggers.

    1. LionelHutzEsq

      It's Glenn Beck, he would want it to be 1956, before all those very, very urban people demanded to be treated equally.

  2. Badonkadonkette

    Hmm, a book about an obnoxious, selfish dick who has a dream around Xmastime and wakes up enlightened and charitable.

    This just supports my theory that Glenn Beck has never had anything that even resembles a single original thought, ever, in his entire, miserable, pig-eyed life.

  3. SorosBot

    The pseud-live reading Beck did was glorious, because it played to a bunch of near-empty theaters where the critics outnumbered the actual Beckheads, and ended up losing him a bunch of money. Scheadenfreud-elicious!

    "Grief exploded within me, forcing out sobs and streams of tears, which poured down my cheeks."

    No, Glenn, we've seen the video and know that you're faking the tears with vapo-rub.

    1. zhubajie

      What is it about these weepy Republicans? First Beck, then Boehner? I thought they were supposed to be manly in an old-fashioned don't-cry-when-the-PTO-tears-your-arms-off way?

    1. zhubajie

      Beck was the 12 year old. What do you think that important lesson he got from the wandering hobo was?

    2. comrad_darkness

      Eh, in that case his drooling followers would just make pedophilia a sacrament. Then where would we be?

  4. elviouslyqueer

    In my dream, Glenn offs himself after being discovered in bed with an 11-year-old Cuban boy. Or, failing that, he comes to his demise in a tragic accident involving a butcher knife, a leaky 9-volt battery, and an electric cattle prod.

    1. Terry

      Not Cuban, the kid is the son of two illegal immigrants from El Salvador. He's molesting a brown skinned anchor baby.

  5. Mindblank

    If ever there was a man deserving of a visit from the three ghosts of Christmas (Bondage, Humiliation, and Repentance), Glenn Beck is that man.

  6. BaldarTFlagass

    Grief exploded within me, forcing out sobs and streams of tears, which poured down my cheeks. I sank to the ground and sat in the rough grass, cross-legged, with my face in my hands.

    Doesn't that happen every day, on his show?

  7. angryclownspawn

    Honest to god, I would rather stick a fork in my eye than read any of the bullshit Glenn Beck spews.

  8. benjo765

    "I cried for the first time since my mother died."

    So given this is Glenn Beck… she died during the commercial break of his show?

  9. bfstevie

    Even when I steal other people's stories I never get the fu**ing bike in the end. Maybe I need to become a Mormon, or a Scientologist.

  10. SexySmurf

    But no one, it seems, has read the novel that led to the comical movie/show.

    People read it; they just didn't live to tell the tale.

  11. ttommyunger

    The bad news, young Beck rode his bike all over town with the seat removed. The good news: he always used a condom on it.

    1. HistoriCat

      No no – Mormons readopted Christ once they realized their weird-ass religion wasn't going to be accepted in the larger world of conservative bigots. In order to really join with and influence the anti-gay/anti-abortion crowd, they dusted off Jesus.

    2. finallyhappy

      Irving Berlin wrote Christmas songs. I'm not sure that answers the question of Kosher ham(although we do have kosher "bacon" – it is called beef fry- not that I have had it or seen it since I was a child in the ancient 60's.)

  12. WarAndGee

    The brilliance of this jacknoodle is he can rip off every self-center libertarian utopians work, water it down to a fifth grade level, puke it out like a six pack of white castles and the semi-illiterate ignorati will like it up off the floor.

    Needs a blow job and a brown bear ala John Irving and I may read a page or two.

      1. WarAndGee

        You people are making me pay for my obscure east coast liberal elitist reference aren't you? Fine I'm going to drink and type somewhere else.

        1. DoktorZoom

          Some book critic pointed out that "…like John Irving has bears" was a handy way of pointing out any author's repeated tropes. E.g.:

          George Lucas has characters get limbs hacked off like John Irving has bears

          John Cheever has suburban alcoholics like John Irving has bears

          Glenn Beck has insincere crying jags like John Irving has bears.

    1. comrad_darkness

      Ooooh. The "sweater" is symbolic of his rejection of mormonism, until it is demonstrated that embracing the religion founded by a shyster leads to all the bicycles (riches) one could want.

      Lesson well learned, grasshopper Beck. Lesson well learned.

  13. Gorillionaire

    Does "Eddie" at any point call up the wife of his nemesis and taunt her mercilessly about her miscarriage, and do it on a live radio show? No? Then how the fuck is this supposed to be "autobiographical"?

  14. Fare la Volpe

    Dad explained that while our family would never accept help from anyone, especially the government, there were good people who needed it.

    Good white people.

    1. JustPixelz

      Dad further explained that even if I was starving, he would refuse any help. And if, God forbid, my mother was dying of treatable cancer but we didn't have health insurance, we would not accept government help. "Your mom would rather die", he told me. Then he told me to stay out of that goddamn socialist free public library. "The only book you need is right here", he said, pointing to his autographed edition of "Mein Kampt".

  15. CapeClod

    "Stupidity animated my fingers on the keyboard and unimaginitive, treacally dreck appeared on my computer screen, the sort of prose that would almost certainly seperate my poorly informed, incurious viewers from their cash as easily as every other money making sceme that I have used to dupe these drones"

  16. Fare la Volpe

    Of course not. He simply has the lucre to buy ghost writers. This polemic is a searing indictment of Capitalism if nothing else.

  17. SheriffRoscoe

    Can't wait for The Christmas Sweater: The Broadway Musical!. Beck hasn't exhausted this cash cow quite yet.

  18. bagofmice

    Seriously, this keratin leak is out of control. It's squirting out of my hands and feet, and even my chest! It's gotten so bad I have to take a finely honed blade of steel to my face in an attempt to contain this problem…. It's downright barbaric.

  19. SenileAgitation

    Needs more GOP buttsecks:

    "Afternoon," the well-known Senator drawled, spitting in his hand and bending me over the picnic table. Pamphlets and sign-in sheets scattered like things that aren't in the same place anymore. He was about as old as my grandfather but meaner and quite a bit smarter. His eyes looked like they belonged to a much taller man, but his face was nearly dirty with cake, or something that looked like powdered sugar.

    His wizened wand sprang from his pants as if trying to escape. I thought about red sweaters and red Huffy bikes and the time Dad put red lipstick on my butthole and we played Alien Adventure Girl. The Senator seemed to know the game, and before I knew it my butt was hurting again and the Senator was rocking back and forth close behind me, comforting me with his tears of rage and cries of "dirty bitch!" as he pulled hard on my hair. Pretty soon, his "Grief" exploded within me, forced out in gobs and streams which poured down between my cheeks. I sank to the ground and sat in the rough grass, cross-legged, with my face in my hands and my pants around my ankles. I cried for the first time since my mother died.
    Then I woke up. My ass ached, and I realized I'd fallen asleep with my thumb in my butt and a thick rubberband in my hair, my usual secret fantasy ending to the Young Republican picnic bringing me the usual shameful shivers of pleasure before guilty sleep overtook me. It had all been a dream!

  20. BlueStateLibel

    You know what I love about assholes like Cry Baby Beck? They're always promoting this idea that people shouldn't take money from the government, even if they're starving, even if they're kids are starving. But on the other hand, shit yeah, the banks, Wall Street, military contractors, etc. are SUPPOSED to take boatloads of sweet cash from the government and there's absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    1. Lost_Teabaggers

      Yes they do have that major hypocrisy and yet try to dismiss it by saying "I don't support subsidies" and then turn around and vote for people who create the corporate welfare subsidies with a wink and a nudge. I've gotten tired of documenting conservative hypocrisy, I think the Daily Show explained it well by having John Stewart talk about major pieces of legislation and John Oliver asking "what's in it for the wealthy?" as every Republican refrain.

  21. mumbly_joe

    Dad explained that while our family would never accept help from anyone, especially the government, there were good people who needed it.

    BUT THEN IT WAS ALL A DREAM. People like that don't exist/are lazy/shiftless/evil communazis.

    1. Failure_Artist

      Though technically I think that part with his dad wasn't part of the dream. His dad really did die and didn't get resurrected with "IT WAZ ALL A DREAM" magic, probably because that bastard really didn't give him a bike.

  22. Ancient_Hackery

    Kinda reminds me of an old Nat-Lamp take of what a novel written by Spiro Agnew would be like. Lotsa same clusterfarg descriptive phrases : " As I opened the door to President Nasty's office, I noticed it was leather covered, with brass decorative nailheads spaced ewvery 3/4 of an inch around it's immense periphery."

    Sorta parallels- up with the description of that dirty old guy, eh?

  23. LionelHutzEsq

    Grief exploded within me, forcing out sobs and streams of tears, which poured down my cheeks. I sank to the ground and sat in the rough grass, cross-legged, with my face in my hands. I cried for the first time since my mother died.

    I take it this was Beck's reaction to Obama's Socialist victory?

    1. Sassomatic

      Please. Nothing could have elevated this clown higher on the shoulders of racist wingnuts than a damn darkie in the White House. He's making a fortune off that election.

  24. Tundra Grifter

    “'We weren’t wealthy, we weren’t poor — we just were.' This Zen family runs into hard times early on. Eddie/Glenn’s father dies of cancer, then his mother dies in a car wreck…"

    In other words, they just were and then they just weren't.

  25. GunTotingProgressive

    Glenda and Eddie were the popular steadies and the King and the Queen of the prom…
    Riding around, accosting dirty men with rebellious beards apparently.

  26. Jerri

    I imagine this is the kind of book where the reader can feel where the author stopped writing to perform a word count check before exclaiming, "Seriously?!" and sighing dejectedly.

    1. GunTotingProgressive

      Given Glenda's propensity for waterworks, I'd suspect this was intended to be "Moist time-travelers."

  27. WABishop

    Put the book in perspective. This is a man for whom Atlas Shrugged and the Book of Mormon represent the highest achievements of the English language.

  28. mourningnmerica

    You left out the part where he sodomizes his pet Jack Russell Terrier, Missy. Best part. I don't want to ruin the ending, but what do you think the sweater was made out of?

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