I just want to type out the entire review from the publisher copy for Twelve Terrors of Christmas (or) 12 Terrors of Christmas. This John Updike book is a “Your Mileage Will Varey” depending on your sense of humor (or lack thereof) and your appreciation or dislike of Edward Gorey as an illustrator.
The publisher copy says things like, “depictions of Yuletide mayhem” by Gorey. And Updike has “wryly jaundiced [examinations]” of each theme. Nothing is sacred, from Santa and his red suit, to sitting on his lap, to his questionable work habits. We see it all and then some. Due to the version which I read having said “revised” (to find this one, give this number ISBN: 9780764937101 to your local independent bookstore seller), I am assuming things like referencing Stephen King might not be in the original text. But not having known this book existed until January 2021, due to the fact we were returning it after the holidays and I just happened to see it, I have no idea what has or has not been added or changed.
The size of the book is my one real complaint about it. I mean, I am not HO HO HOing about the humor of the book but know several who would be. But that tiny, so small it fits in most pockets, size can be the game changer. The people I would want to give this too might have trouble reading the text. I consider myself (though wear glasses) able to read most print, but even I had trouble. And most of all, you cannot appreciate the odd and quirky details of Gorey’s art. Or see the humor that is being reference. The lack of color does not help this, but as it is classic Gorey, one does wish to see what he has come up with.
Because of this and just basically the context, this is a stocking stuffer for adults. Now that it is February, I would have seen it as a Valentines Day gift as well (but could not get to the review posting until now). Therefore, even though it is solidly a Christmas Book, I can see this as a goofy, quirky little gift when you are not sure what to give someone. Therefore, next Christmas when it is out (though it is easily available from our main vendor, so you can stock up early), buy them all up as you will be going to (hopefully) Christmas and New Years parties and need a hostess gift. You will need a funky Easter something for Aunt Gert (though, make sure she has a warped sense of humor, mine would not have been amused) or maybe even a gift for the Groom at your Best Friend’s wedding.