David Baldacci writes a mildly humorous (makes you smile or slightly chuckle, which is a good thing) story of a journalist, Tom Langdon, riding the train from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles during the Christmas season. The reason he is on the train, as opposed to taking a flight on an airplane, is a hilariously familiar scenario that many, if not most of us can easily relate to. I'll say, if you have flown in the past ten years then you will get it!
The reason he is traveling during Christmas is to spend the holidays with his girlfriend (part-time) in L.A. The trip is mostly taken on the Southwest Chief; just the name makes me want to hop a train and have an adventure out west! During this journey he meets a cast of odd and funny people also riding the Chief. They bring their own set of quirks and eccentricities that only add to the fun and misadventure-or maybe I should say they add fun to the mis-adventure!
Tom is a burned out journalist who has spent some years traveling the world to cover war, famine, political unrest, natural disaster and the like. He laid that down to write what the author calls "drearily light" articles on gardening, home decorating, etc. This did give him some peace and quiet but no challenge there. He is challenged however by his dying father, to write the story he is living on the train, so to speak. It has some history I will leave for you to discover, which adds to the charm of this novel. He is taking the trip and writing about his journey cross-country on a train at Christmas time. This is just the book you need to read if you want some relaxing calm and quietude with an upbeat feeling. It will put you in the Christmas mood.
The Christmas Train was published in 2002 and I pulled it off the shelf of my personal collection to read again. Glad I did! I give the christmas train five stars!
I hope you and yours have the merriest of Christmases and the Happiest of New Years! See you soon.