The Christmas Letter

Narrated by: Pam Dougherty
Length: 12 hrs and 13 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (14 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Mary is a naive 20-year-old in 1945 when her high school sweetheart, Jack, returns to their small Indiana steel town wounded from World War II and makes her his bride. While Jack struggles to find his place in the world, Mary begins her own journey of self-discovery. 

As the years and letters unfold, Mary and Jack have five children, including their first-born son, Junior, who is not “right", an issue that contributes to the turmoil in their marriage and impacts their lives in unforeseen ways. 

Mary's Christmas letters track her children from toddling to adulthood, while also commenting on her marriage, her friendships, and the world around her - advances in technology, the dawn of the nuclear age, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Cold War, Vietnam, Woodstock, and more. 

Through disappointments, triumphs, dark moments of doubt and suspicion, loss of loved ones, and the lessons learned from hard experience, Mary’s Christmas letters are a constant in an uncertain world. A part of the ritual of Christmas, these letters are a touchstone from which Mary takes strength and comfort.

©2017 Steven H. Berman (P)2018 Steven H. Berman

What listeners say about The Christmas Letter

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Christmas Cookies

The Christmas Letter
: Steven H. Berman

This is an amazing book. I found it absolutely delightful to follow Mary's family from 1945 until 1981. The Christmas letters written to her best friend Midge highlight family, music, movies, and politics as things evolve and change over time. I will listen to this again next Christmas, and the next.



The narration was well done. The characters were well portrayed. Pam Dougherty brought the characters to life!!!



I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

2 people found this helpful

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Such a wonderful story!

What a wonderful story! And the narrator of the audiobook added So Much to the experience. It's not something you have to read/listen to only at the holiday season but is excellent for whenever you're wanting to step into what life was like in the post-war years on up to the early 80s. It's a great read for long story arcs and character development and what ifs and real emotions. At one point, I went online and posted a plea to know if there was a happy ending for one of the characters. I had to know that the outcome was positive, otherwise I'd need to stop listening and make up my own ending. No one answered but I just couldn't stop. In fact, I broke my usual habit of only listening to audiobooks during my work commute and listened while doing chores this weekend. It made the time fly! And thankfully the answer was yes, there is a happy ending, a better one than I could have imagined.

I was given this book for free in exchange for a fair review. Some people might wonder what "fair" equals. Usually for me, the "free" means it will get at least 3 stars. This one would have been a strong 5 stars even if I'd paid full price for it. Which I am going to do, as gifts - I can think of at least 3 friends/family members who will love reading it. Its one of my favorite books of this year, and definitely one I'll be re-reading.

1 person found this helpful

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Heartwarming!

The Christmas Letter by Steven H Berman is a heartwarming listen. I loved the yearly Christmas letters. They are reminiscent of the letters that my mom wrote. I found them to be so endearing, and heartfelt. The author did a fantastic job sounding so realistic. Pam Dougherty performed this book brilliantly! She added such authentic emotions and made this listen so incredible. I loved how the family interaction and friendship was written in this book, and multiple generations that are included. There is heartbreak along with hope, fun details, and incredible imagery. II requested this review copy audiobook and have voluntarily written this review. I will definitely listen to more books by this author and narrator.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I listen to the story in 3 days...

I was so sucked into each individual letter. And I just kept listening for one more letter and one more letter. There was so much heart in this family. The combination of the author and the reader made for a perfect Christmas Story.

1 person found this helpful

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wow.

This was a truly amazing story. Very emotional. I will be listening again I'm sure.

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I loved it!

I loved it! I’ve never read or listened to a story like this before. I want to say there had been a “journal entry” type of short story that I read years ago, but I don’t remember any specifics. When I started, I wasn’t sure what to think. I hadn’t read the blurb prior to asking for a code so I had no idea what the story was about but figured it related to Christmas in some way, hence the title. I think this was a perfect story for people that like to people watch. Like when you see a certain person and wish you could learn more about them for whatever reason. The letters of this story provide a similar experience; like when a character writes in their diary. You get to hear the personal thoughts and feelings of a character while also experiencing what they experienced prior to writing. I guess it’s just like a regular story when the writer provides inner thoughts for a character… I don’t know. There was something different about this story to me when compared to basically everything I’ve read or listened to up to this point.

Would it be sexist to say I was surprised a man had written this? Well, I was. Maybe because it stars a female not too long into her marriage before she starts popping babies out and becomes a baker. But I’d definitely read or listen to more by this author. Either way, this was a beautiful and emotional story! I liked that the story was based on facts so that the reader or listener could essentially learn little tidbits about events that took place long ago, for me many before my birth. I love history so that was an interesting aspect of the story.

The narrator did a great job. I think she had the perfect voice for a story like this. It fit in well for the main character as she goes through the years writing to her friend.

I received a free audiobook of this story in exchange for an honest review.

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The Christmas Letter

A beautiful, heartwarming tale that is told through yearly Christmas letters. Each year at Christmastime, Mary writes a letter to her lifelong friend catching her up on everything that has happened with her and her family over the year.

Steven H Berman incorporates historical events throughout. Seeing how these events impact Mary and her family make the story feel very real. I truly felt like I knew each and every one of the characters.

This story is brought to life through the talents of Pam Dougherty. I was drawn in as each letter was read... feeling the emotions as the events unfolded.

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and I have voluntarily left this review.

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great start to my christmas reading!

** I am reviewing the audio copy of this book**

This book was really, really good.

I enjoyed this book immensely.
I wasn’t sure if i would enjoy a book that was just a series of letters. I thought it might get a bit boring, but i thought i would give it a go.
I am so glad I did.
I was pretty much hooked from the beginning.
The way the letters were written wove the story perfectly.
I love the way we were taken through history through mary’s eyes. Or should i say letters?
I also thought the way Mary incorporated some of Midges responses in her letters was clever.
I smiled when Mary said things like, “Oh I don’t know if these televisions will take off.”
and how she couldn’t imagine how someone could get on the moon.
If someone from that era could only see what technology does now.

The way the cookies ran throughout the story was very good. I don’t think i’ll ever forget the cookie recipe.
I also smiled when she employed blind people to help her with the icing.
Shadow and Sunshine reminded me of my guide dogs I wanted to cry right along with Mary and Junior. .

The book was hard to put down, and i wanted so much for the mystery surrounding Junior to be solved.
I kept telling myself, just one more year!
Lost quite a bit of sleep!

The Narration was excellent.
The narrator kept the narrative flowing. When Mary was happy, the narrator sounded happy. When Mary was tired or sad, the narrator sounded like wise.
This book made me both laugh and cry. Inbetween, i was at the edge of my seat, wondering what was going to happen next.
This was a great start to my christmas reading. Full of trials and hard times, but also a healthy dose of hope, faith and love.

I was given a free review copy of this audio book and have voluntarily left this review.

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Fabulous Christmas Story

This book consists of letters to a friend across the country written at Christmastime spanning nearly 40 years. Once I started listening, I found it hard to stop - staying up later than I should have, saying, "one more letter then I'll shut it off!" The story of Mary's family from WWII to the 80s was fascinating. I will listen to this again next Christmas. I have recommended it to my daughter. The book was very nicely read by the narrator. I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.

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The Christmas Letter

This was a very unique book, I loved the main character Mary the story was very well written and narration was great. I was voluntarily provided this free copy by the author, narrator or publisher. Thank you

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  • Dawn Fuhrman
  • 02-11-20

a monologue that creates an entire story

Through Mary's letters to her best friend, her whole life is revealed. This was such a unique way to tell a story. Each letter told us of Mary's hopes, dreams, regrets and sufferings and loss. Mary is open with her friend about everything in her life. From the troubles with her oldest child, who is not quite right, to the youngest, Mary and Jack's children grow up through these letters. Mary's struggles as she tries to obey her husband and do the best for her children are all written down. Through Mary's words, I cried and felt my heart break along with her. Her accounts of the events that happened during her era brought out how it was to live during those times. Be prepared to feel all the emotions as you follow Mary's life. I loved this story and could not stop listening to it. I hope there will be more "letter" stories because I really enjoyed this format.

Pam Dougherty narrated Mary exactly as I would have imagined her speaking. Ms. Dougherty was able to narrate Mary as a young lady through her older years amazingly. Ms. Dougherty truly seemed to age along with Mary. It truly felt as if Mary was reading the letters directly to me. I loved everything about this narration. I hope to hear more from Ms. Dougherty.