Review of The Christmas Train by David Baldacci
Overview from www.barnesandnoble.com: Disillusioned journalist Tom Langdon must get from Washington D.C. to L.A in time for Christmas. Forced to travel by train, he begins a journey of rude awakenings, thrilling adventures and holiday magic. He has no idea that the locomotives pulling him across America will actually take him into the rugged terrain of his own heart, as he rediscovers people's essential goodness and someone very special he believed he had lost. The Christmas Train is filled with memorable characters who have packed their bags with as much wisdom as mischief...and shows how we doget second chances to fulfill our deepest hopes and dreams, especially during this season of miracles.
Tom Langdon, a weary and cash-strapped journalist, is banned from flying when a particularly thorough airport security search causes him to lose his cool. Now, he must take the train if he has any chance of arriving in Los Angeles in time for Christmas with his girlfriend. To finance the trip, he sells a story about a train ride taken during the Christmas season.
Having just moved, I am attempting to get acquainted with people in this new town. I thought I might join a club and since I found a book club in the area I decided to try it, but first I have to read the book. The book assigned is, of course, the one I am reviewing today.
I doubt that there is much to add to the summary provided by the publisher but I will try my best to give it my own spin. Our main character is one Tom Langdon who is looking for a chance to turn his life back into the right direction after splitting up with the love of his life, Eleanor, years ago. He is also attempting to fulfill one of his father’s last wishes by finishing Mark Twain’s alleged goal of taking a train trip across the country and writing a story about it.
Little does he know that Eleanor is on the same train and when they bump into each other on the train, he seems to have gotten his second chance. There is one small problem however. Eleanor aka Ellie wants nothing to do with him in spite of being cajoled into working with him by her boss, the famous movie director Max somebody. (Sorry but I have already forgotten the last name.) The question than is can they survive the journey or will they end the journey with more regrets than they started off with.
My overall impression of this story was positive, despite the fact that it is basically a feel-good drama. It has a nice tone. The story itself is touching and the way that Baldacci creates this Christmas themed story works well. It doesn’t feel too hammy like many other Christmas dramas do.
The characters were likeable and funny, even some of the bad ones, and there is a lot of detail about Amtrak and the trains they use as well as what some of the routes are.
It is a great story to tackle for the holidays and when I say tackle I mean it in the lightest possible way. Sure it is deeper than the breezy summer read but not overwhelming like a lot of other holiday stories are.
I recommend it as a great way to pass the time while you’re waiting in line at the local department store to buy massive quantities of gifts that you really don’t need anyway. It will help keep things in perspective.
Contains: some language