This summary of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote summarizes my favorite short story to re-read every season (with quotes!). And because this is a book pairings blog “where books meet lifestyle,” I have also provided some recommended book pairings for more related fun.
Summary of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote (with Quotes)
A Christmas Memory, as well as the short stories that follow it in this book (which flesh out the young male main character), are quintessential American holiday literature at their finest.
A Christmas Memory is an absolute gem of a short story. And Capote is at his very best when depicting complex characters in simple sentences:
“Oh my,” she exclaims, her breath smoking the windowpane, “it’s fruitcake weather!”
This sentiment has become one of my favorite holiday greetings. Thus begins this short but exquisitely beautiful tale about a young boy in rural Alabama, as he looks back with nostalgia about his elderly, but childlike, friend whose face is “not unlike Lincoln’s.” (I just love that description as well — I’m telling you, Capote is such a treasure.)
The boy and elderly woman save their pennies throughout the whole year in order to make 30 fruitcakes, just as soon as “fruitcake weather” arrives. They then share the fruitcakes with only the most deserving of persons, including the President of the United States, only to wonder if he serves it upon receipt thereof.
Together, the boy and elderly woman share even more holiday cheer, and the woman comes to this realization:
“I’ll wager at the very end a body realizes the Lord has already shown Himself. That things as they are’ – her hand circles in a gesture that gathers clouds and kites and grass and Queenie pawing earth over her bone – ‘just what they’ve always seen, was seeing Him. As for me, I could leave the world with today in my eyes.”
A Christmas Memory is a breathtaking one-hour read that I intend to read each year, and hope you do too. Let’s make this our simple tradition, shall we?!
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Pairings for A Christmas Memory
Fore more like A Christmas Memory:
- Make or eat fruitcake or your favorite holiday bread while reading.
- Watch one of my favorite holiday ASMR rooms on YouTube while reading this story.
- Journal about your own Christmas or holiday memories.
- Watch your favorite Christmas or holiday movie. I recommend my favorites: Home Alone and A Charlie Brown Christmas!
- Listen to your favorite holiday playlists.
- Check out my other favorite Christmas / holiday books.
I sincerely hope this summary of A Christmas Memory by Truman Capote inspires you to pick up this nostalgic short story and read it with my suggested holiday pairings each holiday season.
And if you liked the book pairings in this post, sign up to receive The Literary Lifestyle emails for free. Each week, I’ll send you a warm & fuzzy email with book pairings. If a good book always leaves you wanting more after the last page, this is the place for you. It’s like Reading Rainbow for women!