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The Twelve Terrors of Christmas

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I learned of a book I’d never heard of before this holiday season: The Twelve Terrors of Christmas by John Updike. It caught my eye because it’s illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Edward Gorey.

I haven’t read it yet, but some of the reviews make me want to. (I posted a few below.) Sounds delicious and right up my alley!

If you’ve read it I’d love to know your take on it.


By Hilarious Humbug

Bah to those who found this book slight and unfunny. This is the anti-Christmas cold pricklies for those who don’t enjoy the warm fuzzies of the season (and even for those who do). This is a sarcastic, cynical look at some Christmas traditions, and I found it funny and even a little insightful. I thought the illustrations were gloomy and in keeping with the tone of the book. Ebenezer Scrooge would have kept this book on his coffee table, but he was probably too cheap to buy it. A nice gift for someone who prefers hemlock to holly and avoids mistletoe.

By Deck the Halls – Bluntly

The Twelve Terrors is as demented as I’d hoped for. John Updike’s prose gives Christmas the kick in the teeth it secretly wants, and Edward Gorey’s illustrations are just the right wrapping paper for the beating.

I’m only disappointed that Updike isn’t as good a vehicle for Gorey’s illustrations as Gorey himself. I was hoping for another dose Gashlycrumb Tinies (Gorey at his best) but I set my hopes too high with this collaboration.

Twelve Terrors is a bedtime story that steers kids away from piggish consumerism, carries them through angry cynicism, and finally ushers them into thoughtful enlightenment.

By Delicious like terrified plum pudding

A lovely volume of pure Gorey-esque mystique. If you are familiar with Mr. Gorey’s fashion of examining the world, you will not be disappointed. If you have not tasted the decadent simplicity of evil delight that feeds the macabre monster, this, my friend, is your Christmas goose.

Courtney Mroch
Courtney Mroch, otherwise known as HJ's Ambassador of Dark and Paranormal Tourism, is an author, traveler, and ghost enthusiast. When she's not writing, jaunting, or planning her next trip, it's a safe bet you'll find her in one of three places: on a tennis court somewhere, on a yoga mat somewhere, or watching a horror movie somewhere. She currently resides in Nashville, Tennessee.

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6 thoughts on “The Twelve Terrors of Christmas

  1. LOL, TJ! Jessica would love a zombie Santa Clause!

    And Jessica, you’re welcome! Tho I cracked up when I then saw your Edward Gorey post. Yet ANOTHER thing we share in common! I knew I liked you for a reason!!!!!!!!!! 😉


  3. LOL! That’s hysterical and very clever Zombie Santa Claws! I hope I have been good this year too! I don’t want no coal!

    TJ, I heard the same thing from my friend who lives there! Then I got all excited because St. Louis isn’t too far from Nashville so maybe there’s a chance we might get it too. Watched the news last night and they said there IS a chance we might have a White Christmas too!!!!!!!! I grew up in CO so it was the rare Christmas that wasn’t white. Been a long time tho since I had one. Excited!

    Hope whether you have a white one or not it is simply FABULOUS! THANKS for reading my blog!

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