Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays Review
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When I was a kid, I loved reading Choose Your Own Adventure books. I enjoyed setting out on a thrilling literary adventureóand writing my own story along the way. Now, for grown-up fans of Choose Your Own Adventure books, authors Mike MacDonald and Jilly Gagnon offer an outrageous take on the original in Choose Your Own Misery: The Holidays.

The story begins just before Christmas, as youíre about to set out on a relaxing holiday vacation. No family, no pressures, no crazy crowds at the mallójust a relaxing island getaway. But after you battle the holiday crowds at the airport, you find out that your perfect island escape has just been hit by a hurricane, officially blowing your vacation plans off-course. So as you stand in the airport, in the middle of the swarms of travelers, you have to decide where your holiday adventure will take you next.

A Choose Your Own Adventure book about the holidays would probably find readers spoiled by Grandma, opening up piles of presents, and maybe even riding off with Santa on his sleigh. But this offers a grown-up take on the holidaysówhich means that itís loaded with difficult decisions and awkward situations. Your choices could lead you to an uncomfortable (and maybe even physically painful) holiday with your girlfriend and her family or a disastrous impromptu getaway or, if you break down and decide to spend the holidays with your family after all, a chilly reception from your sister.

Admittedly, this isnít a wacky humor book filled with outrageously hilarious adventures. Instead, itís filled with one disaster after another. But, as you might expect from a couple of authors who used to write for satirical news outlet The Onion, itís often funny because itís all too true.

Strangely, though, this holiday adventure doesnít really delve into the typical holiday nightmares of the young and unmarried: the gatherings with extended family, the trouble-making masses of young second-cousins, the endless questions about your relationship, family, and career status. In that way, it doesnít always feel holiday-specific. Itís more like an amusingly horrible journey through the personal life of a single young man.

This Choose Your Own Misery book will definitely bring back memories of carefree childhood reads. And while it may not be a wildly funny romp filled with ridiculous holiday-heavy adventures, it will make for an entertaining escape from your own holiday mishaps and misfortunes.

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