A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, and The Thanksgiving Visitor

by Truman Capote

Hardcover, 1996



A holiday classic from "one of the greatest writers and most fascinating society figures in American history" (Vanity Fair)! First published in 1956, this much sought-after autobiographical recollection from Truman Capote (In Cold BloodBreakfast at Tiffany's) about his rural Alabama boyhood is a perfect gift for Capote's fans young and old. Seven-year-old Buddy inaugurates the Christmas season by crying out to his cousin, Miss Sook Falk: "It's fruitcake weather!" Thus begins an unforgettable portrait of an odd but enduring friendship and the memories the two friends share of beloved holiday rituals.   A Christmas Memory has been described as "[a] gem of a holiday story" (School Library Journal, starred review), and this warm and delicately illustrated edition is one you'll want to add to any Christmas or Capote collection.… (more)

Library's rating


(118 ratings; 4.3)

User reviews

LibraryThing member tapestry100
This was my first taste of Truman Capote away from Breakfast at Tiffany's, and I have to admit that I was blown away by these stories. Rarely does a story pull at my heart strings anymore, but these stories practically left me in tears. Incredibly moving.
LibraryThing member jennyo
I'll just admit up front that Truman Capote has been one of my favorite authors since I was a teenager, so no unbiased reviews from me on his books. This slim little volume of holiday-themed short stories was the perfect treat for this time of year. All three stories are autobiographical and take place during the years that Capote lived in Alabama with his cousins. His cousin Sook is one of my favorite characters ever (she must have been a joy to know). This is the description of her from A Christmas Memory:

In addition to never having seen a movie, she has never: eaten in a restaurant, traveled more than five miles from home, received or sent a telegram, read anything except funny papers and the Bible, worn cosmetics, cursed, wished someone harm, told a lie on purpose, let a hungry dog go hungry. Here are a few things she has done, does do: killed with a hoe the biggest rattlesnake ever seen in this county (sixteen rattles), dip snuff (secretly), tame hummingbirds (just try it) till they balance on her finger, tell ghost stories (we both believe in ghosts) so tingling they chill you in July, talk to herself, take walks in the rain, grow the prettiest japonicas in town, know the recipe for every sort of old-time Indian cure, including a magical wart-remover.

Is it any wonder he loved her?
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LibraryThing member tracyfox
A wonderful collection of three classic stories which glow with Truman Capote's obvious love and fondness for his cousin Sook. A Christmas Memory will make even the most ardent fruitcake hater long for a taste. One Christmas rekindles the memory of every child's quandary wondering whether or not Santa Claus is real. The Thanksgiving Visitor couples an unwelcome guest with a life lesson in how to bestow dignity. Worth revisiting every Thanksgiving and Christmas.… (more)
LibraryThing member PJCWLibrary
I have read each story several times, most often around Christmas
LibraryThing member jwhenderson
Nostalgia and sentimentality are woven together beautifully in this brief memoir by Truman Capote. Written in the mid-fifties before the peak of his acclaim and subsequent dissolution, this is a touching story of friendship and the memories of youth. In a simpler time and place the young Capote shares the essence of Christmas with his elder cousin. A moving memoir for those willing to believe.… (more)
LibraryThing member pinkcrayon99
A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor is full of southern charm and nostalgia. Capote settles a seven year-old Buddy and his elderly cousin and best friend, Miss Sook, in rural Alabama. Buddy and Miss Sook's innocence and love for each other warms your heart.

Miss Sook lives life simply. She has never ventured five miles from her home. She is "sixty something" but her and Buddy speak the same language. Buddy understands when she refers to chrysanthemums as lions. Her genuine heart also helps Buddy to see his arch enemy and town bully, Odd Henderson, in a better light. A short separation from Miss Sook to visit his father in New Orleans causes Buddy great anguish. Miss Sook, Buddy, and their rat terrier, Queenie, were a delightful trio.

Fruitcake weather, simple yet thoughtful Christmas gifts, and Thanksgiving traditions are all spoken of with such imagery in A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor. A Christmas Memory, One Christmas, & The Thanksgiving Visitor are three short holiday stories that can be read for a "pick-me-up" any time of the year. This was not the Breakfast At Tiffany's or In Cold Blood Truman Capote but a Truman that is remembering his southern roots.
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LibraryThing member CarmenMilligan
Not great, not terrible, not long.
LibraryThing member bibleblaster
Wonderful collection of Capote's remembrances (I'm assuming much of it was autobiographical, or certainly in the memoir mode) of growing up with his elderly cousin and an assortment of aunts and uncles and distant parents ("One Christmas" beautifully recounts a reluctant visit with his father in New Orleans). Capote's personality may have eclipsed his writing during his life, but these stories remind me of his gifts: simple, clear, evocative...Perfect reading for those quiet times (may you have some!) during the holiday season.… (more)
LibraryThing member m.belljackson
Five Stars for the first Story!

A Christmas Memory offers a gentle, honest, and beautifully expressed friendship that contrasts so wildly with Truman Capote's famous horror novel that readers may wonder how it is the same author.

Six year old Capote, his highly sensitive "spinster" cousin Sook, and their rat terrier, Queenie, open for us a tender world unto themselves, one which gives Christmas new meaning every year.

One Christmas and The Thanksgiving Visitor, both Four Stars, expand the young man's experiences in many unwanted directions. Sad and memorable.
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LibraryThing member Whisper1
A very dysfunctional childhood led to a very dysfunctional adulthood for Truman Streckfus Persons, born in New Orleans, LA to a very young selfish mother and a father who was in and out of his life. With neither making a commitment to raising him, he was shuttled to to care of his mother's family in Monroeville, Alabama. I

These three stories are incredibly well-written. Harkening back to childhood memories with Aunts, Capote is able to write of love, of friendship and of simple living with his favorite Aunt Sook. One can only imagine how different his life would have been had he remained with this family.

Each story is written crystal clear with incredible character development. His images jumpt off the page and into the readers heart. In particular, The Thanksgiving Visitor tells of his Aunt forcing Truman to invite the class bully to dinner. Odd Henderson's family was incredibly poor. With a near do well father and a mother who tried the best she could, Odd took frustrations out on classmates. However, when he came for Thanksgiving, he was well behaved and respected. Jealous, Truman embarrassed Odd at the Thanksgiving table when all were present. It was Sook who taught Truman the lesson of the error of his ways. It's a shame this lesson did not stay with him in adulthood, as one by one Truman gossiped and betrayed secrets of Hollywood friends.
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LibraryThing member MathMaverick
An excellent collection of holiday short stories. All three stories are excellent. A great read around the Christmas holidays. Can easily read all three in a sitting! I read them every year.


The Modern Library (1996), Edition: Reissue, 107

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0679602372 / 9780679602378

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