Addie broke up with her boyfriend, Jeb, a week before Christmas. Unhappy with his lack of demonstrable romance and affection and following an argument over it, she got drunk and kissed another guy. Wracked with guilt, she broke things off with Jeb, but she's been miserable ever since. Hoping to get him back, she sent him an email, asking him to meet her on Christmas Eve at Starbucks, the site of their very first date, but he doesn't show, leaving her even more bummed out. Her friends try to cheer her up, but eventually they get around to a little truth-telling, when they call her out on being too self-absorbed. This doesn't go over well with Addie, but when other acquaintances start telling her the same thing, she begins to wonder if it's really true. During a mission to retrieve a teacup pig for her friend, Tegan, and an encounter with a local elderly woman who seems to think she's an angel, Addie finally realizes her friends were, indeed, right and decides to change her attitude.
"The Patron Saint of Pigs" is the final story in this interconnected series of novellas. It's about Addie, who was briefly mentioned in "The Jubliee Express" as being a friend of Stuart and a Starbucks barista. Her boyfriend - or perhaps I should say temporarily ex-boyfriend - is Jeb who was seen in both of the previous novellas as a supporting character. Addie and Jeb broke up a week before Christmas. After an argument that was mostly about Addie wanting more demonstrations of romance and affection from Jeb, she got drunk at a party and kissed another guy. Ultimately she realized it was a stupid move and she didn't even like the other guy, but she felt so bad about it, she broke things off with Jeb. After being miserable for the entire week, she emailed him to ask him to meet her at Starbucks on Christmas Eve, hoping to relive their first date that happened one year earlier, but he doesn't show. Her friends, Dorrie and Tegan, try to cheer her up, but end up being straight-up honest with her, telling her how self-centered she's been. This doesn't go over well with Addie, but when the sentiment is repeated several times on the day after Christmas by other people she knows, she starts to wonder if it really is true. Then a mission to deliver a teacup pig to Tegan that gets derailed by a local elderly woman who's a would-be angel finally gives Addie the kick in the pants she needs to make a change.
"The Patron Saint of Pigs" was my least-favorite story in the Let It Snow anthology for several different reasons. First, I'm OK with most angst in YA stories. Having had teenagers of my own, I know that it's pretty much par for the course, but Addie takes it to a whole new level and I couldn't help feeling that she was responsible for most of her own misery. She was the one who was unhappy in her relationship with Jeb, she made the choice to kiss the other guy, and she further made the choice to break up with Jeb, even though he seemed ready to forgive (though I'm not entirely sure why). Her friends had the right of it when they told her she was self-absorbed. She definitely is, as well as lacking in depth as a character, which made it difficult to truly like her, and it's literally all Addie, all the time, since she's the first-person narrator of the story, while Jeb is barely seen. I also felt that her eleventh hour turnaround was a little too magical and convenient, and not something that I was left convinced would last. Another reason this novella wasn't a favorite is because IMHO, it's the least romantic of the three stories even though the cover bills this anthology as "three holiday romances." Addie and Jeb are broken up for the entire story (like I said, it's all about Addie), which was incredibly disappointing as Jeb was a character who intrigued me from his first appearance. I can only call this a romance in the most rudimentary sense, because it does have a relationship as part of the story and it does have an HEA, but all that was definitely overshadowed by Addie's issues. Lastly, while I'm normally a sucker for animal characters, as an animal lover, I was rather bothered by the inclusion of a so-called "teacup" pig. It seemed like the author was just going for the extreme cuteness factor, while not really doing any real research on this type of pig. "Teacup" pigs may be small and cute for a while, but they can grow very large just like all pigs. Not to mention, many breeders use questionable methods, including starvation, to keep these animals at their "cute" size, which to my way of thinking is nothing short of animal abuse. So in this case, I wasn't really impressed with the pet subplot.
As for what I did like, I enjoyed visiting with the couples from the first two novellas who appear to be getting on quite well. I still like Jeb, even though he wasn't a major part of what I felt should have equally been his story and I'm not quite sure what he sees in Addie. This was an easy read that didn't feel bogged down by pacing or other issues, although if it had been longer, I might have had a different take on that, given how angsty and crisis-prone Addie is. There were a couple of mildly amusing parts, but despite having a few small upsides, this was just an OK read for me in the end, not a slog, but not something that really impressed me either. After a couple of so-so reads by Lauren Myracle this year, I'm beginning to think that her storytelling may not be for me.
The Hope Chest Reviews on Facebook