InTinsel,Hank Stuever turns his unerring eye for the idiosyncrasies of modern life to Frisco, Texas—a suburb at once all-American and completely itself—to tell the story of the nation’s most over-the-top celebration: Christmas.
Stuever’s tale begins on the blissful easy-credit dawn of Black Friday, as he jostles for bargains among the crowds at the big-box stores. From there he follows Frisco’s true believers as they navigate through three years of holiday drama. Tammie Parnell is the proprietor of “Two Elves with a Twist,” a company that decks the halls of other people’s McMansions. Jeff and Bridgette Trykoski spend eleven months preparing the visible-from-space, awe-inspiring light display they stage on their lawn each December. And single mother Caroll Cavazos, a devout churchgoer, hopes that the life-affirming moments of the season can transcend her everyday struggles.Tinselis a humane, revealing, and very funny portrait of one community’s quest to discover a more perfect holiday amidst the frenzied, mega-churchy, shoparific world of Christmas.
Stuever's narrative account of a Texas town's journey through the Christmas season humorously reveals American lives and values.
Cultural anthropology at its most exuberant. –The New Yorker
Laugh-out-loud funny. … Stuever’s keen eye misses very little. – USA Today
A delicately calibrated combination of rigorous reporting, observational humor, and old-fashioned empathy,Tinsel
is the book that saved Christmas for this curmudgeon. – Laura Miller,Salon
A study of Christmas excess as an exercise in American anthropology. … [Stuever] manages to find the heart in his characters’ obsessive consumerism [and] the somewhat jolly realization that no matter how prepackaged andló-