Book Review - The Truth About Elves

By Jennifer Allen

The Truth About Elves
Author: Ekta R. Garg
(Atmosphere Press)

“I'm Curtis. An elf. No, I don't have pointy ears. I'm not three-feet tall, and I don't act like a doofus. I'm right around five-foot-ten and look like your average Joe."

From the get-go, Author Ekta R. Garg makes the reader aware that this won't be your typical Christmas story. The Truth About Elves is a short novella centered around Curtis Sanders; a single bartender in Vegas who typically only has to worry about when he has time to pick up an extra shift at the bar. For the past eight years, however, he's also been spending three months out of each year working part-time for St. Nicholas himself up at the North Pole.

Told almost exclusively through our protagonist's point-of-view, we are taken into his world as one of many elves working for Mr. C. We learn that many thousands of people work at “The Circle" each quarter of the year to get everything ready for 'Night Of' where Mr. C takes all the gifts by Concorde and the reindeer are actually used to transport packages between various departmental warehouses where all the elves work.

As for why all of these people come to The Circle? According to Curtis there are various reasons, but for him it's been a way to cope with past trauma. Perhaps engulfing himself in work would help him forget what had happened. This year, however, marks the 10th anniversary of what eventually caused him to start working as an elf to begin with.

After calling a meeting with the jolly old elf himself, he's sent on a special assignment to Salt Lake City to shorten his quarterly duties and cope with old wounds in solitude. The book then shifts between both the past and present as the story slowly reveals how and why Curtis has been dealing with his personal demons.

The story reads somewhat like a journal, as it's told in first person through Curtis' own experiences. The reader follows along with his thoughts, observations, and emotions as he grapples the realization that despite all efforts, he cannot fully escape his past. Through the events of the story, he begrudgingly accepts that he must move on.

Like all Christmas stories, this novella does provide a satisfyingly happy ending for Curtis, thanks in a roundabout way to Mr. C. The overarching plot is somewhat cliché when it comes to past trauma and being forced to face said trauma. However, it does have its own sense of charm which will keep you reading almost non-stop to learn more.

The Truth About Elves is a relatively light read at a little over 100 pages, so you should be able to learn all about Curtis in one or two sittings at most. It's a charming tale that offers not only a unique view of Santa's Workshop but also how holiday magic can occur for someone who feels that he doesn't even deserve it.

This is Ekta R. Garg's first fiction release. She also works as an editor, writing contest judge, and offers writing workshops on her podcast, Biblio Breakdown.

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Jennifer Allen works at Saathee and is also a Podcaster, Blogger, Photographer, Graphic Artist, Gamer, Martial Arts Practitioner, and all around Pop Culture Geek.