By Tina Jordan
December 24, 2003 at 05:00 AM EST

Christmas, Present

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As Oprah’s first book club pick, Jacquelyn Mitchard’s ”The Deep End of the Ocean” rocketed to the top of the charts. ”Ocean” was a finely crafted novel that deserved its accolades; Christmas, Present — at a slim 132 pages — is nothing but a sappy attempt to cash in on the lucrative holiday-book market. Elliott and Laura are celebrating their 14th wedding anniversary on Dec. 23 when Laura gets a headache that turns out to be much more than a headache: As the ER doctor bluntly informs them, Laura is hemorrhaging in her brain, and she’s going to die that very night — which she does, as the nurses trill ”Silent Night.” What could have been a three-hankie weeper goes down like leaden, lukewarm eggnog.

Christmas, Present

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