Michael Buzzelli's Romantic Comedy Novel Set at Christmas

Remember the  holiday song titled "All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth?" While the tune dates back to 1944, it didn't become a hit until Spike Jones recorded it late in 1947. From there, it made the top of the pop charts in '48 and '49 and has since been recorded by a slew of performers - everyone from the Andrew Sisters and George Strait to The Chipmunks.

Riffing on the song's title, Pittsburgh area author, comedian and arts writer, Michael Buzzelli wrote a short novel that was astutely released just before the Christmas season. Titled "All I want for Christmas," the humorous tale centers on  Kate Nolan, a comedy writer from Los Angeles who flew home to a small Connecticut town to spend the Christmas holidays with her family. Thus began a series of misadventures that take place over the course of several days.

One of the unfortunate incidents that inspired the book's title is a chance meeting with Tony Rossi, a handsome, young Navy Seal back home after finishing his third tour of duty in the Middle East. Their encounter is more of an accident than a get-to-know you. For reasons Buzzelli outlines in his narrative, Rossi is wearing a Santa suit when he bumps into Nolan on the street sending her to the ground and knocking out an incisor.

That's only the beginning of the young comedy writer's woes. After losing her luggage on the flight from L.A, she also loses her job, gets hit on a little too aggressively by her over zealous dentist and discovers she'ill be spending Christmas alone because her mother and brother went on a cruise for the holidays.

Rossi is the novel's other major character, and he too has his share of ill fortune. The scene where he gets in a tussle with a drunken Santa that's recorded and subsequently goes viral on the Internet and television is hilarious. Because of allegations of assault, he's also pulled out of a swank Christmas ball by the police.

The book is divided into a series of small chapters that hopscotch between alternating narratives about Nolan and Rossi. Sandwiched in between are some delightful minor characters that start with Kate's ditsy mother, her playboy cousin, her witty, iconoclastic boss, Tony's antagonistic sister and his two delightful nieces. There's even a playful, antic dog, a Scottish terrier who goes ballistic with the mention of the word ball..(He loves to play fetch).

As a comedian, Buzzelli has performed all around the country, most notably, the Ice House,in Pittsburgh and the Comedy Store and the Improv in Los Angeles. His experience find its way into his story line adding poignant comic touches that rub elbows with the dramatic elements that propel the story forward.

With writing experience in a number websites, magazines and newspapers, his style is to create dense detailed descriptions that create vivid impressions. And judging by the many pop culture reference peppered throughout the book, he's also quite in tune to film,, television history, food, the Internet  and other cultural flotsam and jetsam. In one chapter of the book, for instance, he mentions several episodes of "Twilight Zone" by name, a bit of esoterica that demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge of early television programming

Buzzelli is also a master of keeping the momentum going. The book moves at a quick pace, and it's hard to put it down. While a short 152 pages, I found myself binge reading just to satisfy the appetite for discovering what comes next.

In his narrative, Buzzelli puts enough obstacles in the way of the protagonists to spike the reader's interest, then cleverly finds way for them to overcome them. As might be expected from a comic, romantic novel set during Christmas, the book ends on a happy note, one that's ripe with humor and good holiday-style cheer.

As an addendum to the book, the author provides a bit of Christmas whimsy by including recipes for Tea Time Tassies and Pizzelles, two holiday confections that just might symbolize the mix of delicious ingredients that went into the making of his own book.

"All I Want for Christmas," published by Boroughs Publishing Group, is Michael Buzzelli's second novel. It's available at amazon.com for $7.75 and makes a practical gift and stocking stuffer.

As an addendum of my own, I've included a Youtube link to Melissa Lynn singing the song in question (Click here) and Spike Jones' original 1947 recording of the song. Click Here.

And here's another one by Alvin and The Chipmunks. Click here.