Title : The Gift
Author : Cecelia Ahern
Genre : Contemporary, Christmas.
Pages (My edition) : 305
Where Cecelia Ahern is concerned, be assured of some kind of magic coming your way. She captivates you with her writing. Although not being able to connect with the characters of this book immediately, I found myself hooked as I moved further along. Though it’s not a classic Christmas novel, but it still celebrates the spirit of holiday season, the importance of family and their never-ending support in your life.
The book opens with Raphie, a steadily aging police officer, who is forced to spend his Christmas morning with this fourteen-year-old brat who decided to throw the turkey through his father and stepmother’s house, because of passionate hatred for them. Raphie, considering this boy as a lost cause, decided to tell this boy a story, a story of time, and family. His story starts with a Lou Suffern, a workaholic, a hot-shot businessman, busy doing everything to pay attention to anything. He is married to a lovely woman Ruth, and is the father to two kids, who he doesn’t know very well, since he is always at work. He spends every day bending the truth to avoid conflict and juggling all of his tasks, trying to be in two places at once, but not quite succeeding in it.
He pays as less attention to his family as possible, taking them for granted, and even if he does spend time with them, he is always distracted.
Gabe is a homeless man, who sits outside Lou’s office every day. One day, out of charity, Lou buys Gabe a coffee, and decides to give him a job in his office mailroom. Little did he know, that his casual act of kindness would rebound on him with such impact.
Post that day, everything for Lou, changes. Gabe’s presence around Lou soon begins to unnerve him instead of making him feel Happy. Gabe has a strange ability to be in two places at once (Which Lou has always wanted) and in more control of his life than Lou has ever been. Also he knows more about Lou’s life and his family, than Lou himself! The world around Lou slowly begins to change.
I won’t talk more about the plot now. This might not just be the kind of book you’re dying to read. Personally it’s my least favorite Cecelia Ahern novel, out of the ones which I have read. I don’t understand why the part of Raphie is included, as in the end, the author seems to be directly talking to the readers than conveying the much obvious message through the story. Also, I was hoping myself to be emotional by the end of the story, but I wasn’t, due to the fact that Lou is shown as highly unsympathetic from the very beginning (somewhere in between I had the urge to slap some sense into him), and he has a sudden change of heart almost at the very end. He had been unfair to Ruth throughout the story, and I feel a lot of injustice done to Ruth’s character, infact his whole family. The best part of the story was, when Lou spends one whole day with his family and the great apology to his whole family, at the end.
Overall the story is heartwarming, and keeps the idea of love, friendship and family alive throughout. The story talks about the gift of time and family. And how all your family needs is love, and a little bit of your undivided attention. Of course they are with you till the end, no matter what, but if you start taking them too much for granted, even they can fire you. Cecelia Ahern, as an author, tried to light the whole book with magic, and little bit of fairy-tale.
“Time cannot be packaged and ribboned and left under trees for Christmas morning. Time can’t be given. But it can be shared.”