Book Review : The Gift

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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.

Enter Gabe.

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.”

WHY I READ.

I took to reading long before I started writing. After a very long rant about why I write, here’s to why I read.

Although reading children’ magazines since I was little(encouraged by my mother), I never really felt the force of books around me until I was eleven. I started reading Enid Blyton and was in awe every time I read about the adventures of the children in it (roughly my age back then). I instantly wanted to be a part of those adventures. Since it was not possible in real life, I read more of those. Very soon I switched from Enid Blyton to Harry Potter and there is no stopping me ever since.

I started reading like, how to put it delicately, like a maniac. I read all the time. I read in between my classes at school, in the break time (I had an advantage since I had two breaks per day), sometimes between my meals and I read past my bedtime.

It made me a believer. My best friends and I used to discuss books till we were exhausted. Getting books as birthday presents became pretty much obvious.

Now life is a little more complicated than it was in school, but I read nonetheless. My closest friends are still the ones back from school time, and they understand my obsessive reading disorder very well.

Reading is an experience beyond words and I am having a very difficult time in trying to describe it right now. One has to experience it to understand it’s joys.
I believe reading brings out the best in me. Every single moment I have read, it has been totally worth it. It makes me see some people differently, and then it also helps me to shut out from people I do not want to see at all.

I can enter, exit any world, any time. I can be anything. I can be the characters in the book or a mere spectator to the happenings in it.

Books, they liberate me. I don’t need to follow social norms. I just have to read. All they require are my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes there are numerous conversations that I cannot have with people, but I can definitely have them with books.
There are no pretenses. It’s bare.

Sometimes when I’m reading I try to finish the story the way I want it, giving the characters the closure they do/ don’t deserve.

Whenever I’m feeling low, books always save the day. When I am angry, I read.
I am able to channel all my negative thoughts and transform them into positive ones while reading. It makes me realize that I am not alone. Sometimes it also makes me see that being alone isn’t that bad either. Obviously you have to face all the hardships in your life yourself, but reading always make it easier.

Sometimes while I’m reading, I wish that I pass into some kind of sheer oblivion, where there are just books and no one else, and then never come out.

Lastly, for the utter joy, pleasure and excitement of it, I read.

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