Admittedly, I, like so many others before me, seem to associate Cecelia Ahern with lovely, girly books, especially with the gorgeous covers her books always have. This is far from the case. Her books are incredibly touching, the writing is clever and this book in particular is a fabulous example of how her books can be moralistic with a magical touch.
The Gift centres on the story of Lou Suffern, as told through the eyes of someone else. Lou is your stereotypical over-working business man; he constantly needs to be in two places at once, strives to always be bigger and better, and relieves himself with his womanising ways. As a result, his family take a backseat and suffer, all the while standing by him waiting for things to change. And things may just change once Lou meets Gabe, the mysterious homeless man who sits outside his office building…
“One thing of great importance can affect a small number of people. Equally so, a thing of little importance can affect a multitude. Either way, a happening big or small can affect an entire string of people.”
Ahern is a wonderfully gifted writer with a writing style that is easy and enjoyable to follow through her magical tales. I found myself submerged in her story telling straight from the opening chapter. During the beginning of the book, she describes the warmth and calmness of Christmas with beautiful imagery, and manages to get you to feel that warmth inside as you read along. Although this book is set at Christmas time, it’s not exactly Christmas themed, though that didn’t stop me feeling the Christmas spirit as I read the first three paragraphs.
The interesting thing about this book is that the protagonist is not necessarily likeable and can be difficult to empathize with, yet we, as a reader, find ourselves willing him to succeed in improving himself. Personally, I continued to dislike Lou throughout the full book, and yet I found myself completely invested in him, and found I was rooting for him for his family’s sake rather than his.
“A lesson finds the common denominator and links us all together, like a chain. At the end of that chain dangles a clock, and on the face of the clock registers the passing of time. We see it and we hear it, the hushed tick-tock, but often we don’t feel it. Each second makes its mark on every single person’s life comes and then goes, quietly disappearing without fanfare, evaporating into air like steam from a piping hot Christmas pudding. Enough time leaves us warm; when our time is gone, it leaves us cold.”
This is a magical tale, a wonderful Christmas read, and although far-fetched, it definitely gets the intended message across – there is nothing more valuable than time. Time can’t be borrowed and returned, you can’t buy it back. Once your time is spent, there’s no grabbing it back, and for that reason, we need to value it more than anything. The issues addressed in the book are real life issues, and all of the characters were so realistic and believable. It was enough to bring a tear to my eye in closing chapter. I’m just a big softie!
So if you’re looking for a touching Christmas read when the time comes along this year, I highly recommend this book, and if you’ve already read it, I’d love to know what you thought of the ending? 🙂
“Time can’t be given. But it can be shared.”