Title: The Gift
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Release Date: November 3, 2009
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Rating: 4 out of 5
Lou Suttern is an extremely busy man, and he just doesn’t understand why his family (especially his wife) doesn’t get that. He works incredibly hard every day, getting to work before anyone else, because he wants to show he’s valuable. So what if he misses family get-togethers and his children barely know him? He defines success through his job, and he’s certainly doing well there.
One day, on his way to work, Lou meets Gabe, the incredibly perceptive homeless man who sits across the street from the office. Feeling generous, Lou offers Gabe a job. But what Lou doesn’t realize is that this small action will change his entire world and how he perceives what is in it.
The Gift was a very interesting and unique holiday book that was well-written and easy to read. Though it has a very clear message, Ahern is never too forceful with it. She lets the moral of the story speak for itself, rather than hitting the reader over the head with it. A book like this could easily become incredibly cheesy or heavy handed, but it never does. Instead, Ahern has written a heartwarming story that isn’t overly sentimental.
Lou is an interesting character and Ahern writes him very convincingly. Though it’s clear he is a workaholic, his rationalizations are really easy to believe at the beginning. Sometimes it’s difficult to imagine how someone justifies working all the time, abandoning their spouses and missing their children growing up. Ahern makes it crystal clear, as the reader is almost sucked into Lou’s fantasy of the necessity to work all the time, with no room for family.
Ahern presents the main story in The Gift as told by a police officer to a young child on Christmas. It’s difficult to tell why she made this choice – the book would have been more appealing if it had just been the story of Lou and Gabe. There seems to be no reason for the other story, except to reinforce the message of family which is really unnecessary by the end of Lou’s tale.
The Gift was a fun and heartwarming book that would probably make a great Christmas present for dads that are a little too devoted to their jobs. It’s a sweet story that will make the reader think about their life – perfect for this time of year!