Thursday, January 14, 2016

Book Review: The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

Title: The Gift
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication Details: 2009 by Harper Collins
Copy: Paperback bought from Booksale

Extremely successful executive, Lou Suffern is always overstretched, immune to the holiday spirit that delights everyone around him. The classic workaholic who never has a moment to spare, he is always multitasking while shortchanging his devoted wife and their adorable children. And ever since he started competing for a big promotion, he has barely seen his family at all.

One frigid morning in an uncharacteristic burst of generosity, he buys a cup of coffee for Gabe, a homeless man huddled outside his office building. Inspired by his own unexpected act of kindness, Lou decides to prolong his charitable streak and contrives to get Gabe a job in his company's mailroom. But when Gabe begins to meddle in Lou's life, the helping hand appears to be a serious mistake. Gabe seems to know more about Lou than Lou does about himself, and, perhaps more disturbingly, Gabe always seems to be in two places at once.

With Lou's personal and professional fates at important crossroads and Christmas looming, Gabe resorts to some unorthodox methods to show his stubborn patron what truly matters and how precious the gift of time is. But can he help him fix what's broken before it's too late? (Goodreads)


I have read a few of Cecelia Ahern's books. And once again, she did not fail to deliver an inspiring story.

Plot
Stories about time aren't really new but it's always nice to be reminded of its importance once in a while. The Gift revolves around this topic, including priorities, relationships and second chances. And like many other books I've read about such topics, it left me inspired and reminded that life is more than what we do for a living.

What made my reading more interesting was this one element injected to the story that made it quite unique (well, at least for me). There's a "weirdness" factor to it, but in a good way, a Cecelia Ahern signature. I liked how it was woven into the plot, creating a refreshing twist to the typical lesson of time. (For those who have read The Gift, can you understand what I'm talking about? Haha!)

I liked how the events are relevant to the main's (Lou) character development. The story is told in 2 time frames- the present and the past (leading to the present time). Though each time frame focuses on different characters, I liked how they are all connected, and how Lou's story influenced the others.

I was able to predict the ending, but nevertheless, it still touched my heart. I liked the resolution of Lou's story in the end, of how he came to realize the value of time.( Although, a different ending would have been more than okay.) I still have questions especially regarding the secondary characters, but other than that I think the author did a good job in reminding readers the importance of time.

Characters
Lou, the main character, is hardworking, workaholic, always busy and ambitious. He's not really likeable but understandable in a way. What I don't like about him is his "hunger" to be always on top, to be in competition with someone, and his disregard for his family. His character development was a bit too sudden for me. But for a short, stand-alone, I guess that's quite okay.

As for Gabe, he's still a mystery to me. He played a big part in Lou's character development, though there were times that I don't understand and like him.

Among the secondary characters, I especially like Lou's wife- Ruth. Her character was not explored well, but I think she is worth mentioning here. She must love Lou very much for her to stay. I admire her love, patience and loyalty. Despite Lou's reputation, she forgave him and did not give up.

Writing
Written in an omniscient, third person perspective, I was able to put myself into the story, and understand what the author is trying to tell. The flow of the story is smooth; and I liked how the two time frames are connected.

Cecelia Ahern has her way with words that made my reading light and enjoyable. She has a signature style in writing which includes weird, magical things happening in her characters' lives. But in a good way folks. :)
-o-

Overall, The Gift is a good read. An inspiring story about family, priorities and second chances, I recommend reading this book especially if you're quite bombarded with work and you're quickly losing time.



"You said there was a lesson - what was the lesson?"... "Appreciating your loved ones," "Acknowledging all the special people in your life. Concentrating on what's important"

"You can never earn more time. Once an hour goes by, a week, a month, a year, you'll never get them back."

"Time can't be given. But it can be shared."


Cecelia Ahern was born on September 30, 1981 in Dublin, Ireland. She is the daughter of the former Irish Taoiseach Bertie Ahern. On 14th December 2009 it was announced that Cecelia had given birth to her first child with partner David Keoghan, a girl named Robin. She was secretly married on 11 June 2010 in County Kildare, Ireland. Cecelia was a member of the Irish pop group Shimma who finished third in the Irish national for the Eurovision Song Contest in 2000. She attended Griffith College Dublin and obtained a degree in Journalism and Media Communications.

Cecelia Ahern wrote her first novel, PS. I Love You when she was twenty-one. The book was adapted as a motion picture directed by Richard LaGravenese and starring Hilary Swank and Gerard Butler and released in 2007 in the United States.

Her second book, Where Rainbows End (US title: Love, Rosie or Rosie Dunne) won the German CORINE Award in 2005. She contributed with short stories to charity books and is also the co-creator and producer of the ABC comedy Samantha Who?.

Her other works include If You Could See Me Now (US title: A Silver Lining), A Place Called Here (US title: There's No Place Like Here) Thanks for the Memories (US title: Desire Lines) The Gift The Book of Tomorrow. (Goodreads)


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