Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Gift by Cecelia Ahern | Book Review + Discussion

Title: The Gift
Author: Cecelia Ahern
Publication: HarperCollinsPublishers 2008
Format: Hardcover, 305 pages
Source: Personal Purchase

Plot in a Nutshell:
Step into the magical world of Cecelia Ahern.

If you could wish for one gift this Christmas, what would it be?

Everyday Lou Suffern battled with the clock. He always had two places to be at the same time. He always had two things to do at once. When asleep he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of the day while making plans for the next. When at home with his wife and family, his mind was always someplace else.

On his way into work one early winter morning, Lou meets Gabe, a homeless man sitting outside the office building. Intrigued by him and on discovering that he could also be very useful to have around, Lou gets Gabe a job in the post room.

But soon Lou begins to regret helping Gabe. His very presence unsettles Lou and how does Gabe appear to be in two places at the same time?

As Christmas draws closer, Lou starts to understand the value of time. He sees what is truly important in life yet at the same time he learns the harshest lesson of all.

This is a story about people who not unlike parcels, hide secrets.They cover themselves in layers until the right person unwraps them and discovers what’s inside. Sometimes you have to be unravelled in order to find out who you really are. For Lou Suffern, that took time.

-Synopsis from Goodreads

Thoughts in General:
The cover of The Gift by Cecelia Ahern (at least the one that I have on hand) evokes a notion that it is a cute, charming, and incredibly light story about the holidays. However, upon finishing this tome I conclude that it is far from my expectations and I was not disappointed at all. It was such an emotional journey reading this novel even if the plot and theme is quite familiar. I laughed, internally gasped, and was emotionally harangued. This is probably one of the perks of not knowing anything about a book. You get to have a reading experience that is truly packed with sentiments and excitement. All of the characters are flawed and resembled what is real. I am also impressed with the twists and turns Cecelia Ahern threw. There were certain aspects of the plot I did not 100% agree with and the overly descriptive prose kind of left a weird taste in my mouth (I can't decide if I like it or not). All-in-all if you want a slightly deeper holiday tale to read, I do recommend this book.

Thoughts in Details (CONTAINS SPOILERS):

~DO NOT CROSS THIS THRESHOLD, IF YOU HAVE NOT READ/FINISHED THIS BOOK! YOU WILL BE SPOILED! YOU'VE BEEN WARNED!~

I already discussed in my non-spoiler thoughts that the plot and theme of the book was far from the sugary cover it was presented in. I honestly thought that the book was a romantic comedy type. Alas, it was not the case. The book is more of a story that is all about family and the importance of spending your time wisely.

The first thing I want to discuss is the main character and how incredibly annoying he was. Lou Suffern was not the kind of character I would normally root for. However, as the book progressed and as his character developed, I started to like him a little better. There were moments that I was apprehensive in believing that his transformation was authentic, but by the end of the book I did grew attached to him (if you have read the novel, you know how painful it was to admit it).

His relationships with his family and the mess he created to warrant certain effects during the span of the plot, made me frustrated with him. However, it still provoked that hopeful thought that he could change and when he did I was really happy.

Gabe was the most intriguing character in the book. He acted as this Christmas guardian angel of Lou and I would have loved to have read more fleshed out information and explanation about his purpose and the things he did. The only thing that bothered me about the ending (which I weirdly enjoyed) was that I personally thought that Gabe is the one to blame for it. If he didn't scare the living daylights out of Lou,  I think the whole thing would have been prevented (this is just me).

It is a cautionary tale about prioritising family and friends over money, which is blatantly explained in the last portion of the novel. Don't get me wrong I liked the message the author said in the Epilogue like ending and the things she wrote made sense, but the way she delivered it felt like a PSA. I felt like she stated a totally obvious thing and explained it to me like I was a five year old who could not understand the point of the novel. #JustSaying

Another issue I had was with the overly descriptive scenery. The prose in this novel was great and Cecelia Ahern really knows how to set a scene, but there were times that it hampered with the reading experience. I skimmed on the lengthy parts about a mountain because it bored me.

Aside from those issues, I would still highly recommend you to check this book out and see for yourself the wonders of Lou Suffern's tale and the corresponding values it presented.

Rating:

Thumbs up!
Give this book a go!

What are your opinions regarding the novel? Don't hesitate to share your thoughts down below!i

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