Two weeks before Christmas I decided to read some holiday themed novels as recommended by the neatly placed librarian showcase in the middle of the library floor. Upon walking around the showcase carefully observing the titles and authors and even reading the inside covers, I found The Gift by Cecelia Ahern.
This book caught my attention immediately because it actually looks like a perfectly wrapped red Christmas present. I am not one to judge a book by it’s cover, however this book called to me and seemed appropriate for the purpose of me going to the library.
Upon reading the inside cover, I recognized the author to be the one who had written P.S. I Love You. Immediately I remembered the beautifully written story and felt the rush of emotions come back to me and decided to give this novel a try without any expectations.
This novel is about a workaholic businessman named Lou Suffern who purposely avoids family occasions to work at the office in order to impress his boss for the chance to be promoted. However, while walking to work one day he gave his hot coffee to a homeless man named Gabe. In exchange of the coffee Gabe had communicated that he has been watching the shoes that pass by him everyday. Lou recognized the shoes he was stating and realized that his co-worker and partner Alfred has been secretly having morning meetings with their boss. This angers Lou because he now has a competitor for the promotion. To keep an eye on Alfred and his boss, Lou hires Gabe to be in the mailroom.
Gabe quickly adjusts to the office life and impresses everyone except Lou. Gabe starts to follow Lou around and meddles in Lou’s family life by offering advice. Lou is only angered by Gabe’s words because he knows they are true but his attention only lies with work related events.
The novel continues as readers see that Lou isn’t such a great guy. He drives when he is drunk, he is a womanizer, commits adultery, and likes to stay out drinking at “office meetings” at the bar than spend time with his family. There is a special twist in this story and readers will quickly understand who Gabe really is and why he popped into Lou’s life.
The ending is surprising and heartfelt. In fact I read the ending at work and found myself crying. My favorite passage from the book is
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, we hear it, the hushed tick-tick, but often we don’t feel it.
Each second makes its mark on every single person’s life-comes and than goes, quietly disappearing without fanfare, evaporating into the air like steam from a piping hot Christmas pudding. Enough to leave us warm; when our time is gone, it leaves us cold.
Time is more precious than gold, more precious than diamonds, more precious than oil or any valuable treasures. It is time of which we do not have enough; it is time that causes the war within our hearts; and so we must spend it wisely.
Time cannot be packaged and ribboned and left under trees for Christmas morning.
Time can’t be given. But it can be shared.
Overall this novel was moralistic with a magical touch. I thoroughly enjoyed the story within the story.
Upon further reflection of the novel’s characters I came to the realization that Lou represents Lucifer because he enjoying being sinful-womanizer, adulterer, and drunkard.Meanwhile, Gabe is the name for the angel who is known through the Bible as the messenger from God who spread the news of Jesus’ birth.
I think these names were clever and well suited for these characters. Overall, I rated this book a 4/5 because I felt a range of emotions and sympathy with Lou Suffern’s character.
Time is precious and should always be shared with loved ones. Spend your time wisely starting now.