The Gift

The Gift

The Gift is a book by Cecelia Ahern published in 2008. The story is set at Christmas time and is about Lou, a high powered businessman with a very busy life and not much time for anything else, including his family. One day, in an out of character gesture, he decides to help a homeless man outside outside his office by giving him a job in the post room, but quickly begins to regret it. The homeless man, Gabe, unsettles Lou in a way he can't put his finger on, it's almost like he can be in two places at once which impresses everyone at Lou's company to no end. As the story develops, Gabe teaches Lou the value of time and how to appreciate his family again, but is it too late for him to learn his lesson?

The book's opening is not particularly gripping, especially if compared to Cecelia's previous books which have much stronger first chapters in them. The novel features a story within a story, and starts with a fourteen-year-old boy throwing a turkey through his fathers living room window on Christmas morning as he watches him enjoy the day with his new family. He is then taken to a police station where the officer there tells him Lou's story, in a bid to teach him a lesson.

If you can get past the few few chapters and into Lou's story, there is no doubt that you will enjoy the book. And these first few chapters, although weaker than Cecelia's previous books, are essential to expressing the lesson and moral of this story. So in hindsight, it is easy to see why the book begins like this.

Despite the book being set at Christmas, this really has no impact on the story at all. It is used to hammer home the moral message; Christmas is a time for forgiveness and to be with your family. So the yuletide theme should not put any readers off reading it at any time during the year, as the moral tone stands alone.

The theme of morality, and the notion of a character coming good at the end is a common ideology that Cecelia applies to her books. She frequently writes about how people are influenced into changing their lives for the better, whether that is through other people, places or experiences. The Gift is different to it's predecessors because, although Lou does go on a journey that changes him into a better person, the outcome is not the happy ending we are so used to getting from Cecelia's novels.

Different from it's predecessors, but ultimately in a good way. The Gift highlights how we waste so much time in our lives doing things that have no positive impact on us or those around us. Cecelia attempts to teach her reader a lesson in all of her books, and The Gift's message is probably the most emotive of the lot. It has the potential to impact the largest audience of all her novels, as anyone could fill Lou's shoes in the narrative, and many people do, and this is the sad reality of the situation. The Gift gives us many thinks to ponder upon reading it, which makes it a must read for everyone, not just Cecelia's female target audience.

By Sophie Atherton @SophAthers

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