The Gift – Cecelia Ahern
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.
I listened to this book on Audible, the narrator, Mark Meadows, had an Irish accent which fitted perfect with the Irish characters. In fact, I think Mark Meadows could become a favourite of mine, he’s so good to listen to.
The story revolves around the main characters Lou and Gabe, but their story is told to a young boy being held at the Police station after throwing a frozen turkey through a window.
Lou first appears as a generous and kind character as he takes a homeless person, Gabe, off the streets and gives him a job in his office block. As the story progresses we see Lou as an uncaring, selfish and cheating character, trying to get to the top position in his office in whatever way he can. He has a beautiful wife and two little children, but he rarely makes time for them. He ends up upsetting most of his wider family members too when he takes over his Dad’s 70th birthday party, but passes the buck to his secretary.
Gabe, however, sees something good in Lou, and despite the fact that Lou is rude to him, he seems adamant to make him see the error of his ways and help him any way he can.
There is an air of mystery in the story as strange things begin to happen, reality has to be suspended as we see Lou getting his wish of being able to be in two places at the same time. It’s only by having the extra time this gives him that he realises just what he is sacrificing and what is really important to him.
Will he choose the big job or his family?
The ending of Lou’s story gives a twist that you may be expecting, or not. It all reminded me a little of ‘Tales of the Unexpected.’
I really enjoyed this book, if mostly for the narrator. The story was based around Christmas time and we get a look at the joys of Christmas celebrations Dublin style. The imagery is just right and although the minor characters are not written in too much detail, it doesn’t really matter. The focus is mainly on Lou and Gabe.
The story was a little extraordinary but I’m not complaining about that. The ending did feel like I was being preached too, but I guess the point was a good one to make. I think you could probably cut all that out and people would still get the message. Because that what this whole story is about, delivering a message.
If you don’t wish to listen on Audible you can buy this book on Amazon for £7.99
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