The Gift – Cecelia Ahern

After reading and adoring Thanks for the Memories and realising Ms. Ahern was back on form, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Gift. I’m not often so shallow as to be drawn in by covers of books alone, but the cover coupled with the name and I was sold. I didn’t have a clue what the book was about, and I avoided reading reviews so I opened the virgin covers with no preconceptions.

The Gift centres around a guy called Lou Suffern. He has everything he could ever want: a big beautiful house, a good job, nice car and a wonderful family. It’s true that he has worked hard for the first three, but at the expense of the latter. He’s very rarely at home, he goes to work early, comes home late and any time he does spend with his family he spends distracted and constantly checking his Blackberry. His wife, Ruth is at her wits end and it begins to look as though divorce is on the cards.

However, things turn around for Lou when one day he encounters Gabe, a homeless man who has stationed himself outside Lou’s office. In a rare act of kindness, Lou gives his coffee away to Gabe and they chat. Later, realising he can do more to help Gabe than simply giving him a warm drink and some loose change, he gets him a job in the post room of the office building. Pleased with himself at first, Lou is glad he’s helped this nice guy to help himself. Soon, though, his attitude changes. Gabe becomes somewhat clingy and annoying and also seems to be able to appear in two places at once – a character trait of which Lou is insanely jealous. As a ridiculously busy man himself, this is a skill he could well utilise to forward his career AND keep his family happy.

In a conversation with Gabe, Lou discovers his secret – some pills, which create two of him and enable both of them to go about their business with nobody any the wiser. On trying this wonderous magic for himself, Lou realises what this means – all his problems are over! However, as he becomes more and more enamoured by this gift, parts of his life continue to unravel until eventually he realises that people are turning against him. They think him unreliable and uncaring. Desperate to make amends, Lou makes the effort to spend more time with his family. But is it too late?

I’m in two minds about this book. I really liked the story of Lou and what happens when Gabe arrives. However, I feel the ending ruined it somewhat. If you have two brain cells to rub together you will have already worked out the moral of the story without having it spelt out to you at the ending. I felt the last bit was incredibly preachy and should have been cut. The point would have been made adequately at the end of Lou’s story. However, if you ignore these last couple of paragraphs, it’s a lovely story and I’d recommend it to chick-lit and Ahern fans.

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