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If you had one wish....
The Gift - Cecelia Ahern
Member Name: lyndsey1989
The Gift - Cecelia Ahern
Advantages: Unexpected ending, different plot
Disadvantages: The opening half didnt captivate me
A few months ago I went a little bit mad on The Works website. I used to often visit their stores and take advantage of the 3 for £5 deal however I have not been able to visit them much recently so when I had some spare cash and I wanted some new books to read I decided to pay a visit to their website. Instead of buying 3 books I think I ended up with 15 but never mind I will work my way through!
One of the books I chose was The Gift by Cecelia Ahern. I first encountered this author a few years ago now when I read her book The Book of Tomorrow and absolutely fell in love with it and was hooked. Therefore, I decided that this would certainly be worth a try.
Lou is a very busy and very successful Irishman. His career is his life and he sees no problem with working 12 hour days every day in order to get him where he wants to be. He is proud of what he has achieved so far, he has a large house with electric gates and the Porsche he'd always dreamed of. Oh yes, and a family. His wife, Ruth he met many years ago at university. Since then they had married and had two children, Lucy who was now five and Pud who was one. However, Lou just didn't seem to be cut out to be a family man, he was a business man through and through. If there was a chance to secure a deal then Lou would be in the office, never mind if it was one of the children's birthdays.
It is a normal day for Lou, his alarm goes off at 6am, he showers and then is out the door ready to get to the office. He speeds along the narrow lanes in his Porsche feeling smug. He is proud of himself. How many of his childhood friends were now in his situation? Once parked Lou is in two minds - should he go and get a coffee or should he go to the office? It was early but Lou knew that there would be a promotion coming up soon and he was desperate to get it but so too was his colleague Albert. After thinking it through Lou decides there's no way Albert will already be in the office so he decides to grab a quick coffee.
On his way to the office Lou is in a hurry but stumbles across a homeless man. Usually Lou wouldn't give him the time of day but for some reason it seems that Lou is pulled to him. He begins chatting with the man and learns his name is Gabe. Gabe has a vast knowledge of the goings on of the office because this is his regular spot so Lou finds him very useful indeed. Eventually, Lou must get going but he spends the morning not being able to get Gabe out of his mind...what is it that seems to be pulling him towards him?
From the beginning of the book I thought Lou was a bit of an arrogant so and so. He seemed very smug about his lifestyle but wasn't prepared to make a few small sacrifices to be the husband and father he had suggested he would be when he married Ruth all them years ago. What made me dislike him a little more was that Lou had embarked upon a string of affairs, one which had only ended six months ago with the children's Nanny. However, as the story progressed I began to like Lou a little more and although he was never high up in my most loved characters list he certainly became more bearable over time.
Ruth was a bit of a mysterious character initially. We only tended to see what she was up to when Lou was there however there were a few small snippets of what her day involved when he wasn't around. I felt very sorry for Ruth as she really was left at home holding the baby and when her husband did roll in, usually at some ungodly hour after going to the pub after leaving the office he was usually rude, arrogant and short tempered.
I think the way that the author has portrayed these two characters is key to the story. If Ruth didn't feel quite so alone and fed up then I don't think the reader would resent Lou so much for the way he had treated her.
Gabe was a very mysterious character and I found myself asking questions about him right up until the end. He seemed like a nice person and was willing to help but Lou was extremely sceptical of him which also put doubts in my mind as the reader as we didn't know anything about where Gabe had come from or who he was.
I found the first half of the novel quite laid back and slow paced. Although I found it interesting I was never desperate to pick up the book and read on. I found it easy to pick up from where I had left off and because of this it did take me a few weeks to get through the book just dipping into it here and there when I had twenty minutes spare. However, from the halfway point I found the story to pick up pace and there was plenty more going on which grabbed my attention and making me want to read on. Despite this, I don't believe that the first half of the book is lacking because of this. I think it was designed to be this way so that the reader could fully appreciate how much every day proved to be the same - Lou going to work, Lou going to the pub, Lou finally turning up at home just to go to bed and then it would start all over again. I think this aided me as the reader to understand and appreciate how difficult Ruth must have been finding her everyday life despite her never really explaining how she felt.
As the plot progressed in the second half of the book I felt there was lots going on and this was different to any other book I had read which made it fresh and interesting. The closing of the book really had me guessing and there were numerous surprises, and one which leaps out at me that I really wasn't expecting causing me to actually gasp when reading it! The ending certainly wasn't the one that I was anticipating but it is an excellent ending and I cannot fault it. It was strong, shocking and tied up all loose ends.
I really like Cecelia Ahern's writing style. It is laid back and informal and the way the book is written makes you really feel as though you are right there with Lou, a fly on the wall watching and judging his every move.
The book was published in 2008.
The publishers are Harper Collins.
It has 276 pages spanning over 29 chapters.
I enjoyed this book, I wouldn't say I loved it because personally I didn't feel captivated throughout the entire story but I did very much enjoy the unexpected twists at the closing of the novel. I found it quite different to other books I have read which made it enjoyable and I do think its one of those books that you would remember for some time to come. I would definitely recommend it.
Summary: Very good read with a surprising twist