What do you get when you combine George Bailey, Ebenezer Scrooge, and Don Draper?
You get Lou Suffern.
Lou’s the main character in this Christmas-novel-with-a-timeless-message by Irish author Cecelia Ahern, whose books I tend to enjoy. (See my review of There’s No Place Like Here.) I’m usually not a Christmas book reader, but I was in the mood for such a novel this past week. When I saw this on display at the library, I grabbed it because Ahern’s novels tend to be light reads (guilty pleasures, a little piece of literary chocolate at midnight) and I hadn’t realized she’d written a Christmas story.
If you’ve never read Cecelia Ahern, her stories are almost in a genre all to themselves; they’re light reads, but with an element of the modern day and the fairy tale. Picture BlackBerries next to a magic wand. If you like Sarah Addison Allen, chances are you’ll like Cecelia Ahern.
From Publishers Weekly: Lou Suffern is a busy man, and his family’s growing weary of constantly taking the backseat to his career. On a whim, he offers Gabe, a homeless man he meets outside his office, a low-level job, and the uncharacteristically kind gesture plays out in a very unexpected way when Lou learns that Gabe has the power to be in two places at once. As the holidays draw nearer, Gabe tries to make Lou realize the importance of his family, but slow-to-change Lou might not come around to Gabe’s way of thinking until it’s too late.
It’s a somewhat predictable premise, and while there are some unexpected moments in The Gift, this one didn’t seem as magical to me as Cecelia Ahern’s other novels. I didn’t fully connect with Lou nor have much sympathy for him, and there were several elements of the plot that didn’t quite seem to fit. There’s a secondary storyline happening at the same time (a policeman is telling Lou’s story to a juvenile delinquent in an attempt to get him to see the error of his ways). I kept thinking there was some way they were all connected … but other than a shared epiphany of “we all have the same amount of time on this Earth and none of us ever know when that time will end,” there really isn’t a connection between these characters, which makes for a bit of a disjointed story.
As I said, I went into this one looking for a bit of a lighter read than usual and that’s what The Gift is. Sometimes that’s OK. Although this one wasn’t quite for me, I still think Cecelia Ahern has a literary gift.
copyright 2010, Melissa (Betty and Boo’s Mommy, The Betty and Boo Chronicles) If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.