Cecelia Ahern, however, has quite a special place in my heart, and my book shelf, too! I regard her book If You Could See Me Now as one of my favourite books ever, and have read every book she's published so far. Some I have liked more than others, but in general I love her writing. I'm not even sure if you can actually categorize her books as Chick Lit - the characterictics of the genre (young woman as the main character, looking for love, has a cool job, likes shoes, etc.) don't really apply to them. Her first novel, P.S. I Love You (of which they also made that lousy movie), is closest to the describtion, I think. After the first two books (second one is called Where Rainbows End, and it consists entirely of emails, letters and IM-messages the characters write to each other - I love that book, it's really quite brilliant) she's gone to a slightly different direction, treating the stories with a touch of magic; they're never about wizards or goblins or anything such, rather of something with a sense of supernatural, often left unexplained.
The Gift is one of Ahern's more recent novels. It is a seasonal story, which makes it my Christmas Tradition vol. 3, though 'tradition in the making' would be a better way to describe it, as this is only the second year in a row when I read it. Anyway. The Gift can't most definitely be called Chick Lit, as pretty much every major character in it is male.
Lou Suffern always had two places to be at at the one time. When asleep, he dreamed. In between dreams, he ran through the events of that day while making plans for the next, so that when he was awakened by his alarm at six a.m. every morning, he found himself to be poorly rested. When in the shower, he rehearsed presentations and, on occasion, with one hand outside of the shower curtain he responded to emails on his Blackberry. While eating breakfast he read the newspaper, and when being told rambling stories by his five-year-old daughter, he listened to the morning news. When his thirteen-month-old son demonstrated new skills each day, Lou's face displayed interest while at the same time the inner workings of his brain were analysing why he felt the exact opposite. When kissing his wife goodbye, he was thinking of another.
You get the picture. Lou, the main character, is a very very busy man, and sometimes such an unbelievable jackass, that you'd love to just give him a nice slap on the cheek to wake him up. He does get a wake-up call, eventually, after meeting Gabe, a homeless man, who sits in front of his office building. Lou does Gabe a favour (and himself, too, because of course there's something in it for Lou, too), and gives him a job. Gabe soon reciprocates by giving Lou a gift that shakes his world to its very core.
The Gift is about the pricelessness of time and recognizing the truly important things in life. The book delivers its message in an compelling, enchanting way, with quite a few grins and a sudden surge of tears. Ahern's books somehow always manage to fill me with that certain kind of emotion - like an enlightened appreaciation of life or a shot of positive energy that gives you a nice little push on the rear.