The Gift - Cecelia Ahern
What an interesting, thought-provoking concept this book operates on! It keeps the reader guessing as it moves from the 'now' - a teenager being held in custody by the police on Christmas morning to the past - in the form of a story the duty sergeant tells him. It moves from the streets - a homeless man grateful for small change and a cup of coffee from a stranger - to high flying business and a man who works constantly, juggling his family and work commitments yet always short-changing everyone, including himself, a fact about which he is unconcerned and unaware at the start of the tale.
A small, out of character, act of kindness makes everything in their world shift out of kilter, and Lou - the businessman - finds himself swinging from a feeling of power, where he is the captain of his 'ship' to a position where he is suspicious of his colleagues' motives and struggling to present himself in a good light. His wife is already distrustful of him and he hardly know his own children - something has to change ... and then quite dramatically it does. I found myself reminded of It's a Wonderful Life and the timing of the tale around Christmas does nothing to distract from that parallel. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0038650/
Having read & enjoyed Thanks for the Memories - another book by Cecelia Ahern -and having cried buckets each time I watch PS I Love You I was totally prepared to suspend reality and shed a few tears - The Gift did not disappoint me! http://uk.cecelia-ahern.com/books/Books/The-Gift/
Recent TV Recommendations:
Suits [Dave] They have re-run all of Series 1 on consecutive nights so that viewers are ready for Series 2 which starts this week. It is an american legal drama - it's fast paced and witty - the 2 main characters are like chalk and cheese, yet somehow they are yin an yang to each other. Harvey is rich and successful, well respected but his boss is worried that he has not got enough heart or conscience to be really good for the legal practice. Harvey takes a winger and hires Mike as his up-and-coming assistant - Mike has not even been to Harvard (a closely guarded secret which could topple his career) but he has a wonderful gift: he only has to read something to remember it and he has an intense eye for detail. Mike is also full of empathy and heart and - although it often looks like his achilles heel - it proves the tipping point time and again to winning their cases. (Strangely enough I could 'see' Harvey and Mike as Lou and Gabe respectively when I was reading the Gift!)
The New Normal [E4] Really liking this - it is funny and the wit is cutting - it airs out-moded prejudices and renders them ridiculous (if you watched Glee you will see that Grandma is cut from the same cloth as Sue!) It is just a short show but it really brightens up my week.
My Mad Fat Diary E4 pushed this very hard over Christmas - the trailers were on all the time - so having seen a lot of clips I thought I knew what to expect, and yet it surprised me. The subject matter - a 16 year old girl with a weight problem and mental health issues - was dealt with sensitively and yet with humour. The viewer is privvy to Rae's thoughts and counselling sessions, Rae is brutally honest about her sexuality - horny thoughts bombarding 24/7 - and her uncomfortable relationship with her mother "She's a Nightmare!" It is set at the height of Cool Brittania and Rae - who loves music - is getting out there and trying to make new friends and feel more comfortable with herself and her size. Anyone who has read the fantastic Swallowing Grandma by Kate Long might see some similarities, but I think its likely the plots will veer off in different directions.