The Gift of Giving

The Gift of Giving - Ann Somerville

Reviewed at Hearts on Fire Reviews

 

Like Jamie, I’m not a huge fan of Christmas.  Well, there are a few things I still enjoy about the holiday, but I could do without the gift-giving, the credit card bills, the family gatherings with people I hardly know or see any other time of year, the junk food at work, and the cranky boss who hasn’t let me leave early on Christmas Eve for the last 20 years.  Christmas is doubly hard when you have no one to spend the holiday with, so I can really feel for Jamie. 

While visiting the British Museum, Jamie meets hot and artistic Ciarán, who spends his Christmas holiday working for London’s homeless shelters.  Jamie is interested in getting laid, but Ciarán turns down Jamie’s invitation for a drink.  Unable to get Ciarán out of his mind, Jamie decides to volunteer some time at the homeless shelter. 

I loved how this story showed a glimpse of London, and very sensitively explored poverty and homelessness.  Once Jamie gets to know Ciarán, he discovers a painful past and serious trust issues that require patience to overcome. 

Ciarán learns to trust, and Jamie learns to look outside himself to those who are lonely, ill, and lacking life’s basic necessities. 

The one-star ratings make me sad.  Sure, it’s sweet and sentimental. What Christmas story isn’t?  It brought a tear to my eye, made me smile, and made me glad I gave $10.00 to the three homeless men sitting huddled together under a blanket smoking cigarettes across the street from the hotel I was staying at in Montréal rather than just walking by.