Blurb from Goodreads:
Extremely successful executive, Lou Suffern is always overstretched, immune to the holiday spirit that delights everyone around him. The classic workaholic who never has a moment to spare, he is always multitasking while shortchanging his devoted wife and their adorable children. And ever since he started competing for a big promotion, he has barely seen his family at all.
One frigid morning in an uncharacteristic burst of generosity, he buys a cup of coffee for Gabe, a homeless man huddled outside his office building. Inspired by his own unexpected act of kindness, Lou decides to prolong his charitable streak and contrives to get Gabe a job in his company’s mailroom. But when Gabe begins to meddle in Lou’s life, the helping hand appears to be a serious mistake. Gabe seems to know more about Lou than Lou does about himself, and, perhaps more disturbingly, Gabe always seems to be in two places at once.
With Lou’s personal and professional fates at important crossroads and Christmas looming, Gabe resorts to some unorthodox methods to show his stubborn patron what truly matters and how precious the gift of time is. But can he help him fix what’s broken before it’s too late?
Lou is a despicable character, truly. He has all the attributes of a workaholic businessman who wears his family like a trophy. He is one of those men that constantly complains about a lack of time, when really he is unable to prioritise and blames everything and everyone else for it – mostly his family. It won’t have slipped your mind that his name bears an uncanny resemblance to a dark biblical character. But you know what, I love this story. This broken man is so far from being happy and yet he manages to pull it back, well, sort of, with the help of Gabe (again, name resembling a biblical character that brings light). This book is about a lesson in what truly counts, and when things are manic, when gift buying and entertaining the children is frantic, when work is just overwhelming, and organising who sits where at the Christmas table all gets a bit much, this is a reminder that none of that stuff is what life is really all about. Love is what really counts.
This is a prime example of how books are valuable to the people who they carry meaning for, and in my case, I will be collecting editions of this book in 2017. Rare books doesn’t necessarily mean ‘old’ – The National Library of Scotland defines it as:
“From a book collector’s point of view, a rare book is ‘a book you want badly and can’t find’, or a book that is ‘important, desirable and hard to get’. However, there is no clear-cut definition of what makes a book a rare book. Even different libraries and booksellers employ different criteria. The terms ‘rare’, ‘antiquarian’ and ‘old’ are not clearly defined or indeed distinguished.
The rarity of a book has different aspects, too: ‘rarity’ can refer to the way the book is supposed to be handled, to the number of existing copies, and to its value.”
Christmas lights are being switched on all over Great Britain, so I’m not too early in wishing everyone a Merry Christmas …
My book edition info:
Paperback, 320 pages
Published 2009 by Harper Collins (first published January 1st 2008)