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on Sep. 03, 2012 :
This book is a delightful collection of short stories. Each story is meant to illustrate one of the seven gifts that came to the earth from the creator. A boy is tasked by an angel to read the seven stories to gain the knowledge of the seven gifts. As he reads each of the stories, he ponders their meaning and significance and the angel helps him sort it out. Once he has learned what the seven gifts are and why they are important, he travels to earth to impart this knowledge to the people there in an effort to save them from the path they are on.
The very first story told by the angel to the boy is about a young girl who becomes a woman and all that she loses along the way. Not the monetary losses or even losses of those she loves, but the loss of wonder, trust, imagination, and all of those wonderful aspects of childhood that are shed for worldliness, practicality, and realistic adult pursuits. It is a sad tale and meant to depict the way life on earth has become. And it is this state of existence that has triggered the need for the boy to read the stories and deliver their messages to the people of earth in an effort to save them from themselves.
The stories resemble children’s fables. Some characters are likable, some are detestable. Some learn a lesson, others never will. The stories run the gamut from the return of an ostracized rock star to an old woman’s desire to die; from a bee’s incessant drive to be the best to a dolphin’s need to save humans. Each story carries its own tone and message. Through them, we learn about these fundamental and important gifts.
The book is an easy read because each story is self-contained within the larger story of the boy and the angel. It has a natural rhythm and it just feels right to start and end a story in each sitting. Between each story, the angel and the boy would interact in such a way to ensure that the boy understood the significance of the tale. This progression allows the reader to also ponder each story and try to figure out the gift before the angel and boy discuss it. It gives you the sense of actually participating as the gifts are unveiled. If you like books such as The Alchemist and The Celestial Bar, or enjoy fables and fairy tales with a message, you will enjoy this book.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
on Aug. 23, 2012 :
The seven short stories in this book were very interesting and came off as fairy tales in a way. They were set in a different place and time and had a variety of unique and colorful characters, and each story had a message that highlighted a "gift" that was given by God to humankind. There is a strong religious message throughout the book, which makes sense when the ending is revealed.
The author has credibly created thought-provoking moral fables, where the "gift" illustrated is not always obvious. I enjoyed the stories more than the summing up by the Angel and the boy at times, and I felt like if there was a way to tie up the stories without the extra chapters with these recurring characters, this book would have flowed better. As it is, it is an interesting, short read, and I think it would especially appeal to people with strong religious beliefs.
(reviewed the day of purchase)