Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review - The Ultimate Gift

Our book club has two book selections this month. The first selection, The Ultimate Gift, by Jim Stovall, was very short, so we also chose a second book, Ghost in the Wires, by Kevin Mitnick. I read The Ultimate Gift first, so that's what this review is for. When I finish Ghost in the Wires, I'll write a review for that one, too. I know The Ultimate Gift has been made into a movie, but I haven't seen it and I don't know anything about it. This review is for the book only.

The Ultimate Gift

My Rating: 3 out of 5 bookmarks
Summary from Amazon page: Red Stevens has died, and the older members of his family receive their millions with greedy anticipation. But a different fate awaits young Jason, whom Stevens, his great-uncle, believes may be the last vestige of hope in the family.

My review:
If I had to choose one word to describe this book, it would be hokey. Campy and cliché would work as well. Although, somewhat well-written (it did keep my interest for the most part), it was rather predictable. I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes. To say more, I have to get into the details. Read on if you don't mind being spoiled.

Spoilers ahead.

So the deal is Jason has to complete a task every month to the lawyer's satisfaction. He has to learn about 12 gifts that will make him a better person, the first being work. Am I really supposed to believe that a spoiled rich kid is going to go to some guy's ranch and work for a month and come back a changed man? Say we accept the premise, and this month of hard labor changes him. The later challenges aren't really all that challenging. He might as well have just told him to pay attention to the people around him. Multiple times he's sent to observe and come back and report about what he's learned. So because he saw someone laughing, he's realized the gift of laughter? Um... okay.

I think the idea for this story was interesting, but it wasn't executed in the best manner. I would have liked to have seen more experiences (like helping out at the boys' home). I also would have preferred to read it from Jason's point of view instead of the lawyer's. I think we could have had a richer story from that point of view, and it would have been less campy. It also could have been longer and more involved.