The Ultimate Gift
by Jim Stovall
Hard cover, 154 (easy) pages.
As with much of what I am reading now days, this book came to my attention when a customer called and asked me to set aside three copies for her. I later picked up a copy myself and began reading it on my breaks. Although it's a short, quick read, I became frustrated wanting to finish it faster than my breaks would allow and finally bought it and finished it that evening at home. I had put aside the other book I was reading in favor of this one.
The Ultimate Gift is quite simply about our values, morals and ethics and the disservice we do our children when we protect them from the issues that allow them to learn and develop these things. The book is written in story form and involves a spoiled rich kid. I have to say it was never lost on me, however, that you don't have to be rich to be "protected" from life's lessons. I saw so much of myself and my family in each chapter.
In my bookstore this book is found in the Religious Fiction section which bothers me just a little. Although a belief in God is established in the story, the story is far from Religious. It applies to any and all religions or even none at all. I categorize the story as inspirational.
The story follows a young adult through the year following his Great Uncle's death as he prepares to 'earn' the ultimate gift his Great Uncle has left him in his will. He experiences a new gift each month, never knowing what the final, ultimate gift will be. At the beginning he is sullen and disappointed at not receiving an immediate inheritance as did the rest of the heirs. His growth over the year as a result of his monthly "gifts" from his uncle transforms him into the adult his uncle saw the potential of him becoming.
I very much enjoyed the way the book was written and 'gifts' presented to the main character. It would be hard to overlook, in my opinion, that these gifts are also being suggested to the reader. It could take less than the year involved in the story for the reader to obtain the ultimate gift, or it could take more. Either way, I believe the reader will come away from the story inspired to reach the ultimate gift for him/herself.
The Ultimate Gift is on my recommended reading list.