Anybody who reads this blog regularly, or knows me even a tiny bit, knows I love reading Christmas books. Nothing beats curling up with a seasonal book on a cold day. I also enjoy books about animals. A Gift From Bob fulfills both criteria. I admit at first I was a little leery of a book about a man on the streets. I wondered how on earth a book about a man who is one minuscule step above homeless could possibly make for good holiday reading. I'm glad I took a chance on this book. A Gift From Bob truly is one of the most uplifting books you could read this season. And the best part? It's non fiction!
I have to admit I like the author's writing style. James Bowen's style is not pretentious nor is his style elementary. I would say Mr. Bowen's style is simple but compelling. At no time did I find myself distracted by the author's style. I appreciated the fact that it felt as though he were sitting in front of me telling his story. This conversational style pulled me in and really helped me enjoy the book.
I especially enjoyed how well he enabled me to know the other people populating his story. Not only did he do a very good job of helping me visualize where this part of his life took place, he also made it very easy for me to make a connection with the people who were an integral part of his life.
The story itself, if you will, had me completely engrossed. I can't say that I know anything about the struggle of the homeless. I certainly never gave much thought to how, or even if, they celebrate the holidays. Neither have I considered how one goes from sleeping in the park to reintegrating into a more traditional mode of living. Mr. Bowen's story gave me a glimpse into the life of the homeless and certainly made me far more aware of the role I can play in assisting those that I encounter.
Additionally, A Gift From Bob made me think about what "Christmas spirit" really means. This book also helped me to refocus on the important things of the season. It really is less about the price tag on the gift and much more about the thought that goes into it. And truly, when things look as though they are at their worst, if you just slow down for a moment and refocus, it turns out things aren't ruined after all. But most of all, this book helped me remember that the gifts really aren't that important. It's all about who you spend your Christmas with.
All things considered, I would recommend this book to everyone. There is nothing at all bad in this book. In fact, I would encourage everyone to read this book regardless of the time of year. Of course if you can read the book during the Christmas season, I would certainly encourage you to do so. I will be reading this book again next Christmas and I will probably do so first thing in the season. Just like A Christmas Carol, this book should be read every year and should kick off the beautiful season that is all about love, joy, peace and the greatest gift man has ever known.