Review: The Gift of Life – Josephine Moon

The Gift of Life

Josephine Moon

Penguin

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143791997

 

Description:

You’ve been given the gift of life, now go live it.

 

Gabby McPhee is the owner of The Tin Man, a chic new cafe and coffee roasting house in Melbourne. The struggles of her recent heart transplant are behind her and life is looking up – until a mysterious customer appears in the cafe, convinced that Gabby has her deceased husband’s heart beating inside her chest.

 

Krystal Arthur is a bereaved widow, struggling to hold herself and her two young boys together since Evan’s death, and plagued by unanswered questions. Why was her husband in another city the night he died? And why won’t his spirit rest?

 

Krystal is convinced that Gabby holds the clues she needs to move towards a brighter future. Gabby needs Krystal to help her let go of her troubled past. The two women must come together to try to unlock the secrets in Evan’s heart in order to set free their own.

 

By the internationally bestselling author of The Chocolate Promise, this is a profound and moving novel about the deeper mysteries of love and loss – and the priceless gift of life.

 

My View:

A fabulous read – engaging, informative, and poignant.

 

This is a very moving narrative; organ donation is subject that has recently received deserved attention in the media and despite that increased attention there seems to be so much more that is needed to be done.  https://donatelife.gov.au/about-donation/get-facts/facts-and-statistics   What I really enjoyed about this story was hearing the unique voice of the character who is a recipient – each day a gift but with that gift are so many caveats.

 

Then there is the mystery.

 

This is a very engaging read; life is exposed in all its fragile beauty – difficult, tiring, exasperating, frustrating, challenging, worthwhile, exhilarating, loving and precious.  Themes of family, friendship, love, loss, grief and second chances dominate this read. Josephine Moon has written characters that you will genuinely care about wrapped in a narrative that is complex and discusses many contemporary issues.

 

 

 

 

Post Script: Useful – Debra Oswald

 Can you transform a useless life into one to be valued? You will be compelled to find out in this character driven exploration of life.

Useful

Useful

Deborah Oswald

Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780670077823

 

 

Description:

Sullivan Moss is useless.

Once a charming underachiever, he’s now such a loser that he can’t even commit suicide properly. Waking up in hospital after falling the wrong way on a rooftop, he comes to a decision. He shouldn’t waste perfectly good organs just because they’re attached to his head. After a life of regrets, Sully wants to do one useful thing: he wants to donate a kidney to a stranger.

As he scrambles over the hurdles to become a donor, Sully almost accidentally forges a new life for himself. Sober and employed, he makes new friends, not least radio producer Natalie and her son Louis, and begins to patch things up with old ones, like his ex-best mate Tim. Suddenly, everyone wants a piece of him.

But altruism is not as easy as it seems. Just when he thinks he’s got himself together, Sully discovers that he’s most at risk of falling apart.

 

 

My View:

Slowly you are drawn into this compelling study of life: lives filled with wasted opportunities and regret…lives soured by experience, by envy, lives stifled by choices that are no longer embraced and I am not just talking about the protagonist Sullivan Moss…most of the characters in this book have deep regrets about some part of their lives which is preventing them from enjoying living in the now. But don’t get me wrong this is not a dour wallowing in loss, bitterness and mid-life crisis kind of read, it is about rejoicing in one man’s attempt to turn his life around and the implications this turn around has on all those around him. You, the reader will really want Sullivan Moss to succeed on his quest. You become his biggest fan and supporter and will urge him on to a better life; to transform, to become useful.

 

This novel is written with a healthy dose of the classic Australian sense of humour – plenty of opportunities to laugh at oneself and situations so crazy they are almost slapstick .This is a very visual book, perhaps Ms Oswald’s successful screen writing career is at influence here? Amid the laughter many contemporary issues are deftly introduced and are open for discussion; wealth V happiness, asbestos risks/contamination, working women/childcare/ORGAN DONATION/suicide/midlife crisis…..this book has a lot to offer is what appears, at first glance, to be a light hearted read. A great book club read.