Parting Gifts

by Charlotte Vale Allen | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 1551669005 Global Overview for this book
Registered by hbriggs1031 of Georgetown, Texas USA on 7/9/2003
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9 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by hbriggs1031 from Georgetown, Texas USA on Wednesday, July 09, 2003
When Kyra Latimer loses her husband to a freak accident in Manhattan, she can't imagine how she'll be able to move into the future without him. But on the day of his funeral, the unimaginable happens.

A young woman, with a small boy in tow shows up at Kyra's home, claiming to be the child Kyra surrendered for adoption some twenty-odd years before. Refusing to accept the truth -- that Kyra cannot possibly be her mother -- Jennifer Cullen insists on leaving her three-year-old son, Jesse, with his "grandmother." Touched by the boy's visible neglem Kyra agrees to keep Jesse. And Kyra takes on a new role -- as mother.

As it turns out Jesse is no ordinary child, and Kyra is no ordinary mother. In the course of their life together, Kyra and Jesse flourish and flounder in unanticipated ways. Until, finally, Kyra is forced to confront an impossible choice: whether or not to honor the life-or-deach decision of her adopted son.


~~~Heartwrenching..... I cried several times reading this. This book was amazing. The overall story was just wonderful.

Journal Entry 2 by hbriggs1031 from Georgetown, Texas USA on Monday, September 15, 2003
This ray is CLOSED!

MsPooh -- Texas
kymberlie -- Texas
tania-in-nc -- North Carolina
thelydia -- Florida {no response to PM's skipped}
meshe -- Georgia
OlysMom -- Washington
Wandeca -- Canada
talkland -- UK
Jalna -- UK
starbytes -- Malaysia
hathyia -- Malaysia (int'l but prefer Asia/Australia)
AuntyJo -- Malaysia


Journal Entry 3 by hbriggs1031 at BookRay in Round Rock, Texas USA on Thursday, October 16, 2003
Release planned for Friday, October 17, 2003 at BookRay in Round Rock, Texas USA.

On to the home of kymberlie

Journal Entry 4 by kymberlie from Spring, Texas USA on Tuesday, October 21, 2003
Received today - thanks, MsPooh! Going to get to this as soon as I can so I can pass it on to the next reader.

Journal Entry 5 by hbriggs1031 from Georgetown, Texas USA on Tuesday, March 02, 2004
Just an update: This ray has stalled. Some life issues came up, and at the moment I am unsure when this book will continue on its journey.

Journal Entry 6 by kymberlie from Spring, Texas USA on Wednesday, April 21, 2004
This book is a touching look at the relationships between people and their families.

The novel starts off with Kyra, daughter to a well-know director father and actress mother, learning that her husband Gary has died in a freak accident. A few days later, while coming home from Gary’s funeral, Kyra is confronted by a teenage mother that insists that Kyra is her own mother and that she must now watch her son whom she plans to leave with social services if Kyra won’t comply. Kyra is confused to how this girl could think she’s her mother (she was born with a birth defect that left her sterile, so it’s an impossibility), but agrees to accept the neglected boy since she always wanted children. The rest of the book deals with Kyra and Jesse learning to live together and Kyra coming to terms with her family until an important decision that Jesse must make changes life for everyone.

I haven’t read any of Charlotte Vale Allen’s books before, but I must confess that at first I didn’t think I was going to like it. The book seemed to start off a little stilted and while we’re reading about Kyra’s family as she comes to grips with Gary’s death, I thought it was going to go right off into the land of caricature (which, in retrospect, is probably the point). Fortunately, as soon as Jesse was introduced, this proved not to be the case.

Ultimately, I found the novel to be really touching - I even cried towards the end. The characters were very real and believable and while some of it was pretty predictable, it was still very enjoyable.

Will mail off as soon as I get an address. Sorry for the delay!

Journal Entry 7 by tania-in-nc from Mooresville, North Carolina USA on Sunday, May 09, 2004
Received this in the mail last week. I was away so just catching up with things this morning. Will get to it ASAP. Thanks for sharing!

Update May 16th, 2004 --
Started this one last night. So far, so good! I now want to share with you some passages from the book that either touched me due to content or due to imagery.

... thoughts bobbing haphazardly like a small craft that had slipped their moorings. p74

"I hope you and Jesse are okay. DOn't let this thing send you mental, Keer. Try to deal with stuff as it comes along. It doesn't turn into a mountain that way but just a bunch of little pebbles, like, that you can kick out of your way. So much for today's phone philosophy. Talk to you later. Big hug. 'Bye." p260
[comment: this is a good reminder for me, too]

Kyra stood by the large rear window to look out at the lush garden. Colors seemed more intense here than anywhere else; emotions did, too. The walls of this house were swollen with memories, and each room contained faint echoes of their voices. Every corner of this place revived all but forgotten scenes, but none more than the garden. p134


Kyra turned to her mother. "Do you know what I've recently discovered? That children have no idea how their parents feel until they get to be parents themselves. Then we become mired in guilt for what we've put our parents through."
"Most children go through an obnoxious stage when their parents would gladly strangle them and be done with it. Life in prison would be preferable to the day-to-day hell of living with a hateful adolescent. But eventually it passes, the children become people it's possible to talk to, and the next thing one knows, all the unpleasantness has been forgotten. Are you mired in retrospective guilt, my precious?" Octavia acsked with mock superciliousness.
"Only occasionally." Kyra laughed and took another sip of her wine.
"Good. I feel thoroughly rewarded. How is he doing?" she asked seriously. p333
[comment: ooh the stuff I put my parents through ...]

Annie stared at the surly female, riveted by an egocentricity so complete that it seemed to have actual density, like some sort of force field. p355
[comment: I'm curious as to the validity of auras. This quote reminds me of them]

"It's a curse, being so transparent." He sat back with his arms spread as if preparing to be stabbed.
"Oh, I don't know, Stephen. I think it's quite lovable, really. In my family, revealing one's self has always been a bit dangerous. At least, I used to think so. Now it seemed to have become a necessity."
"I'll help in any way I'm able."
"You already have. Now -" she tossed an apron at him "- you can peel the potatoes." p407

Journal Entry 8 by tania-in-nc from Mooresville, North Carolina USA on Saturday, May 29, 2004
A neat book! I'm waiting for the next reader's address and I will send it on.

No response from thelydia so have PM'ed meshe.

Journal Entry 9 by meshe from Bonaire, Georgia USA on Sunday, June 20, 2004
received on Saturday. This goes in my stack of 7 bookrings. I'll get to it as soon as possible.
06/22/04
Should finish this by weeks end. So far it's been a very enjoyable book. I'm anxious to see how it's all tied up, but afraid it's not going to be a happy ending.

Journal Entry 10 by meshe from Bonaire, Georgia USA on Wednesday, June 23, 2004
I finished this book last night in the company of many tears. I loved it. This is the first book I've read by this author, but she'll be going on my list of new authors to read. This book pulled so many emotions from me that it was sometimes hard to read. Loved it. I'm waiting on an address to send it to the next in line.

update: mailed on 6/28/04

Journal Entry 11 by OlysMom from Mountlake Terrace, Washington USA on Tuesday, July 06, 2004
Got this in the mail just moments ago. It's a rainy day here in Seattle. Surprise Surprise. So this was a welcome gift. I even started reading it standing in the kitchen - I couldn't wait. Thanks MsPooh for including me in this ring and thanks Meshe for sending it so quickly.

Journal Entry 12 by OlysMom from Mountlake Terrace, Washington USA on Sunday, July 25, 2004
I was beginning to think I'd become cold-hearted because I wasn't crying. Then I read the last chapter. I can't say more without ruining it. I can say that Charlotte Vale Allen writes the emotions of her characters very well. Kyra was real to me, as real as any portrayal of a woman caught in and then embraced by an unreal situation could possibly be. From her grief, to her humor, her lust and her indignation, Kyra's emotions were palpable.

I didn't think I would, but, I've added this author to that ever growing list of those that I intend to read widely from.

That said, I need to go get another tissue now, if you please.

Journal Entry 13 by OlysMom from Mountlake Terrace, Washington USA on Sunday, August 01, 2004
This book is on its way to Canada to visit with Wandeca! I hope you enjoy the book.

Journal Entry 14 by Wandeca from Kitchener, Ontario Canada on Thursday, August 05, 2004
The book has arrived safe and sound for a little visit in Canada. Thanks for mailing it to me, Olysmom. And thank you for sharing MsPooh. I'll try to read it as soon as possible.

Journal Entry 15 by talkland from Eastbourne, East Sussex United Kingdom on Monday, September 13, 2004
I have got my train book for the week [just in time as I went back to work today after being off work for a couple of weeks]!

Journal Entry 16 by talkland from Eastbourne, East Sussex United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 26, 2004
I did start to read this but I put it down and could not get back into it. What I did read was okay for a light read, but it obviously did not hold my attention to a great degree or I wouldn't have put it down and then forget about it.

Journal Entry 17 by jalna from Wrexham, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 09, 2004
This well-travelled book is now with me and is next on my list for reading. It is very different to the last few books I have read - I'm about ready for a good weepy, I think!

Journal Entry 18 by jalna from Wrexham, Wales United Kingdom on Tuesday, November 16, 2004
Although I enjoyed it, I cannot rate this book as highly as some earlier readers have done. The main thing that struck me was that it could have benefited hugely from a decent editor. Every little scene had to be described in the minutest detail, as if spelling things out for not-too-bright children and every now and then the author wandered of into paragraph after paragraph of unncessary verbiage. (I know they were unnecessary because I became quite adept at skipping them and moving on to the important stuff!)

As for the screeds and screeds of medical and diet information - we didn't need it! I felt I was being treated to a lecture from someone who was passionately in favour of alternative therapies and felt I needed converting. This type of novel is not the place for that.

I also thought the editor should have spotted the glaring misuse of words, too. (Only a little point, but it grated with me.) In one place she refers to a simile as a metaphor - several times; in another place she describes a character as "decimated" when I think she meant "devastated".

I am quite a sucker from sad scenes, so I had expected to have a good weep over this book, but I didn't. I'm afraid I found the character of Jesse just a little "too good to be true" and rather sickeningly perfect so it didn't affect me as it would if I had felt I was reading about a real person, as happens in the best stories.

Having said all that, it was quite a pleasant read and held my interest. I will be sending it on to Starbytes as soon as I have an address.

Journal Entry 19 by starbytes from Calgary, Alberta Canada on Sunday, November 28, 2004
Thanks Jalna and MsPooh! I just got back from Australia a few days ago, and this book was waiting for me. I'm still quite disorganized, but I'll read it asap and pass it on quick!

Update 24th March 2005: Oops! I finished this book a while ago but forgot to journal. In fact, I really thought I did journal it, coz I remember having a lot of thoughts after I finished the book and writing them down. Wasn't it here? *puzzled* Right now I can't remember most of the thoughts I had, except that I really enjoyed the book and that it was a great read! I'll be passing this on to Hathyia at our next meetup!

Update 6th April 2005: I went to the meetup, but Hathyia wasn't there, so I decided to keep it until I meet her again. I've just only realized that AuntyJo was next after Hathyia, or I would've passed it to her first. So sorry for holding up the ring! But I will pass it to either one of them the next time I see them, I promise!

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