- Title: The Hundred Gifts
- Author: Jennifer Scott
- Genre: Women’s Fiction; Christmas
- Pages: 384
- Published: October 2015 – NAL
- Source: Publisher
My take: Christmas will be different this year for Bren. Her newly married daughter has moved to Thailand and her son who decided at the last-minute not to go to college is wandering the world. Her husband seems to go through a hobby every few weeks – a recent one had the house smelling like the inside of a gasoline can. So Bren is finding her nest empty and not pleased with that. When she’s approached to teach a cooking class she decides to do it even though she’s probably not the best person to teach others how to cook.
Bren’s students are her mother, her crusty aunt, a quiet young woman and a few others. They all get along fine but there’s a crabby woman who lives in the apartment above the kitchen classroom who complains from the very first day. She is unhappy that all these noisy people and smells are infiltrating her world. She’s determined to shut them down. The women are shocked by such a negative attitude – especially at this time of year. The class decides to “kill her with kindness” which yields unexpected results that ultimately gave surprising (to me, anyway) depth to what began as a fluffy novel.
Even though I understood Bren I didn’t always like her. At first she came across as kind of self-centered. Her inner dialogue was off-putting at times. Slowly, though, Jennifer Scott revealed Bren’s layers, as well as those of a few other characters, which gave me a fuller appreciation of her thoughts and actions.
There’s so much going on in this novel but Jennifer Scott did a great job weaving all the threads into a story that was highly entertaining and yet quite profound. We’ve all had losses and, as we do, we each react differently to loss. As I go through life I constantly remind myself to not judge at first glance – I don’t know what has happened to make a person behave the way she does.
I think if you’re looking for something a little different, that’s entertaining and yet will make you stop and think, you might enjoy The Hundred Gifts as much as I did. There are some laugh out loud moments and some very sad ones. I liked it all. This is one I’d love to see in film.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jennifer Scott is the national bestselling, award-winning author of Second Chance Friends, The Accidental Book Club, and The Sister Season. Her acclaimed YA novels under a pseudonym, Jennifer Brown, have been selected as an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, a VOYA Perfect Ten, and a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year.
Please visit Jennifer Scott online at:
Praise for The Accidental Book Club
“The Accidental Book Club will have you laughing and crying at the same time.” —Fresh Fiction
“The still-evolving relationships between the various women are touching…Scott has drawn an affecting tale of family, love, and forgiveness.” —BookNAround
Praise for The Sister Season
“Emotionally honest and psychologically astute, The Sister Season is ultimately an uplifting story about the pull of the past, the need for forgiveness, and the redemptive power of familial love.” —Liza Gyllenhaal, author of A Place for Us
“The Sister Season is a powerful, honest look at the harm that ripples out from every unkindness, and the strength inherent in the sisterly bond.” —Heidi Jon Schmidt, author of The Harbormaster’s Daughter