Olivia’s Gift – Review by Martha A. Cheves, Author of Stir, Laugh, Repeat; Think With Your Taste Buds; A Book and A Dish
“He set before me a book of nature; I understood how all the flowers He has created are beautiful, how the splendor of the rose and the whiteness of the lily do not take away from the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy. I understood that if all flowers wanted to be roses, nature would lose her springtime beauty, and the fields would no longer be decked out with little wildflowers. And so it is in this world of souls, Jesus’ garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to lilies and roses, but He has created smaller ones and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God’s glances when He looks down at His feet. Perfection consists in doing His will, in being what He wills us to be.” - St. Therese
Olivia Thomas has loved and cherished her books of her favorite saint St. Therese of Lisieux for a long time now. She follows St. Therese’s ‘little ways’ in everything she does, or at least she tries. But things are about to change for Olivia when her family are invited to spend a whole month at her Aunt and Uncle’s house on the beach. The house is beyond beauty, in Olivia and her friend Hayley’s eyes as they see it, the ocean and the kids that reside around it. The surrounding houses as well as the people inside those houses all have one thing in common – money, and lots of it. That is except for Olivia and her family. In fact, her family may have to really start ‘pinching pennies’ due to her dad being laid off and not really sure when he’ll be called back to work. But for now, they will enjoy a full month of living in a beautiful home by the ocean.
Like St. Therese, Olivia strives to do what’s right. She treats people the way she would like to be treated, shares with everyone and never lies. She’s even started a project of saving her money to sponsor a young girl’s family in Guatemala. But that is all about to change as Olivia and Hayley meet their next door neighbors Brooke and Brandon. Two kids whose family has given them everything they could ever dream of – but love, attention, discipline, rules. They basically do as they please, not caring who nor what is hurt in the process. And meeting these two has put Olivia into a position of shame. Shame that her own family has no money but does have rules that in order to fit in Olivia must lie about owning her Aunt and Uncles home, traveling around the world and being a ‘little rich girl’ that goes to a private school. She must also use the money she has saved for her project to buy things she doesn’t really need just to fit in. But we all know that sooner or later our lies and actions catch up with us. So what does Olivia do to mend her ways? That’s a question you’ll have to find out by reading Olivia’s Gift.
Olivia’s Gift is a book that EVERY young girl needs to read. The positions Olivia and Hayley find themselves in are positions I feel sure they can all relate to. I know I could and I’ve been grown for a long time. These situations never change from generation to generation. They are always there and hopefully Olivia’s Gift is a book that will help young girls understand the ‘whys’ as well as the’ what to dos’ when faced with the decisions Olivia had to face. I highly recommend that every parent with a daughter of reading age present her with a copy of Olivia’s Gift. I also recommend that the parents read it too so they can be there to help their daughter through this hurdle in their life.