Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Thirteenth Gift
By Charlene Costanzo

While on assignment in Eastern Europe, Claire, a U.S. journalist, learns of a local legend. The deceptively simple story about "the thirteenth gift" has a profound effect on Claire, which soon transforms her marriage, her work, and the way she sees the world. The Thirteenth Gift is both a cautionary tale and an inspirational fable as it shows a way through the perilous consequences of greed, arrogance, and abuse of power to an uplifted state of consciousness and community. The Thirteenth Gift invites readers to renew their sense of wonderment, which can lead to freedom from fear and to a greater experience of hope, beauty, and joy in daily life. Like the message of the award-winning book, The Twelve Gifts of Birth, this novella from Charlene Costanzo reminds readers to see the dignity that is inherent in themselves and others. The habit of collecting smooth stones and shiny pebbles is an impulse that crosses generations, cultures, and traditions. But what instinct urges us to stop for them, hold them in our pockets, and save them in jars? This fourth work in Charlene Costanzo's Twelve Gift Series explains why so many people world-wide are fascinated with collecting stones. The Thirteenth Gift describes an obscure, Eastern European fable that explains why even the appeal of gem stones is rooted in something deeper than dazzle...something we are all trying to remember. Stones symbolize the marvelous oneness of all creation and keep us in touch with the gifts of life. The story's central character, Claire, is one any modern woman can relate to; torn between pursuing her ambitions and dedicating herself to her family. The author's fictional narrative reinforces the importance of consciousness, community, and most importantly, maintaining your sense of wonder. In a world where there are so many distractions, it is easy to forget our sense of wonderment. This book is a simple reminder to reconnect with the unique gifts we are each born with, urging readers to see the dignity that is inherent in themselves and others. Readers are invited to renew their sense of wonderment, to find a greater experience of hope, beauty, and joy in daily life.

I really enjoyed this book. It was a quick read, being only 66 pages. The book is written from the main characters point of view. She is dealing with stress from her job and being away from her family alot because of it. While out of the country on assignment, she finishes a story early and is trying to surprise her family by coming home early. She takes an unscheduled road trip out of town to kill time, and runs into some minor problems with her car. While trying to get some help, she meets up with an elderly woman who invites her into her home and tells her of a local legend that makes her realize how out of touch she is with her family and how unhappy she is with her job and her life as it is. The only down side to me was that I felt the book ended too soon, and had some unresolved issues. It could be that the author did this in order to be able to write a sequel; who knows? What interested me in this book to begin with is that even before I read it, I kept a smooth stone with the word "believe" etched on it with me all the time. Something that touched me was that a portion of the proceeds from each book in this series is donated to a foundation that prevents abuse and promotes the well-being of children, The Twelve Gifts of Birth Foundation.



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