It was not just the story itself which is so emotional (although it is, incredibly so), it is the storytelling. Hawkins is an incredibly skilled writer who was able to turn the biggest heartbreak of her life into a powerful, eloquent memoir. The Gift Giver never melodramatic or gratuitous in its attempt to move you; it is its pure sincerity, honesty, and vulnerability -- and, above all, its realness -- that will touch your heart. For me, it did much more than that. It was more like it took grip of my heart and didn't let go.
It's the message that Jennifer receives from her recently deceased husband that really gets your attention. This would be a fascinating and compelling storyline if it were a novel; the fact that it is a true story makes it that much more remarkable. That message, delivered in six words, has the power to transform overwhelming grief into hope, gratitude, and optimism. It also has the power to deliver an incredible, uplifting story that will move you to tears, tears of sadness as well as joy.
What a wonderful, amazing book. I highly recommend it.