You have probably heard of THE ULTIMATE GIFT, which came out first as a novel, and then as a motion picture starring James Garner and Abigail Breslin. Both the book and the movie were well received, and prompted a nationwide movement to share the gifts God has given us and, ultimately, change the world. Or at least the worlds of those within reach.One sequel (THE ULTIMATE LIFE) and several years later, author Jim Stovall has written a third installment, THE GIFT OF A LEGACY.
Theodore (Ted) Hamilton is an attorney in his own law firm. He’s been practicing law for 50 years and has represented hundreds of clients, including billionaire Red Stevens, who willed The Ultimate Gift to his grandson Jason, requiring him to “earn” his inheritance through a series of 12 steps. These steps were life lessons that taught him not only the value of money, but the value of life, and the fulfillment that comes from helping others.Although Red has passed on, Jason keeps his grandfather’s legacy alive by teaching this concept to others.
"THE ULTIMATE LEGACY is a quick read and a great story to share with your kids. It offers a wonderful opportunity for opening up conversation about the lessons within, regarding the value of work, family, learning and giving, to name just a few."
Miss Sally May Anderson is a good friend of Ted’s, not to mention a wealthy client. At almost 100 years old, Sally has touched many people in her lifetime and is adored by everyone. Except her great-grandson Joey, who is off satisfying his every whim and has never shown an ounce of interest in his great-grandmother. Until she dies. Then he shows up demanding his share of her estate.
Joey is in for a surprise when Ted informs him that he will get an inheritance, after he successfully performs the 12 steps of The Ultimate Gift program. Jason and his wife are there to help things along, as are several of Miss Sally’s employees/closest friends. Joey is not happy about having to wait for his money, but doesn’t have much choice and reluctantly agrees.
Although THE ULTIMATE LEGACY follows a different “selfish little rich boy,” it is very similar to the previous book, so it feels a little redundant and doesn’t offer much in the way of new revelations or concepts. There is virtually no deep character development, so if you like to be invested in your characters, you’ll be disappointed. But that’s clearly not what Stovall is going for. This isn’t necessarily a book detailing the progress of personal growth, but of the general lessons we should all take to heart.
Each chapter --- or step --- begins with a video of Red Stevens talking to his grandson, Jason. The author goes on to tell of events that happen while Joey fulfills his requirements. There are a few sweet moments between Joey and a young girl who was in an accident and unable to walk, but the events sometime seem rushed, as if in a hurry to get to the next “lesson.” I found myself wanting it to be drawn out a bit more for deeper reflection.
The best part of the book is the narrator, Ted Hamilton, whose has an endearing dry sense of humor. An example is during one scene where they are all gathered around watching a pre-recorded video from Miss Sally. The touching words bring tears to Ted’s eyes, but instead of admitting it, he tells the reader how his “allergies are acting up.” Then, in two more instances within the same scene, he mentions other characters who are suffering from these seasonal allergies as well. Cute wit that made me smile.
THE ULTIMATE LEGACY is a quick read and a great story to share with your kids. It offers a wonderful opportunity for opening up conversation about the lessons within, regarding the value of work, family, learning and giving, to name just a few. Even though you may find this book very similar to the others, it is certainly worth a read. There’s no denying it’s made up of stuff the world needs. And it never hurts to be reminded of what’s truly important in life and to focus more consciously of the legacies we’ll leave behind.
Reviewed by Lynda Lee Schab on July 19, 2013