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Thursday, February 23, 2006

P.S. I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry.

Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other's sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other.

Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry's death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He's left her a bundle of notes, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed "P.S. I Love You."

As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing - and being braver than ever before.

Life is for living, she realises - but it always helps if there's an angel watching over you.

My friend Jamie recommended this book to me, after a friend of hers pushed her into reading this. Actually, it was more like: Jamie read one particular section of the book and I demanded to read to know the title of the book so I could get my hands on it. I was gripped by the story even before I knew what hit me.

Here was what Jamie read to me:

PS. I love you. Holly, I know you love me. You don't nee my belongings to remember me by, you don't need to keep them as proof that I existed or still exist in your mind. You don't need to wear my sweater to feel me around you; I'm already here...always wrapping my arms around you.

This story was more about the journey Holly had to trudge through in the months after the recent death of her husband, her love, her best friend. We see how she grieves for the man she had lost, how she tries to put on a brave face for the world to see and we see her at her worst. And then, with the help of Gerry's encouraging letters we have some uplifting moments when Holly tries to embrace her life and continue on without her mate. Even after death, Gerry knew exactly what to say and do to help Holly move on with her life.

My heart hurt for Holly when she was consumed with loneliness while everyone around her seemed to have "moved on" with the rest of the lives. My throat tightened when John (Gerry & Holly's best friend) confronted Holly about locking herself away from the world and expecting it to stop because Gerry was no longer with them. And then my vision blurred when John spoke about his feelings of missing his best friend so openly.

It's not a typical romantic tale with a sure thing happily ever after that many other novels guarantee, but rather this gives us perhaps a more realistic tale containing some poignant moments, some outrageously funny, moments we all wish we never had to experience and also a reminder that a small act of kindness can be remembered and can change someone else's life. PS I Love You may not have the HEA formula attached in the end, but I do think it provides its readers with a sense of contentment. A sense of accomplishment. It wasn't exactly what I had anticipated for it's ending, but like life and something that was preached in this book..not everything turns out exactly the way you plan. So you have to take it as it comes, adjust and finally accept.

I'm so glad Jamie mentioned this book to me, because I really enjoyed it. It was something different, something a touch more realistic and that much more bittersweet. I'm really impressed by Cecilia (I looked her up, and she was only 21 when she published this book!) and I'm definitely looking forward to reading her other books. I've already put myself on her waiting list.

FYI..PS I Love You movie rights have been bought by Warner Brothers so we should probably see this one out on the big screen some time in the future. I can't wait!


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