Monday, 16 July 2012

Ironic Read 1: P.S. I Love You by Ceclia Ahern

I am one of those readers that normally strays away from books that are being devoured by the general public, particularly non-bookworms. So, I had no intention of reading Ceclia Ahern's P.S. I Love You- an international bestseller. I knew it had been made into a feature film, but I had also heard rave reviews from the aforementioned non-readers around me. Why I turn away from such crowd-pleasing novels is a whole other story. That being said, I must explain why I picked up this book. Long story short: I have been reading books in the virtual form far too long. And let's face it;e-books DO NOT have the charm of paper and ink. I read this book out of necessity. Indeed, my collection of digital tomes is at an all time low and I just came back from visiting book-phobic relatives who happen to have a threateningly low number of leisure-reading books and very many weight-enhancing albeit tasty food items. So, as you must have surmised, P.S. I Love You happened to be in their book collection (it was a gift I was told that only one member of the family has read so far). A real, mouthwatering, paperback- I couldn’t say no!

This story starts with a sobbing widow Holly Kennedy. It has been over a month since the death of her childhood sweetheart and soul mate Gerry. In midst of her heartbreak, confusion, and trauma she picks up a call from her mother who tells her Gerry had left a packet addressed to Holly. Holly finally makes it out of her house to claim her packet which turns out to contain ten letters, one for each of the remaining months of the year, which Gerry had written on his deathbed. These letters all dictate one thing Holly must do that month. Along with her closest friends and kind, big family, Holly makes it through the year. She even makes new friends, one who almost becomes more than just a friend. She overcomes fears and does things that bring back painful memories of Gerry. She becomes a stronger person.

The book is well written, but I cannot help but think it doesn’t send out the best message. Holly’s pain is understandable. She keeps lapsing into long phases of despair and hopelessness. She cannot bring herself to be happy for the good news in her friends’ lives, and she feels guilty for this. These are all things that are expected for a person who just lost a loved one, but Holly’s solution to all of this inevitably seems to be drinking and partying. I mean, fine, Gerry indirectly encourages this behavior through his monthly requests, and yes, they are Irish (stereotypes, stereotypes...), but overall, it all seems quite insensitive. I think Ahern could have aimed for a better route to recovery. When Holly isn’t whining and pining over Gerry or ignoring the people who care for her, she’s getting drunk! Not that Gerry’s plan doesn’t work. Holly manages to start to pull herself, her finances, and life together by the end of the year, but it seems haphazard. This book didn’t cut it for me. I could read through it without getting bored, indeed I did stay up till 3 A.M. to finish it, but I stand by my previous statement. This highly popular book is indeed overrated. The best reason I could think of for reading this book is that I got it in paperback form!

Rating: 2/5 Stars

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