I saw the movie, PS I Love You, with Hilary Swank on Friday, then realized I had borrowed the book from a friend a few months ago. I finally decided to pick it up and read it. And read it I did. All 470 pages of it, cover to cover in 2 days.
The short review is that this book is amazing.
The longer review would consist of me rambling on and on about the strength, quality, and message of this novel and its ability to trangress over seas into the States with ease.
I’ll try to stay somewhere in the middle.
Set entirely in Ireland, Holly has recently lost her husband to an unforseen brain tumor. In the course of a year, she recieved letters written by Gerry, that he had written before he passed away. These letters help give Holly the strength to get back on her feet and slowly reassemble her life, and be able to move on from this tragic loss and find joy and happiness. She manages to do with with the help of her family, and close friends, while making some new friends along the way.
What I love about the book, and it was Ahern’s first novel in case you were wondering, is her ability to exactly pin-point the emotions, thoughts and fears that someone in mourning goes through. Its never easy losing someone you love, and its less easy trying to deal with those emotions when trying to prove to your support system that you really are doing fine, especially when you are not. This book will probably be a code of conduct for anyone who has lost someone very special in their lives. Ahern manages to eloquently and accurately address the issues of coping and going back to a normal life.
Ahern writes “They were just formalities, something else to check off the “things that normal people do” list. None of these things filled the hole in her heart” (p 382), in regards to finding a job, and getting her life organized again.
The question of what is normal is a strong theme in this book. How can a person go back to a normal life, when they only life they knew revolved around the one person that is no longer there? You can’t go back to a normal life. You have to start your life all over again, from the very beginning, and that is not an easy thing to do, and that is Holly’s struggle throughout the entire book. Finding her life, her way without Gerry. Its an emotional struggle, and one I can understand and relate to very well.
My review of the movie, will be pretty short. I liked the adaptation from the book. So much of the book was altered and deleted for the movie, but it still didn’t change the message, the essence, the heart of the book. It was very clear and I honestly like both. They help fill in the gaps for each other. The movie gave Gerry a form, a life. He was otherwise non-existent in the book. While you could feel that he was a strong character, a strong presence in the lives of those around him, it was really the movie that made the viewer cry for his loss. It was the book that helped define Holly and show us how she really changed and learned to evolve without Gerry in her life.
So much for my promise of trying to keep this review short. Its a beautiful book, and I really encourage anyone who hasn’t, to pick it up.
ISBN 1401309169 470 Pages