Tag Archives: Cecila Ahern

If You Could See Me Now (Cecilia Ahern) – Review

If You Could See Me NowIf You Could See Me Now by Cecilia Ahern
Age: Adult
Genre: Fiction / Magical Realism
Source: Kindle e-book / library loan
Publisher: Hyperion, 2006
ISBN: 9781401301873 / 306 pages
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Thirty-four year-old Elizabeth does not have it easy. Her younger sister is a reckless, alcoholic who is constantly losing jobs, disappearing, and leaving Elizabeth to do all the clean-up work. Part of this, includes raising Saoirse’s 6-year-old son, Luke. Add to the mix a reclusive and distant father,  and a mother who abandoned the family when Elizabeth was 13, and its no wonder that Elizabeth is constantly hiding away from people. One day, Ivan, an invisible friend from the land of Ekam Eveileb strolls into Luke’s life, but it’s not Luke Ivan was sent to befriend, it was Elizabeth. Can Ivan help Elizabeth learn to cope with the struggles in her life?

This is a very heart-warming and endearing book by Cecilia Ahern. She is definitely one of those consistent authors whose books I can always rely on for a good laugh or tear and for general amusement. I liked this book because it was more psychological than the others. It focuses a lot on dysfunctional families, alcoholism, and on coping mechanisms for the lemons life throws at you. With the help of Ivan, Elizabeth rediscovers her childhood, something that was lost to her when her mother ran off and left Elizabeth to raise her 6-month-old sister Saoirse.

I really liked the character of Ivan. He was funny, innocent, and could get straight to the point in the way that kids too. Ivan, is basically a kid, even though he’s 6 feet tall. He befriends kids who are going to troubles and helps them learn to appreciate and value themselves. Although parts of the book were predictable, I don’t think they took away from the overall message and feel of the book. I really felt for Elizabeth, and as much as I wanted to dislike her sister and father, I could sympathize with them, as they are also the broken-hearted victims of Elizabeth’s mother’s abandonment. I wouldn’t say that this one of Ahern’s best work, but it is entertaining and thoughtful. A few of the storylines could have been expanded (ie, Benjamin), and some of the characters should have had more depth (Poppy), but overall, it was well-balanced and well-paced. This book is a good reminder to all adults to not take life so seriously, and to just stop and let our hair down every once-in-awhile.

The Book of Tomorrow (by Cecila Ahern) – Review

The Book of Tomorrow by Cecila Ahern
Age:Teen – Adult
Genre: fiction / magical realism
Format: Audio CD – Read by Ali Coffey
Harper Collins, 2011
ISBN 31197103871106
7 discs (8 hr., 25 min.)

Tamara Goodwin enjoyed living in the lap of luxury until the abrupt suicide of her father. Having lost her friends, house and all her possessions, Tamara and her mom go to live in the country with her aunt Rosalind and Uncle Arthur. One day, when looking through books in the traveling library, Tamara comes across a locked book with no author and no title. Once she manages to break the lock, she finds that the book is actually a diary, written in her hand for the very next day. Using this book that foretells the future as a guide, Tamara somehow pieces together a story bigger than herself, in an attempt to help snap her mother out of her catatonic state.

The book of tomorrow : a novelCecila Ahern is one of my favorite authors. I loved PS I Love You and No Place Like Here. Her works of magical realism are some of my favorites in the market. This book was no exception. I found myself really enjoying it, and listening to the story unravel. I would listen to the CDs in my car during my commute to and from work. Some nights its was hard to leave my car because I would stay until the disc ended just to hear what happened next.

Tamara’s character was incredibly annoying. rude and selfish at first, seriously, who screams in someone’s ear? Her character did grow on me towards the end. With The Book of Tomorrow, Cecilia Ahern did an amazing job of keeping the reader/listener in suspense as Tamara fumbled her way through the story trying to figure out the following:

  1. what was wrong with her mom
  2. how to cope with the loss of her dad
  3. the loss of her former life
  4. how to grow into a different, nicer person
  5.  and most importantly, to figure out just why Rosalind acted so strange and sketchy around her mother.

I found Rosalind’s character to be really fascinating and complex. Although, a bit of her appeal wore off once I found out her back-story. There were some interesting plot twists that I did not expect and some that I did expect, but still enjoyed nonetheless. There characters were well developed and I loved the country-side setting for the plot. Such a serene backdrop for such a tumultuous and two-faced events.

I think this book is aimed more towards the older teens that for adults. Although there is some foul language and talk of sex, there isn’t anything graphic in the text in that regards. I think older teens will sympathize with Tamara in many ways. For not being understood, for acting out and not knowing why, for wanting attention, for wanting love, for trying to solve a mystery on her own with no one believing her story.  

The narrator: 

Ali Coffey is a wonderful narrator. Her young voice is full of the animation, frustration and insensitivity that one would expect from a 16 year old rich girl. She really brought the character of Tamara to life and I think that gave the character more depth that she would have had in written form.

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A Place Called Here – Review

When Sandy Shortt was just ten years old in Ireland, a local schoolmate went missing with no trace. Something about this disappearance haunted Sandy for most of her life, leading her to search frantically for any lost or missing item. Unlike her name. Sandy is a tall, dark haired beauty on a mission, and this mission leads to a land of unknowns and fateful curiosities. As Sandy grew up, she joined the Irish Garda to search for missing persons, but her drive to work overtime, led her to leave the Garda and start her own missing-persons agency. While en route to meet a new client, Sandy finds herself missing and finally discovers where all the missing things go.

Cecilia Ahern did a fantastic job with this book. Although at times the book dragged on, I really liked the concept and the new world she created in this novel. In the land of the missing, Sandy meets a number of people that she had been searching for her whole life and some point, starts to form closure with her past. There is a particular humor in Irish writing, one with I experienced earlier with The Lacemakers of Glenmara. Its a wry, ironic comedic timing, and Cecilia Ahern’s novel is full of it. Sandy Shortt is a no nonsense type of girl who tries to do her job, while fumbling through life. She has an intersting relationship with her former psychologist from high school that blossoms and dies whenever Sandy inevitably loses something, and it turns into an OCD episode trying to locate the thing. Ahern takes a good look at those that suffer losing a loved one with no answers as to why, or where they went. She tracks their obsession, sleepless nights, but even their eventual progression back into normal life and routine. It definitely makes a person wonder how they would handle having lost a loved one like that. Would you search endlessly? Or accept it as is and go back to normal life, or would you stay stagnant, always hoping and reliving life as if the missing person will show up any minute? The psychology in this book is fascinating, when you look at the handful of characters, from the missing people themselves, to their families reactions and experiences. Niether a sad book, nor a laugh out loud book, No Place Like Here is a great read.

A Place Like Here
by Cecila Ahern
Hyperion, 2008
ISBN 140130964X
352 pages


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Teaser Tuesday (7/28/2009)

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
# Grab your current read.
# Let the book fall open to a random page.
# Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

# You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given! # Please avoid spoilers!

My Two Teasers:

There’s No Place Like Home (Cecilia Ahern)

Was it an accident that we were all here?

Did we stumble upon a blip in the earth’s creation, a black hole on the surface, or was this just a part of life that remained unspoken throughout the centuries?

PS. I Love You -Review

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.

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PS I Love You
Cecila Ahern
Published by Hyperion, 2005
ISBN 1401309169
470 Pages