“Their plan had been very simple: to stay together for the rest of their lives.”
Holly couldn't live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other's sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.
The kind of enchanting novel with cross-generational appeal that comes along once in a great while, PS, I Love You is a captivating love letter to the world!
“Nobody's life is filled with perfect little moments. And if it were, they wouldn't be perfect little moments. They would just be normal. How would you ever know happiness if you never experience downs?”
I picked this book up knowing that it was Cecelia Ahern's debut, so I didn't have sky high expectations for it. I definitely loved the premise that a husband would take such measures as to ensure that his wife would gradually be able to come out of her mourning after his death- how he must have loved her! Despite my low expectations for it, I'm really glad I gave this book a shot because it was really, really good! It's not just about learning to accept the passing of one's life partner, it's about how hard it can be to go about with life after the death of someone you love, it's about learning to accept death, it's about learning to enjoy life once again despite the gaping hole left behind after the death of a near and dear one.
I loved that some of the characters were flawed- who isn't? Besides, too-perfect characters always end up annoying me somehow because they tend to be not too relatable. The characters were all superbly developed, even the side characters. Holly's friends and family were painted in an entertaining, realistic way, and I particularly loved seeing the relationship Holly had with her siblings.
“She was a woman who made mistakes, who sometimes cried on a Monday morning or at night alone in bed. She was a woman who often became bored with her life and found it hard to get up for work in the morning. She was a woman who more often than not had a bad hair day, who looked in the mirror and wondered why she couldn't just drag herself to the gym more often; she was a woman who sometimes questioned what reason had she to live on this planet. She was a woman who sometimes just got things wrong.
On the other hand, she was a woman with a million happy memories, who knew what it was like to experience true love and who was ready to experience more life, more love and make new memories.”
The author should definitely be lauded for portraying the reality of a wife after the passing away of her husband in such a realistic way. She covers everything from mourning to what the society expects of the wife and I think she did a really good job. The writing style had us moving back and forth from the present to the past, and we got to see Holly's relationship with Gerry and the kind of person he was, their circle of friends and Holly's family. It is through these memories that we learn about "The List" which Gerry promised he would write for Holly so that she can cope with the loss of Gerry. It was a kind of in-joke between them and their friends, but to everyone's surprise, Gerry had indeed written such a list for Holly, and that was ultimately what helped her deal with such a difficult time in her life.
“Shoot for the moon, even if you fail, you'll land among the stars”
I loved reading Gerry's letters to Holly and it need not be said that this book was very thought-provoking and it really did strike a chord with me. Touching, emotional, tear-jerking- it's everything you'd want in a novel like this. My only complaint is that the writing felt a bit amateurish at times, and despite the story being engaging, I felt the story lacked that secret ingredient that makes stories flow smoothly. This, and the fact that I know Ahern is capable of much more, as she proved in her later novels, is the only reason I settled on rating it a 3/5- it's a glorious 3, mind you!
Overall, I loved this story and thought it was pretty awesome for Cecelia Ahern's debut novel. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone, and I can't wait to check out the movie sometime soon- I've only heard great things about it so far!
“Finding someone you love and who loves you back is a wonderful, wonderful feeling. But finding a true soul mate is an even better feeling. A soul mate is someone who understands you like no other, loves you like no other, will be there for you forever, no matter what. They say that nothing lasts forever, but I am a firm believer in the fact that for some, love lives on even after we're gone.”
The story idea: 4/5
The realization of the story: 3/5
The characters: 4/5
The cover: 3/5
Enjoy factor: 3/5