Friday, March 4, 2011

P.S. I Love You -- Cecelia Ahern


[NOTE: If you have seen the movie and not read the book, you have missed out something. The movie was horrible compared to the book and had a different story. The latter is way better. If you loved the movie, then you are in for a treat. If u hated the movie, there are all the more reasons to read this to see what you have missed. So read on.]
Alright all you guys. Don’t make the hasty decision of skipping this review just seeing the mushy title. This book could be title-less and even then it would make an AMAZING read. And ladies, please don't expect a super-mushy love story with a happily ever after story. Suckers for happy ending though, would not be disappointed by this book. Whatever the case, you would be enamoured by the warmth exuded by this captivating book.
P.S. I Love You is an unique, unusual and beautiful story of love, loss and letting go. Holly and Gerry met in school, fell in love and stayed in love forever, and forever in their case transcended life and death. Literally. They were a picture perfect couple whom everyone would envy (yea even the readers). They were nothing short of being soul mates. Gerry treated her like a princess and made sure nothing bothered her, but at the same time didn't leave any chance to pull her leg and irritate her. Holly used to hate it but loved him nevertheless. It all changed when Gerry's nagging (and much ignored) headache turned out to be brain tumour which slowly weakened him and eventually killed him. Holly, who always thought they would last for a lifetime, was left confused, angry, numb, devastated, helpless and alone in spite of having her huuuge family and a gang of best friends. Life wasn't the same without Gerry for her. She was sure that her life would stop now that Gerry's gone. And Gerry knew that Holly would stop living after his expected death. So, to help Holly come out of the grieving period he did the most loving and unexpected thing. Something who can never even think of doing. He left behind a series of letters (which was actually a joke they had once shared). Each letter had a 'task' which Holly had to do. They proved to be the gentle nudge and the baby steps that Holly had to take just to get out and start living a normal life again. The way those letters reached her and the way they slowly but steadily changed her life amazed one and all. Each letter will surely melt your heart. The delicate way with which each letter had been written with love, planned and executed will blow your mind and bring you down to tears. (Applicable for women. For sure). It just shows how well he knew her. He seemed to know every action that Holly would do after his death and knew that she wouldn't listen to anyone but him. Thus, this creative idea was conceived which beautifully served the very purpose that Gerry wished for.
Holly was not alone when she was left widowed prematurely. Her amazingly supportive and eccentric family kept her smiling, stuck by her when she cried. People will love Ciara and her little brother Declan. These two characters lighten up things but at the same time they are not just fun elements in the book. It has been showed in an unbiased manner that every single person in the family and her friends group had their own set of problems to deal with and that she wasn’t the only one dealing with a crisis. Every member learns something more about each other after Gerry's death and unknowingly teaches others something about life's uncertainties and complexities and beauty. A heart-warming part of the book to look out for. Next come her friends who advised, scolded, guided her and picked up when she fell. They did exactly what Gerry would have wanted them to do. They didn't shower her with pity or sympathy. They just made sure that she moved on and always looked out for her. I'm sure you'll find your best friends in Denise, Sharon and John. And there are moments where you choke up. I did when John tells Holly about what the relation he and Gerry shared meant to him and how he misses him a lot. (I cried for straight 5mins because I almost related it to my best friend and thought I never want to be in that place). And the final dash of spicy confusion is added when a man enters a picture who apparently falls in love with Holly. How Holly deals with him is like a crazy roller coaster ride. You’ll find your loved ones in all or some of the characters and learn some crucial lessons along with them. The most important lesson being that life, indeed goes on, whatever happens. You've got to catch up with it if you don’t want to be left behind.
Cecelia Ahern was only in her early 20s when she wrote this book. Many say she was too naive in her writing but I felt that, that very innocence added a special charm to the book. By the time I finished reading (3 times!!) I was wishing desperately for my own 'Gerry'. C'mon, any sane girl would want that!! It had wonderful moments of laughter, 'I-don't-want-that-to-happen-with-me' moments, when tears will roll down your cheeks without resistance, will leave a silly smile when some event reminds of a similar faint memory tucked somewhere in your head, those 'I-can't-live-with-my-family and can't-live-without-them' instances, some moments will engulf you with the excitement of a 3 year old, some will leave you with unbearable pangs of pain, moments of indefinable bliss, pinch of hope and scoops of comforting warmth. All in all, a perfect recipe to satisfy your insatiable bookish appetite. Holly and Gerry moments will leave you wanting for more. The delicate love portrayed is beyond belief. Stories where dying for your love is common and passé. Here is a story of what one can do for his love after his death. This book will touch your heart in a massive way and will make you want to fall in love. Once you read this book, Holly and Gerry will never leave your mind. And heart.