Monday, November 28, 2005

PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern -- a Book Review

Some people wait their whole lives to find their soul mates. But not Holly and Gerry

Childhood sweethearts, they could finish each other’s sentences and even when they fought, they laughed. No one could imagine Holly and Gerry without each other.

Until the unthinkable happens. Gerry’s death devastates Holly. But as her 30th birthday looms, Gerry comes back to her. He’s left her a bundle of notes, gently guiding Holly into her new life without him, each note signed ‘PS, I Love You’.
As the notes are gradually opened, and as the year unfolds, Holly is both cheered up and challenged. The man who knows her better than anyone sets out to teach her that life goes on. With some help from her friends, and her noisy and loving family, Holly finds herself laughing, crying, singing, dancing — and being braver than ever before.

Life is for living, she realises — but it always helps if there’s an angel watching over you

Short opinions:

‘A bitter-sweet storyline guaranteed to tug on your heartstrings‘

‘Heartbreak, intrique and love letters from beyond the grave — Ahern was sure and symphatetic hand.‘
Irish Times

From this book I tried to imagine how it should be when my beloved one, in this case, my man, is not beside me anymore. But from this book I also think how too fake the story goes, Holly seems to be an immature thirty something lady who only thinks that her husband can however not come back alive anymore so that she receives the love letters from Gerry. The way how she gets the love letters looks more like a fake love letters or a play game that are made by her own friends just to cheer her up till she finally can live a life. Maybe if she didn’t get the love letters she shouldn’t even bother that life goes on.

And to my confusion; Gerry seems to know when he should die so he buys a holiday tickets for Holly and her friends before he dies. According to me, someone who knows he has a wonderful wife and life together with his beloved one would not think of preparing something before the death; I meant, they’re just married, most of the couples would more think of what they can do to get healthier. It seems that it isn’t Gerry who buys the ticket but one of Holly’s friends who uses Gerry’s name to make Holly thinks that it’s really from Gerry. As Holly has caught that the leprechaun aka the secret gardener who continuedly gardens her garden isn’t Gerry, she doesn’t even doubt that all the things she receives are probably from her other friends. Oh poor Holly.

Holly also seems like a woman who doesn’t know what she has to do in her life so that she receives love letter which contains “buy new outfit” in it as any woman can do this by herself without getting told by someone else especially by a ghost named Gerry. Holly doesn’t live lonely on this earth, she has friends who care for her, and she should have felt responsible/needed to buy a new outfit, or even to enjoy the life outside of her home without being guided by letters. Holly is hiding for a month right after Gerry’s death and from this book it makes me think that she doesn’t even take a shower (or rarely) because her friend tells her that she doesn’t look fresh so that she has to go to hairdresser and she doesn’t seem to even clean her house, her friend named Sharon cleans it for her. What the hell does she do hiding inside of her house for a month?!? Only crying and sleeping?!? Imagine this immature thirty something lady.

Discussion Questions
Who is narrating PS, I Love You? Where is the story located? What affect, if any, does location make to the story? Why?
There’s no location make to the story, maybe the author doesn’t want to get reader who has a relate story? I have no idea! — no answer anyway lol –

At what point does the book hook you? What makes you keep reading? What is your favorite part?
Well, I was confused how the love letters should end and how she would be in the end of the story. I have no favourite part. Oh yes, I do! The moment when Holly describes her sister and how her sister describes Holly.

Keeping in mind that Ahern was 21 when she wrote PS, I Love You, discuss her strengths as a storyteller. How effective is she at describing Holly’s experiences? If you have lost a loved one, or know someone who has, discuss how much you relate to Holly’s mourning process.
Cecelia Ahern isn’t effective enough at describing Holly’s experiences. If I have lost a loved one I surely don’t know what to do but I shouldn’t believe that the love letters I receive are from my loved one.

Look at the first two paragraphs of Chapter One. What is going on? What information does Cecelia Ahern provide at this early stage to set up the story that follows?
–- Holly held the blue cotton sweater to her face and the familiar smell immediately struck her, an overwhelming grief knotting her stomach and pulling at her heart. Pins and needles ran up the back of her neck and a lump in her throat threatened to choke her. Panic took over. Apart from the low hum of the fridge and the occasional moaning of the pipes, the house was quiet. She was alone. Bile rose in her throat and she ran to the bathroom, where she collapsed to her knees before the toilet –-
What do you think Cecelia Ahern provides?

Thinking about the book’s early dialogue, like Holly’s wedding preparation in Chapter Two, explore Ahern’s word choices. How does she convey about the story? Read aloud the long paragraph on page 8. What does Ahern reveal about the characters?
“I can’t do it all the time, you know, Hol. Someday I might not be here and then what will you do?” — said Gerry. He already said something like that when he’s still alive and both were making joke before sleep.

Briefly describe Holly’s family and friends. Which characters do you like most? Why?
Her sister. Because she didn’t seem sad when she came back to her country after living in Australia for years. She didn’t seem sad to remember that her relationship with her significant other has ended and to remember that he doesn’t call her yet while she already stays for a month there. She had never cried before and Holly found her crying in her bedroom, it was the first time that she saw her sister crying as the story described Holly has never seen her crying before.

How does the idea of “a list” come about? What is so compelling about a list left by a loved one who has died? How does the list help Holly? Talk about which item was the most difficult for her, and why. If you know anyone who has been left such a list, share how it affected them.
I don’t know what the hell Gerry’s thinking about to include “singing” part on the list. If I have a loved one he should know what I like and can do and what I really don’t like and can’t do. If I get “singing” on the list I have to do from my loved one I should feel forced and it doesn’t cheer me up, nevertheless. And I also wonder how Gerry knows what Holly needs to prepare before it’s the time Holly has to do the things on the list.

Consider the last two paragraphs of Chapter Four, beginning with “Her stomach did a little dance . . .” Discuss your response. What is the author sharing with the reader? How successful is she? Why?
The list, which she thinks it can guide her in her life without Gerry. The author wrote,”if it wasn’t from Gerry, then Holly finally had to accept the fact that he was gone completely from her life and she had to start thinking about existing without him.” It seems that it’s the next step for Holly to get one step ahead. The package showed her that he’s not completely gone from her.

Even though Gerry is dead, how does he come alive in the book? At what point in the book do we learn the most about Gerry? Describe him both physically and mentally.
Gerry’s like a sweet guy who’s Holly’s everything, a shoulder to cry on, a closest person she’s ever known, her childhood friend as lover, someone who knows her better than someone else. About how he comes alive in the book? As I said the story is too fake everything can happen because it’s fake. I meant, the love letters that come from someone who already died, it’s too fake to believe.

Questions are taken from here

On the other side if I was Holly I shouldn’t know what else to rebuild my life if the love letters haven’t arrived. All what I’d do is to fight against the sadness by trying to have some activities to do by myself. Holly’s friends have partner, one of them is expecting a baby and, her closest friend Sharon is preparing for marriage (I guess it’s Sharon but I forgot because I finished reading this book months ago) so I could imagine how lonely Holly feels without Gerry. I meant, feeling lonely in the heart even though there are friends who are ready to help her; it’s understandable for Holly if she ever feels jealous with her friends because they’ve partners. Expecting baby is one of Holly’s dreams. If she gets baby from Gerry she probably won’t really feel sad as the baby will then become her sweet memories with Gerry in a body of another person who is their son. This book however made me more believe that childhood sweethearts exist. It’s very hard to lose someone whom you love in your whole life especially if you know him/her since your childhood. This story is also good for those who also lost their lovers due to the death, it helps them to rebuild their hopes in life ;)

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