Thursday, March 22, 2007

P.S. I Love You, C. Ahern

I finished this a couple of days ago & needed some time to sort out my thoughts before posting about it. Cecelia Ahern is the Irish Prime Minister's daughter. Not that that affected what I think about the book or the author, I just thought that was an interesting tidbit. Set in contemporary Ireland, P.S. I Love You is about Holly. Just turning thirty, newly & unexpectedly widowed after the sudden death of her husband Gerry, PSILY follows Holly's emergence from grief into a new life of her own. I guess it's a chick lit, but the subject matter was surprisingly serious for what appeared (my mistake for judging the cover & the blurb) to be more light hearted than it turned out to be.

Gerry has written ten letters to Holly & mailed them to her parents' home, Holly doesn't pick them up until Gerry has been dead two months. One letter per month until the end of the year (March through December inclusive), each letter gives Holly a new task to help her move on. Some are funny (karaoke) and some are poignant & painful (sorting through his belongings). Holly & Gerry had quite a close circle of friends who helped her nurse Gerry through his illness & attempt to help her through grief.

My biggest problem is the fact that Holly's friends, while patient & supportive to an extent, all eventually tell Holly she 'needs to get a grip and move on.' One of the friends goes so far as to say so to Holly's face- and then says 'don't tell so & so I was here (his wife) 'cuz she doesn't know I came.' Oh & BTW, the wife is preggers & needs Holly to stop grieving & be a supportive friend. Someone else is getting married & tells Holly to stop moping & help her celebrate the upcoming wedding. Poor Gerry hasn't even been in his grave a year!

All of my problems revolve around Holly's buddies. I don't think they were truly friends. As far as I'm concerned they were shallow & thoughtless & drank like fish. On more than one occaision they drag Holly out to some event & proceed to get so drunk one or more of them black out- friends who help you like that? Don't need 'em. Finally Holly lands a job she loves & works like the devil to earn her boss' respect & help herself move on. What do the friends do? Berate her for suddenly becoming a workaholic. Never mind that Holly needs the cash & has no real work history & so does need to prove her worth to the boss.

In all honesty, I really like Holly. She sees most of her shortcomings & her strengths & copes admirably with all life throws at her. Her family, like everyone else's, is a mixed bag of ok, pain in the bum & supportive. I thought the letters were a wonderful construct to show Holly's personal growth & her close relationship with Gerry. But the friends? Could've been better. Then again, no friend can be everything you need in a time of crisis, but jeez. Too, Holly could've spoken up earlier & more often and told them what for. None of us are perfect though.

For all of my disike of Holly's friends I enjoyed Ms. Ahern's story about Holly & Gerry. Holly was a likeable person who measured up in the end & became a better person. I'm on the lookout for more of Ms. Ahern's work.


Gavin said...

Holly seems a likeable character. What does chick lit really mean ?
The author is female ? The protagonist female ? or Both ?

Bookwormom said...

Chick lit generally refers to books with young women (in their 20's) embarking upon their full adulthood and most often details their personal relationships. The name 'chick lit' used to primarily mean contemporary romances wherein a young professional lady lived & worked in a major city. The tone is often light & funny. Chick lit has branched out into other genres (mystery & paranormal romance, for example) and has spawned a whole bunch of other subgenres: mom lit (young mothers), lad lit (written from a young man's point of view), etc.

Examples might be Jennifer Weiner and Jane Green (the author of Jemima J among others). The Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella is another example.

Gavin said...

Thanks for the info. I take it that means it's a relatively new genre ?
Is there guylit or dudelit ? :)

film dude said...

just finished watching the film version, i thought harry connick jr. was the best part.