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PS, I Love You: A Novel Hardcover – February 3, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Cecelia Ahern's debut novel, PS, I Love You, follows the engaging, witty, and occasionally sappy reawakening of Holly, a young Irish widow who must put her life back together after she loses her husband Gerry to a brain tumor. Ahern, the twentysomething daughter of Ireland's prime minister, has discovered a clever and original twist to the Moving On After Death concept made famous by novelists and screenwriters alike--Gerry has left Holly a series of letters designed to help her face the year ahead and carry on with her life. As the novel takes readers through the seasons (and through Gerry's monthly directives), we watch as Holly finds a new job, takes a holiday to Spain with her girlfriends, and sorts through her beloved husband's belongings. Accompanying Holly throughout the healing process is a cast of friends and family members who add as much to the novel's success as Holly's own tale of survival. In fact, it is these supporting character's mini-dramas that make PS, I Love You more than just another superficial tearjerker with the obligatory episode at a karaoke bar. Ahern shows real talent for capturing the essence of an interaction between friends and foes alike; even if Holly's circle of friends does resemble the gang from Bridget Jones a bit too neatly to ignore (her best friend is even called Sharon).

While her style can be at times repetitive and her delivery is occasionally amateurish, Ahern deserves credit for a spirited first effort. If PS, I Love You is any indication of this author's talent, readers have much to look forward to as Ahern matures as a novelist and a storyteller. --Gisele Toueg

From Publishers Weekly

Ahern, the mediagenic 22-year-old daughter of Ireland's prime minister, debuts with a sweet, sentimental tale of a young widow's trials and triumphs in the year after her husband's death. Soul mates Holly and Gerry married in their early 20s; when Gerry dies of brain cancer at 30, Holly is utterly bereft. But Gerry has a final gift: a series of letters, which Holly is to open on the first of each month from March to New Year's, and which will guide her on her journey from grief. Gerry correctly predicts that Holly will not have gone through his belongings by June, found a new job by September or considered falling in love again by December, but with his posthumous epistolary encouragement she does all those things. She also enters a karaoke contest, takes a beach vacation and dances at a holiday ball she'd always attended with Gerry. The months pass as close friends help prop Holly up; around her, a marriage falls apart, a couple gets engaged and a friend announces her pregnancy. Within her tight-knit family, Holly's youngest brother makes a revealing film of her birthday party, her elder brothers change places in her allegiance and her parents take in one stray grown child after another for stays short and long. Ahern's speed (she wrote the book in three months) and her youth do show-the wisdom in evidence owes much to Nicholas Sparks and Sophie Kinsella-and her prose is pedestrian. She boasts a natural storytelling talent, however, resulting in a compelling tale sparked by an unusual premise.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Hachette Books; 1 edition (February 3, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401300901
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401300906
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (414 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #367,577 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Cecelia Ahern is the author of the international bestsellers P.S. I Love You; Love, Rosie; If You Could See Me Now; There's No Place Like Here; and The Gift. The daughter of Ireland's former prime minister, she lives in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 44 people found the following review helpful By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 13, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Cecilia Ahern makes a splash with "PS, I Love You," a surprisingly charming debut about grief, love, family and struggling to move on with life. While Ahern needs to polish up her writing, she has plenty of raw talent, and a good grasp on her quirky characters.
Holly and Gerry were the perfect couple. Not sickening perfect, but perfect for one another. And so when Gerry dies of a brain tumor, Holly feels utterly lost and depressed, staying in her apartment and deteriorating. Finally she emerges from her cocoon, but still isn't ready to reembrace life. Despite the efforts of her family and friends, she can't move on.
Then she receives a package from beyond the grave: the List. Gerry wrote it before his death, leaving her instructions to do things like buy a bedside lamp, sing karaoke, and ends every note with "PS, I love you." Holly obeys the List -- sometimes happily, sometimes reluctantly -- and her new experiences help her to remember the past, while looking to the future.
"PS I Love You" is not your typical chick-lit. Sure, it has most of the usual trappings -- a young woman out in the world, the loud'n'lovable gay confidante, the outspoken best friend, the eccentric family complete with pink-haired baby sister. But there's no gooey love story with some new Hot Guy Du Jour, nor does it avoid the darker, more depressing experiences.
Ahern's writing is the sort that will be excellent when she gets a bit more writing experience. It's almost painfully awkward in places, the sort of thing that normally gets smoothed over by editors. But she has plenty of talent -- she makes the settings and characters come alive. And she knows how to mix grieving and humor, without making the humor less funny or the grief less heart-tugging.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Erika Sorocco on November 23, 2005
Format: Paperback
Holly and Gerry were the perfect married couple from day one. Always happy, always smiling, and always there for one another. The kind of couple that others envy. But at the age of thirty, Gerry is diagnosed with a life-threatening illness, and soon passes away. Holly is heartbroken. However, months after Gerry's death, Holly receives a package of letters that Gerry left for her before his death, letters instructing her to perform various different tasks that will keep his memory alive. Now, with the help of her closest girlfriends, and a family who drives her crazy, Holly is embarking on a new life that's even greater than the one she was forced to leave in the dust.

There are those books that leave you feeling sad upon completion, and those that leave you with a happy feeling. Cecelia Ahern's P.S. I LOVE YOU is a book that leaves you feeling a mix of both. Her characters are very in-depth, and dimensional, and show various sides of their personalities throughout the novel. This is a story that will make you laugh, and cry along with the characters, and hope for the best outcome possible for them. Like reading about your best friend, P.S. I LOVE YOU features sub-stories that will appeal to both sexes, both young and old. A first-rate first novel that will keep you guessing from first page to last. NOTE: Keep the tissues close by.

Erika Sorocco

Book Review Columnist for The Community Bugle Newspaper
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful By crazyforgems on January 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"PS, I Love You" is an entertaining and enjoyable read.
Holly, the thirty year old heroine, lives in Dublin and loves her life. Then fate delivers a brutal blow: her beloved husband dies and leaves her a very young widow.
The book recounts Holly's first year after her husband's death. His final gift to her is a series of notes to be opened at the beginning of each month. Each note contains one suggestion to help Holly move on with her life. And each note is signed "PS, I love you."
The book is quite moving as it depicts Holly's struggle to follow her husband's suggestions-give away his clothes, take a trip with her friends-and continue living. She realizes that her life had centered almost completely on her husband--not necessarily a good thing-and now, for the first time, she has to create a life for herself.
My only complaint with the book is that I found the writing amateurish at times. The plot, the characters and the ending were all satisfying and fully developed. However, I winced at some of the writing.
Still I would recommend this book to chick lit lovers everywhere.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books on January 19, 2012
Format: Paperback
(This review was originally posted on Alexa Loves Books.)

Cecelia Ahern is another Irish author, but one who I've come to love and appreciate. I thought the book was great! It's probably because the story calls out to the diehard romantic in my soul, focusing on undying, unconditional love as it does.

Holly is an interesting character, riddled with positives and negatives. I like how Ahern showcases both of those sides to Holly throughout the book; but I especially enjoy getting a view of Holly's mourning process after losing her husband at such a young age. The journey she takes (that Gerry leads her on, of course) is fun to follow and I found myself rooting for Holly to be happy again.

I love the supporting characters too though, especially John, Sharon, and Denise. John and Sharon are just the type of couple friends I would want to have in my life in the future. Denise, on the other hand, was a riot (especially with that incident while they were on vacation... but you'll have to read the book to find out what that is!). It was their colorful witticisms and the scenes that Holly shared with each of them that I enjoyed the most.

I think, above everything, it was really the idea of the "list" that I enjoyed. Imagine having someone you love creating a list of things for you to do (or not do, as in the case of the 'spensive white dress) and attempting to accomplish them all? It was interesting to see which tasks Gerry would leave for Holly, as well as watching Holly face her hurdles and overcome them. In a way, it's quite inspiring - it makes me want to get out there and accomplish all those unspoken goals and things to do that I've been listing mentally for years. It's also very moving, as we get to see how Gerry, though he's gone, gets to help Holly move on with her life.

I would definitely recommend this book for fans of romance. It's a nice, fluffy read, perfect to bring along on a weekend trip.
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