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
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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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