Book Review | P.S. I Love You

P S  I  L O V E  Y O U  || C E C I L I A  A H E R N

s u m m a r y

 Holly couldn’t live without her husband Gerry, until the day she had to. They were the kind of young couple who could finish each other’s sentences. When Gerry succumbs to a terminal illness and dies, 30-year-old Holly is set adrift, unable to pick up the pieces. But with the help of a series of letters her husband left her before he died and a little nudging from an eccentric assortment of family and friends, she learns to laugh, overcome her fears, and discover a world she never knew existed.

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ps i love youI went into this novel with extremely high expectations, because I have heard nothing but praise about the movie, which I have not seen. I’m the type of reader who almost always reads the book first. Naturally, I expected the movie to be fantastic, and thus, the book to be even better. I was… sort of disappointed.

Plot: The premise itself was unique, promising and super sweet. When a loved one passes away, all you wish is that they would have said something else, something more. I’m not a hopeless romantic; I hate novels with touchy-feely, excessive amounts of PDA laced within the pages, so a plot that seemed to promise an incredibly romantic, incredibly sweet love story without all the cheese just seemed so appealing. The story itself wasn’t bad. It’s about a young woman, who has lost the love of her life, who in his own way tried to help her heal herself after he was gone. Aw, it’s cute as hell. Holly’s transition from the start of the story to the end is somewhat remarkable, and we see her transitioning in several ways, with the help of her family, her friends, and of course, her late-husband throughout the novel. Also, there were some major ‘lulz’ and since books usually don’t make me laugh, that was impressive. So, yes, the story was pretty nice. 4/5 stars.

Setting: I feel like for a novel to be effective and real, the author needs to pay close attention to where it’s set. Even minor descriptions within the pages would have been nice, refreshing. I don’t know what Holly’s house looked like- I cannot imagine it for the life of me. Nor do I know what her street looked like, what her car looked like. When we have a protagonist, I feel a lot is shown about their personality when the author shows us what the protagonist notices: does she notice people’s clothes, does she notice the plants when she’s driving, does she notice cars, does she like her neighborhood, yes? Why? That was completely lacking. Set in Ireland, nothing about Irish culture was shown to me. I forgot this was set in Ireland, only to remember when Ahern points out SEVERAL times that this story is set in Dublin. Show me, stop telling me.

Characters: This was another thing I had sort of an issue with. The characters were extremely two-dimensional, except maybe Richard. We have the widowed protagonist, who’s trying to get over her husband’s death. Holly was kind of annoying because she was so extremely, disgustingly bitter towards everyone. I can’t imagine being in her position, but I think some likability towards her character would have been good. I did appreciate her loyalty to her husband, though. Then we have the two extremely clichéd best friends: Sharon, the more responsible one, and Denise, the wild-child, party enthusiast. And that’s it. That’s all they were. Denise undergoes a drastic change, but we are never told why or how. Then there’s Daniel who just seems to be there. There is no chemistry between him and the protagonist. Ciara, the bubbly sister who is rebellious and an adrenaline junkie. What else? Again, Richard was the only interesting character in the story, and I think he was more of a plot-point towards showing Holly’s character development (almost non-existent) than a character. We see him evolving, albeit barely. But he does, and I wish I would have seen more of him and his relationship with his family, rather than just Holly.

Writing Style: Ugh, the writing style was the main negative about this book. I can’t get over how middle-schooly the writing was. It was dull, indifferent, emotionless and just bland. I tried counting how many times the word “giggled” was used, and I lost count; also, it’s safe to say that “giggled” is now one of my most-hated words, just by the sheer amount of times I saw it written in this book. I feel like there was no figurative language within the novel, the vocabulary was limited (thesauruses do exist, ya’ know) and she was telling us what was going on, rather than showing us. Just, ugh, I can’t get over how amateur the writing was. I mean, give me the idea and I’d write a better novel.

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