BOOK REVIEW: ‘P.S. I LOVE YOU,’ by CECELIA AHERN

51-dMaLEKKL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_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. No one could imagine them without each other.

When Gerry dies, Holly is devastated. But Gerry has left her a bundle of notes, one for each month of her year, each signed PS, I love you. 

As the notes are opened, the man who knows Holly better than anyone teaches her that life goes on. With some help from friends and family, Holly laughs, cries and finds that life is for living – but it helps if there’s an angel watching over you.

Most of you probably know P.S. I Love You as a movie, but few know that it started as a book. What’s more, the movie and book could not be more different.

I’m a book worm and so I felt it was best that I join fellow book worms on Goodreads. If you’re also a book worm, I recommend signing up. It’s free and you can keep track of what you’ve read, are currently reading, and what you want to read. Better still, you can see what your friends are reading. I currently only have 18 friends on there – very sad – and most of them don’t even use it on a regular basis. I do have a few friends that regularly post updates though and it’s great because we can then talk about the books we’ve both read. When I finished reading P.S. I Love You, I looked at some of the reviews that people posted. I was shocked by the amount of people who loved the movie and hated the book. They couldn’t seem to get past the fact that the book was so different from the movie. I quickly realized that almost every single person that gave the book a bad review had seen the movie first. That’s unfortunate, in my humble opinion. I generally read the book before I see the movie, but when I don’t I still view the book as being what the story was intended to be. I saw the movie quite a few years back and actually had no idea that it was a book. I realized that it was a book last year and put it on my wish list. I started the book in February and finished it within the day.

As soon as I picked up the book, I realized that there was no point in comparing the book and the movie because they were two completely different stories. Sure, they had similarities, but aside from the fact that the names stayed the same and Holly was given letters to help her through the mourning process, they couldn’t be more different. Let’s look at the main differences.

 

MOVIE

  • Holly is American and Gerry is Irish. They live in New York.
  • She receives his letters through the mail each month.
  • She comes from a broken family and it’s just her, her Mum, and her sister, Ciara. Her Dad left when she was young.
  • She meets her husband’s old bandmate, William, while on a vacation in Ireland and they fall in love.

 

BOOK

  • Holly and Gerry are Irish and they live in Ireland.
  • The letters are sent to her parents’ house in a bundle and she is instructed to read one per month.
  • She is close to her family and her parents are happily in love. She has three brothers, Jack, Declan, and Richard, and a sister, Ciara.
  • William doesn’t exist.

 

There are obviously a few other minor differences, but those are what I’d consider to be the main ones. I think it’s important to understand that the book and movie have to be viewed as two different stories that share the same theme. My least favourite change that they made in the movie is how they took out the importance of family. In the movie, Holly and her Mum aren’t particularly close and I feel like Holly relies more on her friends than the support of her small family. It almost felt like Holly blamed her Mum for her Dad leaving. Her Mum also didn’t like Gerry, so that added another dynamic. It’s not until the end of the movie that they reconcile. In the book, however, family is of huge importance in Holly’s life. Her parents are her support and she looks to her Mum especially to comfort her after Gerry’s death. Her relationships with her siblings are also a huge part of the story. She grew up very close to her brother, Jack, and the two of them spent most of the their childhood making fun of Richard, their older and somewhat strange brother. During the book, we see how Richard’s life starts to fall apart and how he looks to his family for support, particularly support from Holly. This brings a strain on Jack and Holly’s relationship, since they were always partners in crime. Ciara, too, has her challenges that draw her and Holly closer together. Holly even finds a way to connect with her youngest brother Declan, despite their age difference. I absolutely loved how Cecelia Ahern addresses family and how they can be united and supportive through thick and thin, despite their differences.

For those of us who are married or dating, we can imagine how difficult it would be to lose our significant other. Of course we could never truly understand the pain of it unless we go through it, but it’s not hard to picture the challenges that would bring. Day to day life would seem impossible to get through at first and the pain would still be there years, even decades later. Losing a loved one is not something you can recover from. I personally can’t fathom a life without Peter by my side and I pray that we’ll grow old together. Unexpected things happen though and life is fragile. It seems unfair that Holly lost her husband while they were both so young. I feel like Cecelia Ahern dealt with this subject in such a sensitive way, having the perfect mixture of sorrow and hope. Having Gerry leave Holly letters was such a sweet way to help her through the grieving process. We all grieve in different ways and Gerry knew that this would be the best way to help his wife through it.

Overall, I preferred the book to the movie. I found it to be more hopeful and uplifting and it focused on a lot more than just Holly’s grief and problems. It focused on family and how they help each other through their most difficult times. Like I said before, you have to view the movie and book as being two separate stories in order to fully enjoy both of them completely.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I will finish here. If you decide to read this book, I hope you like it as much as I did. Just a little warning: the book contains a fair amount of language, so read at your own discretion. If you do choose to read it, prepare yourself for a story that will make you laugh and cry, all the while warming your heart.

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