How to sum up trying (and failing) to keep things up around here?
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.
MY RATING: 4 STARS
I saw the movie first, and came into the book understanding that the two were very
different...so much so, in fact, that it doesn't even seem fair to me
to say one is better than the other. This focused a lot more on Holly's
grief, but it was still downright hysterical at times and balanced humor
and sadness rather well. That's a quality I like in a book, and a skill
I admire in a writer.
Oh, look! A readers' group discussion guide! I'll use it to write a review! (Spoilers ahead!)
At what point does the book hook you? What makes you keep reading?
not to be cliche, but I was hooked from the first page. It had some
slow points and Holly's constant bellyaching got old a few times (I know
she's in mourning, but can we please move on with the story?), but it
was mostly the humor that kept me going. I couldn't wait to see what
kind of hijinks was around the corner.
Keeping in mind that Cecelia Ahern was twenty-one when she wrote P.S. I Love You, discuss her strengths as a storyteller.
ahem, a young storyteller myself, I was rooting for her, and she
stacked up a hell of a lot better than other young authors I've read.
Her prose was light and funny, but also impressively mature and moving.
There were a few times her inexperience showed in the way she told her
story and the language she used to tell it, but that's only my opinion,
for what it's worth. For the most part, the narrative was so good that I
couldn't believe a twenty-one-year-old had written it. It had much more
depth than I was expecting, based on prior experience, from such a
Look at the first two paragraphs of Chapter
One. What information does Ahern provide at this early stage to set up
the story that follows?
Oh, wow. Like I said, I was hooked from
the first page. That was a pretty powerful opening, and I knew I was
going to cry before the book was over. The impact of Gerry's death on
Holly and the loss she feels hit me right in the head like a frying pan.
I repeat: this was very mature and moving coming from someone so young.
What is so compelling about a list left by a loved one who has died? How does the list help Holly?
a premise to base a story on! It was so intriguing and felt so novel!
Gerry was gone, but he was still there with Holly through his notes, and
I felt her anticipation and excitement as she waited until it was time
to read another. Ultimately, though, the notes had to come to an end,
but they were a way to ease Holly into letting Gerry go and moving on
with her life, and it was such a bittersweet and thoughtful way of doing
Think about Holly's reaction to Gerry's karaoke instruction. How does the experience help her?
karaoke! One of the best parts! A little lump came to my throat when I
read Gerry had planned it months in advance, knowing he wouldn't be
there with her and that she would have to go through with it for her own
sake. It was good for Holly to step outside of her comfort zone and
face an old fear with the actual karaoke, and then to be surrounded by
family and friends without Gerry at her side. She had to find an
identity outside of his wife, and the karaoke was just another step
towards moving on.
Even though Gerry is dead, how does he come alive in the book?
now, he didn't really "come alive" for me. It felt more like hearing
everyone talk about this wonderful person, but never actually meeting
this person for myself, and that came as a disappointment. To be fair on
Ms. Ahern, it's hard to resurrect the dead for the reader, and I think
it would have been tough to pull off. It was such a shame for a
character with such impact on the story to come off so...ghost-like,
especially when the others were so vivid they just seemed to fill my
head, but I guess it's only fitting that it worked out that way, given
what the book is about.
Discuss who experiences a transformation in P.S. I Love You.
taking the easy way out and going with the obvious answer. At the
beginning of the book, Holly is a devastated widow. She won't leave the
house, she won't eat, and she's lost the other half of her heart. I
cried for her and with her. Then little by little, she starts taking
baby steps towards recovery, and it's wonderful that Gerry was still
able to help her move on, even while she mourned him. She has her
triumphs and setbacks when she reverts back into the wreck she was at
the first, but by the end she emerges stronger, a woman who has learned
to shape a new life for herself, to find herself and a sense of purpose,
and to just live, period. It started so sad, but it ended so hopeful I
had a smile on my face when I finished reading.
All in all, I
enjoyed reading this. It made me laugh, cry, and think, and as far as
I'm concerned, that makes it a success with me. I was pestering both my
mother and my sister to read this once I was done with it, and I would
be quick to recommend it. I felt a sense of camaraderie with Holly that
doesn't often happen with other books. She felt so genuine and so real,
and it's rare that I feel so close to a character so quickly. That Ms.
Ahern was able to pull that off was terrific.
Your humble book nerd,