P.S. I LOVE YOU – book review

About the book

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Genre:  Romance, Womens Fiction chick- lit

Published: September 1st 2003

Pages: 470

PS, I Love You was a number-one bestseller in the United States, Ireland, and several other countries. It was made into a hit movie in 2007 starring Hillary Swank as Holly and Gerard Butler as Gerry. Ahern wrote a sequel, titled Postscript, released in the United Kingdom in 2020.

Summary

PS, I Love You (2004), a novel by Irish author Cecelia Ahern, tells the story of a young widow who receives a series of letters written by her late husband before his death; these letters help her through her grief, compelling her to embark on a series of fun—and often funny—adventures. PS, I Love You is ultimately a tale of love and marriage, death and survival, loss and recovery, and the eternal bond that can unite two people, even after one of them has passed away. It is also about the very human and awkward experience of moving forward alone after the death of a soulmate.

Holly Kennedy holds the sweater of her husband, Gerry Clark. Gerry has just died at the age of thirty from a brain tumor. Holly smells his sweater to remind her of his scent and presence. But as soon as she does, the reality of her loss hits her, and she feels as if she is going to be sick. Holly cannot imagine a life without Gerry, who had been her junior high sweetheart and her one constant source of love and strength for more than fifteen years.

Holly spends her days alone, wandering from room to room inside the home she had shared with Gerry. Consumed with loss, her sleep is fitful, and she rarely leaves the house. One day, her mother, Elizabeth, calls her to check in. Elizabeth has received a large envelope addressed to Holly; Holly assumes it is just another sympathy card. Her mother’s comment that the words The List are written on the top of the envelope shocks Holly. She suddenly knows what the envelope contains and who it is from.

She flashes back to a scene from her past with Gerry. When he jokes that someday he might not be around to do the little things like turn off the bedroom light before bed, Holly laughingly suggests he write her a list of things to do and leave it in his will. It started as a joke, but now, Holly knows, he followed through, sending the list to her mother before he passed away.

After a visit with her best friend, Sharon McCarthy, Holly decides to retrieve the envelope from her mother. She discovers that it is not really an envelope, but a package with no return address. Above the main address are the words The List. She opens the package. On top is a letter in which Gerry assures Holly that she will be able to go on after his death and that she should open and follow the directions inside each small envelope only on the date written on the front of each one. The package contains ten small envelopes labeled with the months March through December. This month’s envelope tells her to buy a bedside lamp so she doesn’t have to get out of her cozy bed every night to shut off the bedroom light-switch. This letter, like all subsequent ones, ends with the words, “PS, I love you.”

For the next nine months, Holly looks forward to opening Gerry’s letters. She, Sharon, and Sharon’s husband, John, marvel at Gerry’s ability to put this project together. He had been so weak and ill toward the end of his life, it must have required a herculean effort.

In April, Gerry instructs Holly to buy a smart new outfit because she will need it in time for next month’s letter. In May, he tells her to put on her new outfit to face one of her biggest fears: singing karaoke live onstage. In June, he asks her to get rid of his belongings; “I’m already here…always wrapping my arms around you,” he writes. In July, he wishes her a “good Holly day,” which she interprets as an order to get ready to go on vacation. In August, he sends her on vacation to Spain for a week with her friends. In September, Gerry advises Holly—who has a hard time finding a job she likes—to get a career she finds fulfilling. In October, he sends her sunflowers with the instructions to plant more, in order “to brighten the dark October days you hate most.” In November, he encourages her to start dating. Finally, in December, he gives his permission for her to fall in love again.

Throughout these letters, buoyed by Gerry’s love and guidance, Holly emerges from the shell she has built around herself. She starts gradually by shopping for an outfit that will get her out of the blue-jeans-and-Gerry’s-shirts combination she’s been living in. The letters introduce more and more action and engagement, providing the springboard for Holly to reenter life once again. In the end, she doesn’t feel abandoned by Gerry or alone and single at a vulnerable time. She feels reconnected to all the amazing things in her life: her friends, her family, her newfound career in magazine advertising—and the eternal memory of one incredible man.

My Review

It is a very interesting read and very emotional one too. Love is the central theme of the book and it is presented in such a beautiful way. Dealing with the death of the beloved can be devastating but life goes on. You have to be keep on living and learn to be happy again for the sake of your family and friends but most importantly, for the same of your lost love who would never have wanted to see you unhappy.

A beautiful well written story which will make you cry for sure and also make you appreciate your loved ones. Cecilia Ahern has created some compelling characters. Her style of writing is simple and sometimes amateurish but the beauty of the story covers all the flaws. The poignancy of loss, letting go and rediscovery is beautifully captured in this story. Its a touching and emotional story about the long road of healing and finding yourself again after losing a loved one. I will definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to read chick-lit.