I've quite enjoyed previous books of Cecilia Ahern. I picked up her latest North American release The Time of My Life without even a glance at what it was about.
"Dear Lucy Silchester,
You have an appointment for Monday, May 30, 2011.
Lucy's life has been in shambles since she split from the absolutely perfect Blake. She's living in a tatty bedsit, has a ho-hum job and her relationship with her family is somewhat rocky. She's aware of it...
"My life needed me. It was going through a tough time and I hadn't been paying enough attention to it. I'd completely and utterly ignored my life. And now it had written to me, summoned me, and there was only one thing for it. I had to go and meet with it face-to-face."
And here's where I had a (more than a) little trouble getting into the book. Ahern has literally personified Life. Lucy's life appears as an actual person - his sole 'job' is Lucy's life. Lucy's family has signed off on this intervention. This is never really explained, but written as though we already know about such a thing.
I found the first 75-100 pages of The Time of My Life a bit of a slog. Lucy lies. So much of her inner dialogue is presented and then capped off with 'I lied'. So, I thought I had started to put together a picture of this character in my mind just to have it snatched back - more than once. The first part of the book also suffers horribly from lengthly descriptions and run on sentences.
"So in the initial stages I carried that hurt and anger and pity around with me and, due to circumstances I may reveal at a later date, got fired from my respectable job that paid well, but to be able to tell people why I got fired I'd have to tell them why I got fired and I couldn't do that because after so much time it would just frankly be weird to admit a lie of that magnitude, so I told everyone I quit and then the rest of my life fell into its own new place following a bunch of big fat lies." Big breath.
I am glad I persevered as the chick lit elements I was looking for, and expected, did appear and I started to enjoy the book. Ahern cleverly uses a wrong number to great effect. I ended up liking Life as a character. Wrong number Don also grabbed me. Sadly, I never felt the same attachment to Lucy.
Love lost, love found, misunderstandings, missed cues, redemption and reclaiming one's life all play a part in The Time of My Life.
I'm still an Ahern fan, but have enjoyed some of her other titles more. Read an excerpt of The Time of My Life.
"Before she embarked on her writing career, Cecelia Ahern completed a degree in journalism and media communications. At 21, she wrote her first novel, P.S. I Love You, which became an international bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture, starring Hilary Swank. Her successive novels—Love, Rosie; If You Could See Me Now; and There’s No Place Like Here—were also international bestsellers. Her books are published in 46 countries and have collectively sold more than 10 million copies. She is also the cocreator of the hit ABC comedy series Samantha Who?, starring Christina Applegate. The daughter of Ireland’s former prime minister, Ahern lives in Dublin, Ireland." You can find Cecelia Ahern on Facebook.
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