Happy Flashback Friday, Reading Nook readers!
I've been kind of obsessing over the adorable Love, Rosie trailer recently, so I figured I'd check out the book before finally watching the movie.
While the book definitely starts off with a great premise of unfulfilled romance and destiny, it seriously starts dragging.
Paperback, 512 pages
Published December 1st 2006 by Hyperion (first published 2004)
Format read: Kindle Book (Purchased)
She gets into Boston University, Alex gets into Harvard, and everything is falling into place, when on the eve of her departure, Rosie gets news that will change their lives forever: She's pregnant by a boy she'd gone out with while on the rebound from Alex.
Her dreams for college, Alex, and a glamorous career dashed, Rosie stays in Dublin to become a single mother, while Alex pursues a medical career and a new love in Boston. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel, structured as a series of clever e-mails, letters, notes, and a trail of missed opportunities, Alex and Rosie find out that fate isn't done with them yet.
So with that in mind, I decided to read the original book, in the hopes that I could find even more to love about the story. Unfortunately, Cecelia Ahern's novel just didn't do the trick for me.
The book begins when Rosie and Alex meet at age five, and through a flurry of letters, emails, and instant messages, follows them through the significant milestones of life. Readers see them first begin to realize their feelings for each other as young teenagers, until fate - and one really bad decision on debs (prom) night - intervenes and drives them apart.
Over the next thirty-something years, fate keeps throwing them back together again and again, presenting them with repeated opportunities to correct the path that should have been taken in the first place. And herein lies my problem with this book.
Even after Rosie makes a fateful mistake on debs night that leads her to become an unwed mother at the age of eighteen, and she's separated by Alex as a result of geographic circumstance, Ahern makes it very clear that feelings continue to burn bright on both ends.
There's longing. There's angst. There are repeated conversations with siblings about said feelings, and I'll be frank: had I been on the receiving end of one of those conversations, I would have told either of them to just (wo)man up already, and bring everything out into the open.
(Obviously, I'm not the most patient person in the world, but seriously. Will you people make a move already?)
However, do Rosie and Alex actually act on the angst and those feelings? Nope.
Both characters - especially Rosie - are given multiple opportunities to take the next step and drop the ball, each and every time. Rosie in particular, had an infuriating habit of being on the verge of acting, only to allow herself to be talked out of it for reasons that were more or less irrelevant or could have been solved with a different fix.
This behavior of: feelings => one person considering acting on said feelings => being talked out of acting on said feelings kept happening like a vicious cycle, until I became too frustrated with all parties to actually care whether Rosie and Alex actually got it together in the end or not.
The frustration wasn't helped by the fact that Ahern decided to make Love, Rosie into a epistolary-style novel, which meant that we only got to get to know the characters through letters, emails and texts. There were some pretty gaping character development, including a very annoying writing tic from one character - no/know, anyone? - that made me wonder if an editor had just dropped the ball somewhere.
(Nope! The character is just that willfully dense, despite being an Ivy League-educated heart surgeon.)
Bottom line: this book wasn't for me. I still have high hopes for this movie, but this book has put me off of Ahern for a very long time.
With so many missed opportunities and willfully dense moments from both characters, I didn't find their ultimate journey to be romantic or thought-provoking. Instead, I ended up pitying both of them for taking so long to see what everyone else had figured out years before. I also ended up hating the friends and family of both characters, for essentially enabling their cluelessness for as long as possible.
At the end of the day, I felt more depressed after reading the book, which is probably not something that an optimistic or romantic reader is looking for, especially when you're hoping for a happy ending.
I still have a lot of hope for the movie, but I definitely can't recommend this book.
About the author:
Cecelia Ahern is an international bestseller. She was catapulted into the spotlight with her hit debut novel, P.S. I Love You, which was adapted into a major movie.
Her subsequent novels have captured the hearts of readers in 46 countries - her themes touch a chord with people in every continent, with over 15 million copies of her books sold.