This book has been in my local bookstore’s bestseller list for over a month now.  And here is no wonder why:

Author :  Cecelia Ahern

Published Date :  September 2008

Publisher  :  Harper Collins

No. of Pages :  489

ISBN : 978-0-06-172901-0

Synopsis :

In London, Justin Hitchcock braves a blood donation drive, despite a phobia of needles, to secure a date with the program’s hot doctor.

In Dublin, Joyce Conway nearly loses her life in a tragic accident.   She survives but suddenly acquires a vast knowledge and passion for art and architecture and a hoard of memories, belonging to someone she’s never met.

In a chance meeting at a salon, Joyce and Justin feel an inexplicable connection, despite being strangers.  Events then conspire to lead them in a merry serendipitous  chase of catching glimpses of each other, finding out who each other is, and solving the riddle of such thump-thumping of the heart for a virtual stranger.

The Review :

Cecilia Ahern is a delightful author who knows how to write a cute, adorable love story sans the mush.  Well, maybe, there’s a little of it (you gotta have a little or there wouldn’t be a romance, right?); but not much at all, which makes it quite refreshing as long as you can lose yourself in a little absurdity.

The lovely thing about this book is that love here is not confined to romance.  Although the developing romance does drive the plot, most of the book actually depicts a beautiful relationship between father and daughter.  In fact, it does occupy a sizable chunk of it.  Ahern makes good use of the romantic framework to write about the strong filial bonds between father and daughter, love between siblings, and true friendships.

I  enjoyed the nice, heart-warming dialogues between the characters, Joyce and Dad, the most.  Here’s one…

On missing her mom:

‘Do you miss her?’

‘It’s been ten years, love.’

It stings that he could be so dismissive.  I fold my arms and look away, silently fuming.

Dad leans closer and nudges me.  ‘And everyday, I miss her more than I did the day before.’ …

‘It’s like my garden, love.  Everything grows.  Including love.  And with that growing everyday how can you expect missing her to ever fade away?  Everything builds, including our ability to cope with it.   That’s how we keep going.’….

And another :

‘And I just thought you liked pottering,’ I smile.

‘Ah , there’s a lot to be said about pottering…There are lessons in pottering.’

‘Like what?’  I try not to smile.

‘Well, even a garden grows stranglers, love.  It grows them naturally, all by itself.  They creep up and choke the plants that are growing from the very same soil as they are.  We each have our demons, our self-destruct button.  Even in gardens.  Pretty as they may be.  If you don’t potter, you don’t notice them.’…

Years from now, I may not remember the romance nor the book.  But, I would probably remember that I’ve read about a wonderful father-daughter relationship  somewhere.

To Read or Not To Read? :

The novel runs on simple, contemporary writing and some funny endearing characters.  It’s a light, fast read that’s splendid for indulging in short “alone” times, or for toting around your vacation.  Also a perfect book to pick up in between heavier reads.  So, if you just want something in this range,  this book is good—not a compelling page-turner; but it’s far from boring or shallow either.

The Final Word :

Although Thanks For The Memories may have a predictable plot,  there’s a  lot of heart in this book.  A modern fairy-tale-like romance with a wide mass market appeal, this book  must have gently tugged many a reader’s heartstrings  to have made it to a leading bookstore’s list of  must-read books since January.

My Mark :  Good; Quite Enjoyable

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Author : Gabriel Garcia Marquez

 

First Release Date : March 12, 1988

Publisher : Alfred A. Knopf; 1st edition

Paperback Release Date : October 30, 2007

Publisher: Vintage Books

ISBN-10: 0307387143

ISBN-13: 978-0307387141

Pages : 368 pages

 

 

 

As you start reading through the first few pages, you know you are in the hands of a master writer. This is a beautiful old-fashioned love story, the kind with a rare level of passion, perhaps almost incomprehensible to today’s egocentric driven modern culture.

 

It is a story of a love that spans almost a lifetime in the strange but persevering character of Florentino Ariza, who as a youth, is struck by love when he spies the enigmatic Fermina Daza. He woos her, wins her for a time, but as fate and youthful caprice would have it, loses to her to a marriage with a more worldly and accomplished Dr. Juvenal Urbino. Despite his personal devastation, Florentino continues to love Fermina with a constant yearning for 51 years and through 622 affairs, which teaches him that there is not just one way to love nor only one person you can love; but there can only be that one true love. Florentino Ariza’s incredible depth for passion and obsession drives him to live for this woman and experience a love that endures the test of time.

 

But the story is not just all about Florentino Ariza’s invariable fervor, which is central to the plot. There is also the sub-story of Fermina’s and her husband, Juvenal Urbino’s love that started out simply as affection and which, through the years of marriage, grew as deep as in any blessed union.

 

There are many other little “loves” in this book that makes for a very romantic epic but one refreshingly devoid of mush. It owes its flavor to Marquez’s formal lyrical style which charms the reader to breathe in his moving, romantic prose. This is the type of book that you may want to go back to, after a while — for a little paragraph here and there, just to find the pleasure once more of absorbing exquisite phraseologies, the style of which I find quite unique to the author.

 

 

For incurable romantics, this is a perfect book for the heart. This is the stuff of nobility, where love is tenacious and its hope, eternal. I have yet to read a romantic masterpiece that can rival this one. It is written with such rich language and with such powerful evocative feelings that you will have missed something if you haven’t yet picked up this book. It’s just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

 

 

My Mark : Excellent

 

Note: I just wanted to point out that personally,  I found the affair between a minor and an aged Florentino quite disturbing and offending.  This is  the only part I wish the author did not let his character stoop to.  But perhaps, he wanted Florentino to have tried all sorts of love —  even those that have no prejudice toward age. This, however, does not change my overall opinion of the book which is to say, that this book is a GEM!