All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Postscript by Cecelia Ahearn

on October 14, 2019

Postscript (P.S. I Love You #2)
Cecelia Ahearn
Harper Collins
2019, 368p
Copy courtesy Harper Collins AUS

Blurb {from the publisher/}:

It’s been seven years since Holly Kennedy’s husband died – six since she read his final letter, urging Holly to find the courage to forge a new life.

She’s proud of all the ways in which she has grown and evolved. But when a group inspired by Gerry’s letters, calling themselves the PS, I Love You Club, approaches Holly asking for help, she finds herself drawn back into a world that she worked so hard to leave behind.

Reluctantly, Holly begins a relationship with the club, even as their friendship threatens to destroy the peace she believes she has achieved. As each of these people calls upon Holly to help them leave something meaningful behind for their loved ones, Holly will embark on a remarkable journey – one that will challenge her to ask whether embracing the future means betraying the past, and what it means to love someone forever…

It’s been a long time since I read P.S. I Love You. In fact I’m not sure how long ago it was……I added it to Goodreads in 2010 but that’s about when I joined Goodreads and I was just adding books I owned and have read. It was published in 2003, if I had to guess I’d say I read it around 2006 or 2007. I’ve actually never seen the movie but I remember the story enough. Holly’s husband Gerry died of a brain tumour, leaving her behind letters to be opened every month after his death. The letters encouraged Holly to get on with her life, put herself outside of her comfort zone.

It’s now six years since Holly read that last letter. She’s been to rock bottom but she’s come back up. She’s been dating someone for a couple of years, she’s working. Then her sister encourages her to do a podcast which talks about the letters. And a group of terminally ill people reach out to Holly to ask her for help to leave their own letters to their loved ones, to read when they’re no longer around.

This book was definitely a struggle for me, but not because of the writing. I think lately I’ve read quite a lot of heavy and depressing topics – even the middle grade series I’m reading with my son is really very heavy and takes an emotional toll. I’m also very sensitive to cancer books and I don’t like to read about cancer in fiction. And this is a book with lots of terminally ill people in it so it’s pretty obvious that some or most of those illnesses are going be cancer. I sort of didn’t actually think about that going into the book, I just wanted to find out how Holly was doing after Gerry’s death. This book satisfied my need to know the ‘after’ – what happens after we close the book on that final page.

I didn’t think just how much reading about this sort of thing might bother me. And it did – especially Ginnika, a young single teen mother who is in the group that approach Holly. That part of the story was probably the most confronting for me, because she’s simply so young and also because of what she will be leaving behind. There were other things about the story that bothered me a little, particularly the toll this takes on Holly’s own mental health at first. She doesn’t really consult anyone that she’s going to do it, just decides and then hides it from people like her partner because she doesn’t want to face their misgivings about it. And the thing is, even though this is Holly’s decision to make, they’re right to have misgivings about what this might do for her. Holly has come a long way but immersing herself in a group of people who are terminally ill is just a very difficult thing to do, especially when you have the baggage that Holly does. And without advice or even some strategies on how to cope too. Holly also starts kind of seeing things the way she would’ve wanted it done, rather than for the people that are being left the letters, which causes some issues as well, although in some cases she does give quite good and helpful advice. I think she helps the people dying realise that for the most part, they won’t be forgotten, which is their biggest fear. Even without leaving letters or videos, etc, they will never be forgotten. Except in the case of Ginnika, who has a daughter that is barely one – her fear is real.

There were a few other parts of this that I felt skipped over important or key events or events that were just too difficult to be explained away logically, such as the changing circumstances of the custody of Ginnika’s baby after her eventual death. But I did appreciate that at the end, Holly sought some help for her goal, got some clarity and goals and also some perspective. She was able to take a step back and realise that she didn’t have to do everything herself. And that there was a ‘market’ (for lack of a better term?) for this but that she didn’t have to be the one that did everything and was there every single step of the way.

I enjoyed finding out how Holly was doing and how she was moving on with her life. I thought that Gabriel, the man she met, was wonderful (albeit with a few issues that mostly just serve as plot devices to cause tension) and I always enjoyed her family. The book was hard to read in some parts (very hard in one in particular for me, for personal reasons) and when I finished it, I felt very flat. I think this is supposed to be uplifting and maybe there are some out there who will find it so and take comfort in it. But I’m not one of those people unfortunately. I think that the book closes with Holly in a good place but she definitely went through the wringer to get there…..again.


Book #160 of 2019

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