Welcome to our new weekly section of the blog; Geeky Friday. One of my favourite things about finishing uni (and actually, I think it might be the only good thing so far) is having the time to read for fun. Final year made me feel guilty for even picking up a magazine when I could've spent the time reading Benjamin or Barthes, and the former years were spent in the pub. Novels and suchlike were reserved for holidays by the beach, but now I'm one of the many
unemployed graduates taking a really long summer holiday I am a fully fledged member of my local library. (Old book smell, yay!)
Now, I have a bit of a guilty secret. Whilst I consider myself to be pretty well educated and have good taste when it comes to things like photography, art, music and films (ok...scratch music....I sometimes listen to The Saturdays...), one of my favourite things to read is Chick Lit. God, I hate that term, but basically; if reading the novel will make me drop a few brain cells by reading it, then sling it my way. This was especially true at the start of summer when my head was full of academia.
However, Cecilia Ahern's 'A Place Called Here' is not one of those books. You'd be forgiven for thinking that it is, with it's overtly girly cover (actually, the cover of this really irritates me as it doesn't do the story justice at all) and with Ahern's track record of producing a book every other minute after the success of PS I Love You, but this is a genuinely lovely book. And there is nothing wrong with lovely! The prose is very easy to read, and although the main character takes a little getting used to, its' pace quickens towards the end.
"Ever since the day her classmate Jenny-May Butler vanished, Sandy Shortt has been haunted by what happens when something -- or someone -- disappears. Finding has become her goal. Jack Ruttle is desperate to find his younger brother Donal who vanished into thin air a year ago. So then he spots an ad for Sandy's missing persons agency, he's certain that she will answer his prayers and find his missing brother. But then Sandy disappears too, stumbling upon a place that is a world away from the only one she has ever known. Now all she wants, more than anything, is to find her way home."
There are so truly poignant moments in here, tiny tit-bits of beautiful writing that on many occasion brought a lump to my throat. Although the setting could at first glance be described as far-fetched the prose is expert in that it makes the eventuality entirely believable. There are some delicious twists to the story toward the end (that I didn't see coming, but maybe I was being naive) but I haven't finished it yet so I'll have to let you know if the amazon reviews of 'rushed and thoughtless' at the end ring true to me as well.
I'd recommend it purely for the few moments of poignancy. It isn't one of the greatest novels of all time, but a pleasant read with a roller-coaster of emotion carrying along the tale.
Amazong reviewers gave it an average of 3 1/2 out of 5 stars, which I'd consider to be pretty fair.