I was not familiar with Cecelia Ahern until one of her novels, P.S. I Love You, was made into a film. I remembered people were fussing over the movie, so I decided to give her novel a try.
Reading the said novel did not fail to disappoint me. Ever since then, I planned to buy all of her books and always anticipated her upcoming ones. I am truly fascinated by her writing style and by the originality of the story she creates. And I can say that The Time of My Life, her recent work which was released last year, is just that.
Here’s the plot description from the back cover of the book:
It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.
But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless she learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.
Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.
It is evident in the story that Lucy has a complex relationship not just with her friends, but also with her family. She doesn’t have the heart to spend quality time with them – always finding an excuse to leave before the actual get-together ends – which proves to show her way of escaping from the reality and the truth she must face. But, of course, everything starts to change when she meets her life.
What saddens me the most is the outcome of Lucy and her father’s relationship with one another. She hopes to have a closer relationship with her dad but couldn’t seem to make it happen. There’s always a tension between them. While Lucy thinks it’s her fault for bringing disappointment in her family, I come to realize that her father has his faults as well. Every daughter wants to make their parents proud, but no matter how hard she tries, her father shows otherwise – her perfectionist father who couldn’t distinguish the difference between reality and ideal.
Anyway, moving on, I like how Lucy and her Life’s friendship deepens as the story progresses. Despite her initial disregard of accepting the invitation to have an appointment with her life, meeting her life has surely made a great impact in her. Her life’s job is to help her get back on track and obviously teach her how she should deal with her life itself. There are times when it seems that her life has already something planned out for her without her knowing it and the outcome ends up satisfyingly good. Well, her life’s efforts are not wasted, that’s one thing I can tell for sure.
Moreover, I also come to love how Cecelia Ahern creates a contrast between Blake and Don’s personalities. Their characterizations are the exact opposite of one another which provide an avenue to let readers think and choose who is better than the other for Lucy. Their differences and how they treat Lucy’s life eventually sends a message that it’s better if someone you love appreciates your life and is interested in it, rather than letting one eat up something that’s more important than the ego. Aside from this love story, this book is also a story about self-fulfillment with an added humor to make this a fun read. There are indeed parts where I find myself laughing at the exchange of dialogues between characters of the book.
One thing I find funniest and totally relatable is when Lucy describes her detestation toward a girl because it undeniably equates to how I exactly feel when I dislike a person. Just like Lucy, I also get a feeling about a person immediately even by his/her mere presence – the one, quoting Lucy, “of those girlfriend feelings that you get about other girls.” And then everything related to that person would be a reminder of him/her and become the object of hatred.
Overall, I love everything about the book. Cecelia Ahern has her way of creating a realistic story with an added touch of magical element in it. She personifies an intangible concept or object, like in this case, life. I guess this is also a way of letting readers get a better understanding or clear grasp on how one deals with life and treats it. In the story, how Lucy’s life looks like and acts vividly represents her life in literal sense. Seeing it before her eyes will actually make her want to reevaluate and reflect her life once again.
We can’t escape our own lives because they shape who we are and will undeniably become a part of us. The book is able to teach us that sometimes, slowing down and thinking things through are all it takes to figure out what we really want in our lives. It makes us reassess our lives at a different angle and change it for the better before it’s too late. The Time of My Life captures the essence of not taking life for granted. It’s not about letting someone dictate what we should do in life, but realizing that life is about doing what we want and need, about living honestly and worthwhile.
I would like to end this review with a heartwarming passage I took from the book:
“If you have a dream, you want to at least be able to try to achieve it in some way. Something that is seemingly beyond your grasp but that you know that with a bit of hard work you could possibly achieve. Walking to your local newsagent to buy a lottery ticket is not inspiring. Dreams should make you think, If I had the guts to do it and I didn’t care what anybody thought, this is what I’d really do.” (p. 199)