Each of us has our own story to tell: a story that would change us and others for the better or a story that would destroy and harm ourselves as well as the others. And it’s up to us which story we choose to tell. That is what this book, One Hundred Names, is all about. Here’s the summary taken from Goodreads:
Journalist Kitty Logan’s career is being destroyed by scandal – and now she faces losing the woman who guided and taught her everything she knew. At her terminally ill friend’s bedside, Kitty asks – what is the one story she always wanted to write? The answer lies in a file buried in Constance’s office: a list of one hundred names. There is no synopsis, nothing to explain what the story is or who these people are. The list is simply a mystery. But before Kitty can talk to her friend, it is too late. With everything to prove, Kitty is assigned the most important task of her life: to write the story her mentor never had the opportunity to. Kitty not only has to track down and meet the people on the list, but find out what connects them. And, in the process of hearing ordinary people’s stories, she starts to understand her own.
In this book, we are introduced to a world of media, specifically journalism, that we are very much familiar with and there, we get a glimpse of the inside methods and processes employed by the people in this career as they produce the outcome that will eventually be released and be read by the public. I’m not into journalism, but I still have the slightest idea of how it works. To be honest, it is inevitable to be intrigued by the scoops people have on celebrities and artists and some other scandalous rumors. I mean, who wouldn’t right? I would often update myself with those kinds of news because, admittedly, it’s fun. However, as time passes, I slowly start to get tired seeing and hearing about those stuffs. I realize that they’ve just been going around in circles just to keep the fire burning, if that makes sense. And then you also realize that you’re not really sure what the truth is anymore.
Anyway, moving on to the story, Kitty just happens to be one of the bad journalists in her town. With most of the people already angry at her, her life continued to bottom out when Constance is nearing her death due to an illness. With no one to back her up and support her, she must find a way to make herself a credible journalist again. And that’s when the list of names comes into the picture. The list, as the title suggests, consists of one hundred names of people Constance left Kitty with. Nobody actually knows the purpose of the list and it’s up to Kitty to find it out and make a story out of it, so she begins to search for the answer by finding each and every person listed.
At the beginning of the story, I won’t deny the fact that I got irritated with Kitty’s personality. She comes out as selfish and indifferent towards others and I actually hate her for being that way. I keep wondering why Cecelia Ahern would create a protagonist with a bad attitude. But then again, I still give Kitty the benefit of the doubt. Fortunately, though, as the story progresses, I learn how dynamic her characterization becomes. Readers can see throughout the book how Kitty changes. And true enough, I’m quite satisfied with the outcome.
I believe one thing that is being emphasized here is Constance’s view of journalism. Readers will notice that Constance has a different take on journalism and I actually admire her for that. It teaches Kitty and us that there’s more beneath the surface when you look more into it. It’s somehow the opposite of what most journalists do. With Constance’s life-changing lessons, readers will eventually grasp the depth of the story that the book is not just about the story of Kitty, but also about the people she meets. I am quite amazed by how each person’s story slowly unfolds as Kitty gets to know them. When at first, they come out as mysterious, they slowly learn to trust Kitty and reveal their lives to her and to us.
I have come to love Cecelia Ahern’s book because there seems to be a magical element added to her every book. As much as the story is realistic, there’s always a twist that doesn’t normally happen in real life. This uniqueness in her strategy is what makes her stand out from the others. Although there’s nothing magical about this book, in literal sense, I guess the magic happens in Kitty herself and perhaps the effect it will have on the readers.
Moreover, the story is so beautifully written with vivid descriptions of the undertakings in the book that I devoured every page, wanting to be involved in the story, too. Cecelia Ahern took her time to introduce us the few people from the list whose life stories are satisfyingly justified. Even I can’t choose which is better among the others because each of them has a unique story. I just wish I could meet them, too. I guess it would be nicer to be friends with people like them. The book truly touched my heart and I definitely fully enjoyed every part of it. Now, the question is: What is your story?
Finally, I would like to end this review with a quote from the book: “Every single ordinary person has an extraordinary story. We might all think that we are unremarkable, that our lives are boring, just because we aren’t doing ground-breaking things or making headlines or winning awards. But the truth is we all do something that is fascinating, that is brave, that is something we should be proud of. Every day people do things that are not celebrated. That is what we should be writing about. The unsung heroes, the people that don’t believe they are heroes at all because they are just doing what they believe they have to do in their lives.“