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If Only It Were True - Marc Levy

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Genre: Fiction

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      23.04.2001 06:31
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      Impulse buying - a sneaky little conception which annoys me each time I fall for it. But 'fall' I did - yet again - and that's how I came across this book. Now, if you're not familiar with consumer psychology you might not be aware of their terminology. Impulse buying is the crafty little trick of placing small objects around the till area where bored queue-dwellers can browse - and purchase things - things that they didn't even want or need in the first place. It's no surprise that chocolate bars are placed on the lower shelves to ensure that children can see and want them! I know about these things; I watch the Open University ;-) So there I am in this gem of a book shop, arms piled high with my fourteen purchases of reading matter when this helpful 8 year old assistant offers to share the weight and take them to the till. In front of me this lovely old woman, sporting the most shocking purple hair, is paying for Wuthering Heights in 5p, 2p and one penny pieces. Bored by the time she got to 42 pence, and having checked out what everyone else had under their arm by 98p, I started looking at the goodies on the counter - impulse buying personified. There in blood-red colouring was the corniest title I'd come across in many a book shop jaunt: "If only it were true" by Marc Levy. I half smiled to myself but as the woman in front had only counted £1.33 (Bless her) and her book's cover price being £1.99, I started skimming through Levy's offering . . . Woman in a coma, man of her dreams, astral projection, life support machine, a closet, a melody, romance. . .basically the film 'Ghost' in hardback. Mrs Wuthering Heights reached her £1.99 target, while I fell for impulse buying. I didn't mind, I wasn't doing the driving back to London so I needed a book that would last me from Cambridge to the Big Smoke. I reconciled the purchase by the fact that it was o
      nly a £1; it was hardback; and if it turned out to be all Mills and Boons - ish, sisters one, two, three of four would devour it anyway. But do you know what? I really enjoyed it. I did. Seeeing as you had to go through impulse buying to get this far, I suppose I'd better tell you a little more about it then. Lauren Kline is young, free and single and a resident doctor in contemporary San Francisco Memorial Hospital. A couple of days off from her demanding schedule and she decides to get away from the city. Before reaching the outer limits though she is involved in a car accident and pronounced dead. Miraculously a pulse and heartbeat are later detected which results in a colleague at the hospital breaking the rules and squirreling her away on a life support machine. The months go by and Lauren's apartment is re-let. Yep, to Arthur, the dashing young architect. (Don't ya just know it!). He discovers Lauren one night in his closet where she is happily finger snapping in tune to the music from the radio. Arthur believes her to be a moving-in 'present' from his mates; while Lauren is overwhelmed that after months of 'projecting' herself from her comatose body someone can actually see and hear her. The hook?. . .time is running out: Lauren's mother is fast accepting the doctor's decision to turn off the life support. . . There's nothing that I have told you up there that you couldn't get from the sleeve of the book. Think closing scenes of 'Ghost', complete with angel dust, ethereal music and Whoopi's comedic talent and you've pretty much summed-up 'If only it were true'. Don't get me wrong I'm not knocking the book. As I mentioned above I liked it, it's just that I think the writing could have been a lot sharper. I know that this is the author's first offering but I would have to conclude that the story idea far outweighs his current writing abili
      ty. The story is fine and told with some degree of talent but he does go off at tangents once or twice with the storyline - and this doesn't always work. But whatever the book's shortcomings you're sure to hear more of this story whether you like it or not. Mr Steven (or is it Stephen?) Spielberg bought the film rights for the novel without even seeing a script - it sold itself - for a tasty 2.2 million Dollars. Now there's a man who knows a Hollywood Blockbuster when he sees (or in this case) hears it. Julia Roberts as Lauren? Brad Pitt as Arthur? - Maybe. . . If I'd have paid the full hardback price for this book I wouldn't have been a happy chappy. But as I only paid a £1, it's got to be a bargain. Amazon are selling the hardback for £8 and the paperback for £4.39 (add p&p). I don't suppose that the prices are extortionate considering the novel did hit the best seller list. - The choice is yours. Suspend belief and 'If only it were true' is a pleasant and romantic read that is accessible to most age groups. The writing is good, not excellent, but the author has put together a good story. Fair enough, it may be a twist on a film already squeezed dry by Hollywood but the author has put his own slant on events and developed the original story much further. Grab a cup of coffee and a biccy and enjoy it. Would I rush out to see Spielberg's offering of this romantic mush?. . . . . . Yep! There really isn't anything else to say about the book. It's fine but is not a literary masterpiece. It flows (mainly) and entertains, thereby serving its purpose. Any other dissection of the novel wouldn't help: it really is a case of what you see is what you get. I suppose impulse buying is not always a bad thing ;-) ISBN 1-84115-396-6

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        16.08.2000 22:07
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        This story has major Hollywood love story written all over it. Indeed, Steven Spielberg himself was so impressed that he has bought the film rights to produce this story. I can't wait! If you loved the movie Ghost, you will love this one. The story is about Lauren, a young resident doctor in San Francisco who is involved in an accident one day, rendering her comatose. Six months later, Arthur, an architect moves into her old apartment and one night finds himself face to face with Lauren. He thinks that she is part of a practical joke but she is even more intrigued and surprised that Arthur can see, hear and touch her. She tells him her story and after much convincing, Arthur then checks Lauren's story out and finds her body lying in the hospital. A beautiful friendship then develops and Arthur finds himself falling in love with Lauren. Then, they hear that the hospital has decided to turn off Lauren's life support machine and it is up to Arthur to save her. The story is very simple and full of anecdotes of how to live life to the fullest, recognizing love and happiness when it's right smack in front of you and most importantly having the courage to do something about it. Highly recommended for all those hopeless romantics out there. It also really reads like a movie script, so you can start imagining who'd you want to play the lead role. Personally, I would say either Nic Cage (but he's already done City of Angels!) or George Clooney..but I would love to see Tom Cruise in a romantic role! A great love story - impossible to resist..

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