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If You Could See Me Now - Cecelia Ahern

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Author: Cecelia Ahern / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 05 November 2007 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers / Title: If You Could See Me Now / ISBN 13: 9780007260812 / ISBN 10: 0007260812

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      18.07.2014 00:12
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      Great read

      I love Cecelia. I love the fantasy elements that she incorporates into her books. This one involves an imaginary friend! At first I was a little confused about the imaginary friend because I did not think she wrote about stuff like that but since this book I have gone on too read her other books and have understood her style of writing. She opens up new levels of reality that you thought did not exist (even though they do not, it still gives you hope because she makes it seem so real!) Her style of writing is really engaging and sucks you in completely and you feel like you know every single thing about the characters. I do not want to give too much away but it is a truly heart warming tale! I would definitely recommend this book.
      Also I''''m going to add that I actually got this book from a charity shop for less than a pound, which may I say is a fantastic price for this great read.

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      19.10.2010 22:17
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      A fairy tale for grown ups!

      Review of If You Could See Me Now, a novel by Cecilia Ahern


      ==The Book==

      I am reviewing the paperback version of this novel, ISBN 007198892, published by Harper Collins, 410 pages, cover price £6.99. Genre - Modern Fiction.


      ==The Plot==

      Elizabeth Egan is a successful interior designer in her thirties. She lives in a modern house in a popular location of the small County Kerry town, Baile na gCroithe. Elizabeth's home is in Fuchsia Lane and she has a fuchsia pink front door which makes her house stand out from her neighbours.

      Elizabeth's life is very ordered and precise. It has to be as she is a busy woman, too busy for friends or much of a social life. She has adopted her younger sister's child, Luke, a 6 year old boy. Luke's mother, Saoirse, is a wild and selfish young woman. She gave birth to Like at the age of 16 and Elizabeth found herself having to take over the child almost as soon as he was born.
      This was a case of de ja vue for Elizabeth as she had brought up her younger sister, who was born just after Elizabeth's 12th birthday.

      Elizabeth's mother Grainne had, like her younger child, been a wild and free spirit who crashed in and out of the lives of Elizabeth and her father, Brendan, before finally leaving for good when Saoirse was born.

      The story begins with Saoirse having arrived at Elizabeth's house, drunk and abusive. She is not interested in her son or the effect her behaviour has upon the child and screams at her sister in front of the little boy, before stealing Elizabeth's car and roaring off in it. Luke is devastated, especially as he is feeling lonely and insecure as his Nanny, Emily, is away on holiday.

      Luke sits in the garden trying to ignore the drama of his mother's outburst. As he tries to play quietly and unobtrusively, a new friend arrives on the scene, a person called Ivan.

      Ivan is not what he seems, in fact, only Luke can see Ivan. Ivan stays at the house, playing with Luke and making him laugh. Elizabeth becomes increasingly frustrated with Luke as the days pass, she is trying to keep her business running smoothly, attempting a damage limitation exercise regarding her errant sister who was caught drink driving Elizabeth's car, with no licence and also caring for Luke. The boy's instance on having a place laid for Ivan at mealtimes and his inclusion in everything is fast becoming a real issue between aunt and nephew. Elizabeth consoles herself with the fact that many young children have imaginary friends and she allows Luke to get on with his friend Ivan. It is a little disconcerting to find the boy chatting and giggling with his 'friend' when she can see that Luke is the only person in the room.

      One evening after serving Luke and 'Ivan' with a pizza, Elizabeth is stunned to hear a voice in the empty kitchen thank her for the meal. She gently gently questions Luke who says that it was Ivan who followed her into the kitchen, not him. Luke shows his aunt a picture he has drawn of himself and Ivan in the garden, she is stunned to see that the child has drawn his 'friend' as a man, not another 6 year old child.

      As the storyline progresses, Elizabeth's world is rocked to the core when she starts seeing things, an office chair spinning on it's own for example and she becomes aware of a presence in her house. Eventually she too sees Ivan and at first, assumes he is the father of one of Luke's school friends. To her amazement, she realises that she is attracted to this childish, fun loving and handsome man and it seems that he may feel the same.

      Ivan tries to explain that he is a befriender who spends his time being a friend to those who need support. Elizabeth's tidy mind cannot really accept this or the fact that Ivan is invisible to others and chats to him and involves him in her day to day life, to the amusement of her employees. She questions him as to his identity and even when he informs her that he comes from Ekam Eveileb and his surname is Elbisivni, she still doesn't cotton on.

      Ivan in turn finds that his work is hampered by his feelings for Elizabeth and his boss takes him to task over his involvement with the family.

      The plot is fast moving and as the story of Elizabeth, Luke and Ivan unfolds, twists and turns in the tale keep you gripped to the very last page.

      ==The Author==

      Cecelia Ahern was born 0n 30th September 1981, in Dublin. She is the daughter of the former Irish Prime Minister, Bertie Ahern. Her older sister, Georgina Ahern is married to Nicky Byrne of Irish pop group Westlife.
      In 2000, she was part of the Irish pop group Shimma, who finished third in the Irish national final for the Eurovision Song Contest.
      Cecelia completed a Degree in Journalism and Media Communications at Griffin College, Dublin before embarking on her writing career. In 2002, at the age of twenty-one, she wrote her first novel PS, I Love You, which was sold to over forty countries and made into a movie of the same name. She now has seven novels to her name, several short stories, she co writes a T.V. Comedy show, 'Samantha Who?' for ABC television and is a regular contributor to various magazines.

      Cecelia Ahern married her husband, David Keoghan in June 2010 and the couple have one daughter.

      ==My Thoughts and Conclusion==

      This was certainly a very 'different' style of writing to my usual choice of novel. I think the easiest way to describe 'If You Could See Me Now' is to say that it is a fairy story for adults!
      The characters within this novel are extremely liveable and diverse. They gel well and I found myself actually caring what became of them. It also made me wonder about my little granddaughter's imaginary friend, Norah, who currently wrecks havoc in my daughter's home!

      The story is one of love, life, disappointments, successes and dark family secrets, all rolled into one very well crafted novel. The plot synopsis I have provided above is a hugely condensed account of the plot and the tale has plenty of twists and turns to keep your interest.

      Cecelia Ahern has produced a thought provoking, yet humorous novel which reflects the anguish an errant family member can cause a family to suffer.

      Dark in places, yet warm and heart rending, this book is a very good read. I would recommend this novel to others who enjoy a book with a slightly off beat theme.

      Thank you for reading.
      ©brittle1906 October 2010.

      N.B. My review may be found on other sites under the same user name.

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        21.07.2010 11:22

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        Well worth a read

        I am a massive fan of Cecelia Ahern. This book did not disappoint.
        The book as based around a broken family who appear to be "saved" by an imaginary friend. Depending on your outlook on life I think this book can be interpreted in many ways. Is the imaginary friend her Jiminy Cricket - that was how I read it. I very much enjoy books where I can relate to the main character and I think this is very easy to do. I had a very vivid picture in my mind of each character and very much enjoy picturing the Irish countryside and village from Ahern's descriptions.
        I think this book is a romantic tale with a fantasy twist.
        Definitely one of Ahern's stronger books but not one I can easily return to. In true romance style the ending is without a doubt predictable but still well worth a read.

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        15.06.2010 22:41
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        A good read

        I've been a fan of Cecilia Ahern since I read PS, I Love You and then borrowed Where Rainbows End from my local library. I no longer buy books as it was costing me a small fortune and unfortunately, my library have never had any more of her books in when I've been until I came across this one on my last visit. Having enjoyed the aforementioned reads, I had high hopes that this would also tick the right boxes.

        Elizabeth is an interior designer who likes her life to be as ordered as possible. This is no mean feat given her personal life, with a sister who is prone to going off the rails, a nephew who has fallen entirely into her care as a surrogate son and a father who is awaiting the return of her mother who disappeared over twenty years ago.

        Given her love of order, Elizabeth is none too pleased when her nephew, Luke, suddenly develops an infatuation with a new-found friend, Ivan. Who is the mysterious Ivan, and why has he suddenly entered their lives?

        Elizabeth is a likeable character and I had a lot of empathy for her situation. Her family didn't seem like the easiest to be around and her sister's sudden tendency to up and leave must have been stressful, along with the fact that their mother had also departed the family. Ivan was also a lovely character who seemed to genuinely care for those around him and the relationship between the two characters was both touching and heart-warming.

        I really liked the book but I wasn't as taken with it as the two books that I'd previously read by the same author, maybe because I tend to veer towards chick lits more and this isn't quite as fluffy as those two. Without going into any specifics that can't be deduced from the inside cover blurb, the plot is quite unique in that I've not seen any other books based on the same concept. It's easy to read and I liked the way the narrative flicked backwards at times to explore Elizabeth's younger days in more detail, although that element confused me a little as it wasn't always made explicit that a 'flashback' was taking place.

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          08.02.2010 19:41
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          3/5

          I got his from the library because I was attracted by the cover and also the fact that the author had also written PS I love you which has always gotton good reviews. I enjoyed the book as a light reading story and I would reccomend it if you have a bi of free time, but it is no way in the best of the books I have read.

          It is basically a story about a woman who had a strange disrupted childhood resulting in a withdrawn personality, no friends and looking after her crazy sisters 6 year old son. She is a successful woman and she is written about well but I have to say I didnt like her or warm to her she just seemed mean and everything I am not and I know she had a bad start but I don't know, I just thought it was a bit annoying.

          So in the book, Ivan, a professional imaginary friend comes along and befriends Elizabeth and Luke (the 6 year old). He helps Elizabeth come out of her shell and meet new people, even helping her to secure a lucrative contract with a hotel. (Elizabeth is an interior decorator).

          The story is set in Ireland and I didnt really like the way this was written. Firstly I found it was wierd that she was called Elizabeth yet her sister Saoirse (Freedom) - normally a family would give both kids very Irish names or not in my opinion. Also I don't know how to say Saoirse, or the place they lived. This made reading it a bit disruptive and annoyed me a bit.

          So Elizabeth befriends Ivan and they get pretty close, this is quite well written but a bit unrealistically written in my opinion. Ivan makes Elizabeth think and she often flashes back to the past and thinks about her childhood. I didnt think this was well done and sometimes it wasn't too clear if "we" were in the past or the present.

          The story was wel written and there were some clever little bits in it and it did make for good light reading but I am not convinced. I might pick up another of the authors books but I would hope it would be better than this one. I think she really did do well to write about imaginary friends so well but the characters weren't attractive and I didn't like the flashbacks.

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            02.09.2009 13:33
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            Another fantastic novel by Cecelia Ahern

            Being someone who is a big believer in imaginary friends I found this book was right up my street. I've loved Cecelia Ahern's novels since I read PS I Love You and have read all her other novels since. This is one of my faves by her. She has an incredible imagination and really brings the characters to life. I always feel like I know them personally.
            Luke is Elizabeth's Nephew. Luke's mother Saorise comes in and out of their lives but is not a stable enough influence to look after her son. Elizabeth is a very busy and extremely successful interior designer who has to divide her time between her work and Luke. Luke then develops an "imaginary friend" called Ivan. Ivan comes from an agency for professional imaginary friends and only Luke can see Ivan until later on when Elizabeth can then see him aswell. Ivan has comes to Luke because Luke has issues that he needs to deal with and Ivan is there to help him and later Elizabeth to deal with their issues.

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              01.07.2009 13:41
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              Ok "chicklit"

              I initially came acroos Ahern when I bought 'PS I Love You' with a 'Times Promotion'. I was aware that it was massively successful and brought her to prominence within the "chick-lit" canon. However when I sat down to read it, I didn't get very far as I found it hideously schmaltzy and sentimental to the point where I couldn't continue reading it.

              I had no intentions of reading another Ahern book until this one dropped through my letter box free with my subscribed issue of Marie Claire. So with an open mind and a bank holiday weekend ahead of me I sat down to read it.

              The plot is as follows: Successful interior designer Elizabeth Egan lives in a small "everybody knows everybody" Irish town. She is resolutely single, having to split her time between her business and looking after her sister Saorise's son Luke. Saorise crashes in and out of their lives having gone off the rails after the desappearance of their mother in their early childhood. Elizabeth also has an emotionally absent father who is still grieving his wife leaving him.

              Luke "develops" an imaginary friend, Ivan. The twist here being tha tIvan is a 'real' imaginary friend who only Luke and later Elizabeth can see. Ivan is employed by an agency of professional imaginary friends who come to people in a time of need and then disappear to them when their personal issues are resolved. It is implied that Elizabeth can see him as she is still nursing wounds from the past.

              Over time Elizabeth and Ivan form a relationship/friendship with her not knowing his true identity, and this changes her personality for the better and makes her happy.

              The good stuff - well, for a start I read the whole book which is progress! I found Ahern to be a perfectly adept wirter and it did keep my interest throughout. However, I can't say that I every tryly engaged with the novel; in essence I found it to be far too whimsical. There were hints at darker elements such as the personal sacrifices that Elizabeth had to make for her sister over the years, but they just don't sit well within the novel. A childhood flashback of Elizabeth's is just so unconvincing and ill-fitting that it is cringeworthy. Ultimately Ahern is withing her comfort zone when embracing the whimsy, and there's nothing wrong with that it that's your sort of thing!

              I definitely feel that there is a place for "darkness" and heavier subject matter within chicklit but it needs to be managed really well or it just feels tacked on - Marian Keyes' "This Charming Man" is a perfect example of this.

              On reflection I also feel that it is an awkwardly positioned novel as to how its outlook is. The character of Ivan is so childlike that it alsmos tflet that with a bit of obvious tinkering, and the removal of romantic allusions, elements of it and the writing would be more fitting to a children's/young persons novel.

              All-in-all it was a perfectly serviceable read but I don't think that I will be going out of my way to read another Ahern novel.

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                28.01.2009 22:31
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                A very beautiful story

                If you could see me now by Cecelia Ahern is the a story of young woman, Elizabeth Egan, who is too busy to stop and smell the roses.She has her Nephew, Luke who she has unwillingly adopted as his mother is unable to look after him.No wonder she has no time to make friends.she cleans obsessively as any amount of dirt distracts her from her work.she dresses in dull dark colours and doesnot show any emotions.She likes to be in control and doesn't like any non sense inshort she is plain old 'grinob'

                Amidst all this comes Ivan , a very fun-loving and cheerful man ho loves pizzas,Fridays, to spin on chairs and to make friends.He believes that he is here for luke who at the age of 6 , craves for his aunt's attention but only gets it when being told what to and not to do.But Ivan is in for a surprise as he realisers he is here to help Elzabeth and himself.He guides Elizabeth to see the brighter side of the life and to live it a day at tim;to let go the demos of the past and love the place she hates so much.And along the way he learns a few lessons himself.

                The world created by Ahern is absoutely enchanting,making a story a modern fairytale with every bit of magic in it.I think you should buy it and read this intersesting story as i have just made a theme of the story in my review.

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                  26.07.2008 19:45
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                  The third novel from Irish author Cecelia Ahern.

                  I feel I'm starting to exhaust my local library's resources somewhat as I seem to have read nearly all the books that appeal to me there. However on a recent hunt in there I came across Cecilia Ahern's third novel which was released back in November 2005 entitled "If You Could See Me Now." As I'd previously enjoyed another of her books I decided to select this one and made sure it was the first one I read after choosing all my books that time.

                  The Author

                  Cecilia Ahern is an Irish novelist and is the daughter of Bertie Ahern who is an Irish politician, as well as sister in law to Nicky from the Irish boy band Westlife too. Her first novel was "P.S. I love You" which not only was a best seller and utterly amazing I thought but has since been made into a film as well. This was followed by her second novel "Where Rainbows End" which although wasn't quite as addictive as her first, was still a really good read.

                  The Plot

                  The novel focuses on the life of Elizabeth Egan and her young nephew Luke. They both live a well structured life although it is clear they do not really bond together and Elizabeth seems to be continuously lonely and unhappy with her existence. So enter Ivan, a young and charming man that seems to swoop Elizabeth off her feet and attempts to make her see the best things in her life. The only thing about Ivan is... he's invisible to everyone else.

                  The Characters

                  The novel focuses on Elizabeth Egan who is a career focused woman in her thirties living in Ireland. She has her own interior design business as well as juggling being a stand in mother for her sister's young son Luke. Cleanliness and order are at the top of her priorities and this is reflected in both her home and how she lives her life. Elizabeth's mother abandoned the family when she was younger and she had to grow up quickly to bring up her sister.

                  Her sister Saoirse is the exact opposite to everything Elizabeth is, she's a fiery alcoholic who lives life on the very edge and cares for very little within her life. She abandoned her son with Elizabeth and throughout the book shows very little interest in him, continuously stealing Elizabeth's possessions and going off for weeks on end drinking with random people she has just met. Where Elizabeth is continuously tidying, Saoirse is continuously destroying.

                  Finally we have Ivan, the happy go lucky chap from a place called Ekam Eveileb whose only fault is that he is invisible to the majority of humans. He is everything you'd want in a man, he's comforting and always supportive yet tries to make Elizabeth feel better about herself and her life, giving her a new approach to tackling the problems that face her. He really helps Elizabeth overcome her difficulties and makes her appreciate everything she has.

                  My Opinion

                  Although I would like to say that the whole novel was absolutely ridiculous I find that I can't quite bring myself to say it. The whole pretence for the novel is that Ivan is what is known as a Best Friend, there are a group of them that are invisible to the majority of people and can only be seen by people that either need help or support in their lives. Ivan originally went to become a Best Friend to Luke although Elizabeth then realised she could see him too.

                  For the majority of the novel Elizabeth believes that Ivan is a normal person and although he never interacts with anyone other than herself or Luke this goes unnoticed by her. It is thought that when someone is really struggling they have the ability to believe in invisible people which then allows them to see people like Ivan. This is exactly what happened to Elizabeth and as a result she was able to see Ivan, until she stopped needing him.

                  It is a reassuring concept and idea but one that nonetheless I have to put down as being ludicrous really and this did take away from my enjoyment of the novel. The fact that the majority of it is based on an invisible person is rather bizarre to understand and did ridicule the story in many ways I felt. Although it was an enjoyable read it would have been much better and more credible had Ivan been a normal human being in my opinion.

                  I wonder if it may have been better if we had been introduced to Ivan as a normal person and then Ahern had dropped the bombshell that he wasn't real onto us at the end. This would certainly have added a twist to an otherwise somewhat eventful story although the reader is let in on Ivan's actual status at the very start of the novel. It is quite an interesting concept, and learning about the other Best Friends did add a little insight to the novel.

                  It was certainly a different stance from any other books that I've ever read, by Ahern or any other author for that matter and her stories are undeniably fresh. The story is told from the viewpoint of either the narrator or Ivan and we never actually gain an insight into Elizabeth herself. It is quite a sentimental tale and one that does have soppy notions underneath, but it thankfully didn't have me reaching for the sick bucket at any time!

                  The story was well written and time seemed to pass quite quickly while reading it, as it did with her previous novels. There were continuous flashbacks to Elizabeth's earlier life when she was child, prior to her having Luke which gave a glimpse into her past and also the character she was and the reasons for the why she has become who she is. The character development of Elizabeth in particular was quite good and consistent throughout the novel.

                  The ending was a little disappointing in my opinion, I won't spoil it for you by telling you what happens but I expected something more than it actually gave me. I didn't laugh out loud at any moments in the novel and nor did I find myself wiping away a stray tear as I did with her first novel P.S. I Love You. With regards to what emotions the story invoked in me I'd say very few, the main one was probably irritation with the whole invisible concept.

                  One of the things I always judge a novel on is how addictive I find it and how long it takes me to read it. If it's a book that I love I'll find it impossible to put it down and will end up reading it within about three days. So how did "If You Could See Me Now" come out in the addiction test? Well it took me over two weeks to read it which judging by my methods makes it quite a lacklustre book in a sense and one that I certainly felt able to put down!

                  So would I recommend it? In all honesty I probably wouldn't, I can't deny that the whole basis for the invisible friend was a really cute concept but it didn't make for good reading in my opinion. Based on her previous two novels to this I was expecting something similar, a romance at the core of the novel and other elements added in to make it that bit more interesting and different from your typical romance. I wouldn't choose to read this again by any means really.

                  If you do want to read this book you can find it on Amazon for £4.25 for a new copy or for anything from 10p for a second hand copy. If you've been a particular fan of Cecilia Ahern's other novels then it may well be worth reading, as if not you'll always be left wondering if it was any good like I would have been. However for me I won't be in as big a rush to try any of her future workings after this somewhat disappointing and read.

                  Thanks for reading.

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                    09.03.2007 18:04
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                    A grown up story of make belive

                    I am always buying books, I have a cupboard dedicated to them but I never seem to get the time to read them. So I made a conscious effort to start reading at least 1 a month. I remember reading another book by the same author as this book P.S I love you and I really enjoyed it, so I was quite looking forward to this one.

                    This is the 3rd book by Cecelia Ahern who currently lives in Dublin. Her father is none other than Bertie Ahern the Irish prime minister and her sister is married to Nicky Byrne of West life. Her first book P.S I love you reached no1 in 4 countries and stayed there for 19 weeks.

                    Reading the back of this book it sounded like your usual easy reading chic lit. You know an up dated mills and boon (Not that I read mills and boon).

                    The main characters of this book are, Elizabeth Egan an up tight interior designer who had started making a name for herself in New York. She also had a boyfriend and things were looking good. Then her mad sister got pregnant and Elizabeth came home to her hometown Baile na gCroithe in Ireland to help look after her nephew minus the boyfriend. She ended up adopting her nephew and starting up her own interior design business but she feels trapped. Being home also brings back memories of her mum abandoning her as a child, She also has to deal with her alcoholic sister coming in and out of her life and turning it upside down.

                    Saoirse is the mad alcoholic sister who feels no responsibility for anyone including herself; Elizabeth mainly brought her up because of their mum disappearing when she was a baby and their dad not being able to offer any affection. She doesn't show any love for her own son and she only seems to show up when she is in trouble.

                    Luke is the child in the middle of all this and surprisingly has turned into a levelheaded boy. He loves his aunt but tries to stay out of her way and spends more time with his nanny who shows him the love, fun and affection he needs. He rarely mentions his mum but sees and understands more than everyone gives him credit for.

                    Brendon Egan is Elizabeth's dad and seemingly a very cold and abrupt man unable to show affection. He still lives in the house that Elizabeth grew up in but she still feels uncomfortable going there to see him. He very rarely talks about his wife and the circumstances surrounding her disappearance.

                    And then enters Ivan, he turns up one day and makes friends with Luke, He is childish, spontaneous and starts to get under Elizabeth's skin which is amazing as when he first arrives she can't even see him! He is from the well-known town of Ekam evileb (Are you with me!) But slowly he starts to win her around and she starts to loosen up and do things she would never dream of.
                    This is an unusual territory for Ivan as he is used to being an imaginary friend for children and he is not used to an adult being able to see him. He finds Elizabeth an unusual and frustrating assignment but he also starts to feel more than he should and his boss (Yes imaginary friends do have bosses!) has a hard job pulling him back to his original assignment.

                    There are also other people that live in the small town that you get introduced to including Elizabeth's assistants in her interior design business Becca & Poppy. There is also Joe who owns the coffee shop and the businessmen who need an interior designer for their new hotel, Benjamin and Vincent.

                    As Elizabeth starts to change and see more in her life than the sterile environment she had created she struggles to understand why other people can't see Ivan but also she finds herself falling for him!
                    He makes her laugh and shows her the beauty and fun that surrounds her which also helps her with her relationship with her nephew. And she also starts to remember more from her own childhood, which explains her reasons for becoming the person she is today and the relationship she has with her father and in some ways her sister.


                    Did I enjoy this book? Well it was different to anything I had read and when the book first started and this man called Ivan was going through the town looking for a child to be a special friend I started to think it was going to be a bit on the paedophile side but as I got into it I started to actually enjoy it. Let's be honest once you get older the thought of an imaginary friend is laughable but why not? We could all proberly do with one at some stage just to remind us to have a bit of fun and mischief! My youngest had an imaginary friend and he was always with us when we went shopping and I would find all these sweets and cakes in the trolley but my boy was insistent that they were for his friend!

                    The book is well written but does have some questionable bits in it for some reason I thought Elizabeth knew that no-one could see Ivan but this seemed to come as a complete surprise to her and the fact that this tough woman gives in to her sister and tries to get her out of trouble every time she comes back. I did also find Ivan a bit annoying in places but then I am a grown up! (Or so I am told!) There are some nice comfortable smiley bits in the book and the ending isn't all mills and boon but it's not a book that I would read again. I borrowed it from my sister and I wouldn't suggest paying full price maybe the library or charity shop would be better. I would say it's a kill a few hours with something not to heavy but feel good

                    Property of madmum71 & lisa 8871

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                      09.10.2006 11:57
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                      Chick Lit Gone Wrong.

                      Why I decided to read this book
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      As a fan of her previous 2 books, PS I Love you and Where Rainbows End I was more than eager to read this book. Im a chick lit addict and thrive on lightweighted, romantic girly reads so when i saw this in my local charity shop for 50p I jumped at the chance to buy it.

                      Background on the author
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      Cecilia comes from Ireland. This had hugely influenced her work and references to the countryside, people and way of life are prevalent in all her books.She is 24 years old and is the daughter of the Irish head of government Bertie Ahern. All her books have topped the best sellers chart and she has been nominated for Best Summer Read in the Richard & Judy Bookclub for her debut book PS I love you. This book, If You Could See Me Now, has been an international best seller and optioned by Walt Disney to become a musical starring Hugh Jackman.

                      The Cover
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      The cover is easy to spot and is pretty and eye catching. Its is light brown with a white dandelion clock in the middle bottom that has been blown and its bits are swirling around the cover. This is a reference to a main theme inside the book. The Authors name is in bold white font at the top with If You Could See Me Now in pink lettering. The tagline for the book is 'A Helping Hand Can Come From The Most Unlikely Of Places.....'. Ooh how mysterious.

                      The Plotline
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      The book centres around Elizabeth. Elizabeth is a lonely, perfectionist with the weight of the world on her shoulders. She runs an interior design company in a small Irish village where she has lived all her life and everyone knows everyone elses business. She finds this claustrophobic and yearns to escape but is bound there by family commitments and a history that is plaguing her mind.

                      She is the adoptive parent of her sister Saoirse's son Luke. Saoirse (no idea how that is pronounced!) is a rebellious free spirit who drinks too much, despises the thought of responsiibility and settling down. She only visits Elizabeth and her son if she is in trouble or needs money. This is a constant headache and misery for Elizabeth as she brought Saoirse up by herself from the age of 12 with her father, as her mother was an alcoholic and left the family home. This has obviously had a huge influence on the way Elizabeth behaves. She has never had any love from her mother so she doesnt know how to show love to anyone else. Her days consist of tidying the home, polishing, drinking coffee by the gallon full and sitting alone with her thoughts.

                      Here enters Ivan. At first he enters the book as Luke's imaginary friend. Luke repeatedly refers to him, plays with him and even wants a plate setting out at the dinner table for him so he can eat with him and Elizabeth. Elizabeth is amused by this and plays along hoping that Ivan will come and go as a phase in Lukes life.

                      What Elizabeth doesnt realise is that Ivan is from a team of workers that people in this world think of as imaginary, but they acutally do exist to help people in need of a friend or help on Earth. Although only the people they choose can see them and they are invisible to everyone else. Are you still with me?!

                      Ivan realises that Elizabeth is a lost soul and deeply sad and lonely and goes about trying to help her. He appears to her one day and she mistakenly thinks he is the Father of Lukes Friend. From then on they grow close and he shows her how to have fun, live and love and other cheesy stuff along the same lines as that. This is relevant to the cover as they go in a field chasing dandelion clocks, as you do. Slowly but surely Elizabeth starts to change. She tackles her past, begins to have fun and could their be romance on the cards?

                      The Plot Line and Characters - My Opinion
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      Hugely unbelievable, this was such a disappointment for me. At times I raged at the annoying Ivan, wondered how this ever got published and how it became a best seller. I considered not bothering to finish it but something inside me compelled to continue the torture further!

                      Ivan is annoying. Very annoying. And somewhat creepy. He is very childlike in the way he acts and speaks but is in the body of a grown man. He never ages. He tells Elizabeth he is from Ekam Eveileb. Make Believe backwards. How she didnt put 2 and 2 together and figure out this is the same Ivan as her adoptive sons imaginary friend i will never know. The way he talks is very child like and simplistic. He spouts cliches at any given opportunity and is a new age hippy in his thinking. He becomes jealous of Elizabeth when she is in contact with any other male which gave me the creeps. Its all very twisted. He is like a hybrid of a kids book/horror film.

                      Elizabeth is meant to be intelligent. Howcome she doesnt question why no one else sees him? I refuse to believe she is so lost in this world that it doesnt ever cross her mind that he doesnt tell her anything about his family or anything remotely personal and only delves into her past and noseys about her house. Hes a stranger! Why does she let him in so quickly?
                      Her struggles with her past are done very well, the imagery used and flashback sequences near the end of the book gave it a much needed boost. I thought her relationship with her father, Brendan, could have been focused on more as it was hazed over quickly and gave him the impression of being a mad man.

                      Luke, the adoptive son of her sister, is deprived of any love or affection from Elizabeth due to her struggles with her past. I found this to be sad that she would carry on the vicious circle. He lives in a sterile environment as Elizabeth is so trigger happy with the anti-bacterial spray he is scared of making a mess. I also believe he is much overlooked in the book.

                      Final Verdict
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                      If you are a fan of Cecilia's previous work, I feel you would be disappointed with this latest creation. It lacks the punch, fizz and drama which we are used to and is more akin to a Child bedtime story. It does have a magical feel to it but this is very draining and tiresome about 3 chapters in! Quickly i had a loathesome feeling about Ivan and this spoilt any possible enjoyment I could get from the book.

                      The love story that quickly is generated is unbelieveable and you find yourself hoping Elizabeth goes for Benjamin her work colleague. I wont give the ending away, if on the offchance you read this!

                      Pricing & Availability
                      ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

                      A quick kelkoo search brings up the cheapest price on the internet to be £4.99 at play.com.

                      You can buy this book from any major book store, supermarket or Ebay/Amazon. It is freely available.


                      More Information available at www.ceceliaahern.ie

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                      • More +
                        30.01.2006 20:18
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                        New novel by Cecelia Ahern about Elizabeth a perfectionist whose life is anything but perfect.

                        "If you could see me now" is the third novel by Cecelia Ahern and was published at the end of 2005. I have read her previous novels and was keen to get this one and was lucky enough to get it as a Christmas present from my in-laws.

                        Cecelia Ahern is a young Irish novelist, daughter of Bertie Ahern the Irish politician and sister-in-law to one of the Westlife boys, I think its Nicky who is one of the blonde ones! Her first novel PS I love you was a bestseller as was her second Where Rainbows End. Her novels tend to have romance and humour with a good plot with some twists and turns which keep you hooked to the end. I have enjoyed her previous novels which made me both laugh and cry so as soon as I got an opportunity I started to read the book.

                        They say you should never judge a book by its cover but I am afraid I often do and this book certainly did not disappoint. The book has a gold cover with the authors name in large white lettering. The title of the book is written in pink hand writing style font and is slightly raised. Beneath this is a dandelion head with the seeds spreading all over the cover. These seed heads are reflective silver and catch the light as you move the book. I imagine if you see this book on a shelf facing you then you would want to lift it off and have a look. As a child we used to blow the seeds from the dandelion heads and make wishes (I'm sure my parents wished we wouldn't spread the weeds in the garden!) so from the cover of this book I got the idea that this would be a book about wishes coming true.

                        The story is set in Ireland in the town of Baile na gCroithe which translates as the Town of Hearts. The main character is Elizabeth Egan keeps her heart locked up, a perfectionist whose clothes are immaculate, hair tightly drawn back, house like something out of a home magazine but whose family life is far from perfect. She hides behind her perfect exterior and her obsessional cleaning and stops anyone getting too close to her to stop her from getting hurt. Elizabeth's mother left when she was younger and Elizabeth helped bring up her sister Saoirse as her father showed little interest. This abandonment as a child and the feeling of having to keep the rest of her family together has shaped her adult life.

                        Unfortunately Saoirse is everything Elizabeth is not and is wild, carefree and also an alcoholic. She leaves a trail of destruction wherever she goes. Saoirse is always asking Elizabeth for money and has left her to bring up Luke Saoirse's 6 year old son. Although Elizabeth takes good care of Luke she seems to hold back on showing any real love and emotion towards the boy and this makes Luke feel sad and lonely. Luke however seems to cause Elizabeth very little trouble until suddenly he starts talking about an imaginary friend Ivan. Luke and Ivan are soon getting into mischief and causing havoc around the house.

                        Then Elizabeth meets Ivan a man of similar age to herself but who is so very different from Elizabeth. He is fun, carefree, mischievous, adventurous and caring. Elizabeth is wary of Ivan, he tells her little about himself but has the ability to get her to open up. The book tells the story of how Ivan changes Elizabeth's life and how their relationship unfolds.

                        I found this a lovely story to read, it is a heart-warming and makes you reminisce about your childhood. I think Cecelia Ahern has written another bestseller and this book rates just as highly as her previous novels. As you read the book the plot unfolds and it is not what you would expect. As I read the book I wanted to keep reading on and discover what happens. I liked the characters in the book, they seemed real and as you progressed through the book you felt you really knew them. Sometimes you get to the end of the book and you feel a little disappointed but this was certainly not the case in this book. The ending is not what I expected but I liked it all the same. If you have read Cecelia Ahern's other books and enjoyed them then I would certainly recommend this one to you.

                        ISBN - 0-00-721225-9
                        Cost - RRP £10.99 but currently £4.39 on Amazon
                        Pages - 330
                        Format - Paperback

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                          30.12.2005 00:17
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                          A warm tale of love, magic and a New Best Friend

                          I have read both of Cecelia Ahern's other books, P.S. I love You and Where Rainbows End and so sat down with great relish to read this.

                          Set in Ireland, this is the story of Elizabeth, who adopted her sister Saoirse's son, Luke who is 6 years old. Elizabeth has issues with most things and likes everything to be in it's place. Luke has only one room he can play in and Elizabeth does not really know how to communicate with this child. She has problems expressing emotion and with her background she finds it really hard to communicate her feelings. She has no friends at all.

                          Her mother ran off when she was 12 leaving her to be mum to her baby sister, her father is still waiting for her return and is withdrawn to the point of being a recluse. Her sister Saoirse, 12 years younger, is wild, always disappearing and not taking responsibility for herself or others. Consequently Elizabeth found herself being adult from a young age and never really had the chance to be a child. She is unbending in her routine and personality.

                          Enter Ivan, who arrives to find a New Best Friend and chooses Luke. He doesn't choose any old New Best Friend, they have to need him. Ivan and Luke become Best Friends and Elizabeth feels frustrated about Luke's "Imaginary Friend". However, after doing a little research, she decides that she can go along with this until it stops, reading that these friends only last on average, 3 months.

                          However, one day Elizabeth starts to hear Ivan and eventually she sees him. She also presumes everyone else can see him and doesn't realise he is her New Best Friend. Normally Ivan and his colleagues can't be seen by adults and Ivan is confused and consults his group. They agree that he should just play it out but Ivan then starts to help Elizabeth with the problems in her life and she starts to fall in love with him. To say any more would spoil the story ... but I just love the coffee shop man with his instant only and Elizabeth throwing it all over the pavement, only for a busload of tourists to buy coffee and do the same, starting a tradition that will keep the man in the coffee shop going in business for a while!

                          I loved Ivan, his simplicity, his warmth and the way he has such fun doing things like spinning on an office chair, blowing dandelions and being an aeroplane. He is an adult with the simplicity of a child and makes you realise that life really is too short and no-one ever said on their deathbed that they wished they had spent more time at work. It makes you want to take the time to go and do something daft and maybe i will ...

                          Written with warmth, humour, tenderness and magic, this is another Cecelia Ahern bestseller, ideal for those longer winter nights.

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                        • Product Details

                          From the internationally bestselling author of PS, I Love You and Where Rainbows End comes a new novel about wishes - and what happens when they come true. Elizabeth's sister Saoirse is a red-haired whirlwind, always leaving behind pieces that Elizabeth struggles to pick up. One of these pieces is Saoirse's 6-year-old son Luke, a quiet, contemplative boy. When Luke is playing in Elizabeth's garden one day, witnessing the latest scene between his mother and his aunt, a friend named Ivan walks into his life. This unexpected and rather mysterious friend will change Luke - but will have an even greater impact on Elizabeth. Always capable and self-contained, Elizabeth finds Ivan creeping under her skin and beginning to change her life in ways she could never have imagined. With all the warmth and poignancy fans have come to expect from Cecelia Ahern, this is a novel full of magic, heart and a suprising love story.