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Does Fate Exist?
Where Rainbows End - Cecelia Ahern
Member Name: blonde_girl774
Where Rainbows End - Cecelia Ahern
Advantages: Easy to read, heart warming, interesting style of writing.
Disadvantages: A little tedious to follow her style of writing at times.
Having studied English Literature at A Level a couple of years ago I’m always tempted by those books that promote light-hearted, undemanding enjoyment but somehow still manage to feel guilty when buying them. I’ve got my English teacher in the back of my head on autopilot constantly reminding me that these books are not going to further my knowledge of the English novel world or my literature appreciation but you no what, sometimes I just don’t care!
I first discovered the talents of Irish born Cecilia Ahern with her first tear jerking and touching novel “P.S. I Love You.” Within a week I’ve digested her second novel “Where Rainbows End” which I sneakily stole off my housemate from her Asda shopping bag. To sum it up in three single words I’d describe it as optimistic, encouraging and just slightly tragic at the same time.
The book transcribes the lives of Rosie and Alex from childhood right up to adulthood in a series of letters, emails, postcards and internet chat messages. There are also numerous entries in a similar format from their children, partners and friends too. They’re childhood best friends whose relationship continues right into early and mid adulthood but sadly, due to events beyond their control, their unfaltering love for each other is always pushed to the back of their minds. The book follows them through childhood scraps through puberty and the endless traumas that are induced by this time, their teenage years and the apprehension that surrounds University and growing up.
Of course no book would be complete if everything were plain sailing throughout and this story is no different to any other. There’s an obvious bond between the two main characters and yet somehow fate intervenes and prevents them from being together by firstly Alex immigrating to America, Rosie falling pregnant and them both ending up with other partners. The question that remains in the forefront of your mind throughout the novel is whether or not fate will intervene yet again to bring them back together.
As to my thoughts on the book—
The style of the book is arguably innovative, although it has been done before I did question whether it had been used quite so effectively. To use first hand communication in the form of emails and instant messages is an admirable way of getting across the emotions and thoughts of the character first hand, it’s from a completely different perspective to the usual narrator in a novel. All too often in a novel these things are left slightly hidden by the need to describe the setting, weather, etc. yet for once this novel does not even address the surrounding contexts. Of course we do learn of their progression in the career world and other such things but the majority of text is based on their personal lives so for once we can feel as if we really and truly know a character. On the other hand the style can be somewhat tiresome at times, all to often the emails are written by various other characters and so the style changes to that of a small child which although can be refreshing it can also be tedious to read. I also felt that as it was written (for the majority) by Alex and Rosie there was little room for character development and progression that can sometimes be adhered to by an outside narrator.
The characters are quite favourable in the book although I did feel slightly exasperated with how certain issues were avoided, the main one being their obvious love for each other. I grew to like and empathise with both characters; especially Rosie who, as you read the book, you’ll learn had no easy start in life but she never once gave any inclination that she’d thought about giving up or feeling sorry for herself. She certainly is a strong character and I feel this is partially what makes the book work so well, had she been a weakling who accepted things then I feel the book would have lacked any drive or progression, creating a rather static story. Alex is rather perceptive and sensitive which again made me like him, had he been a rather tough male I doubt I would have enjoyed the book as much. The other characters we meet are Rosie’s sister, brother, parents and daughter as well as Alex’s son. These all add a little variety to the novel as it may have risked becoming slightly stagnant with just two characters conversing the whole time. The one worth mentioning is Rosie’s female best friend, Ruby. She appears frequently after the first quarter of the book as a replacement figure for Alex and adds a little humorous banter to the book which may otherwise be lacking in the humour region.
The book covers the two main characters life from the age of six right up to middle aged adulthood, which, in just one book can often be quite hard to compress. I did feel that there were times within the book where huge jumps occurred over year spans although this did not really leave me feeling unsatisfied or that I’d missed huge chunks of their lives. The way in which each chapter starts is to almost provide you with a summary of the time you’ve missed in the form of an email which helps to keep the pace going. Arguably if there was a piece of conversation for each month of their lives the book would be much heavier indeed!
As the book drew to an end it left me with a rather strange feeling inside, that of hope and it almost had me believing in fate as well. It certainly will leave you feeling rather emotive and warm-hearted but I do feel the need to criticise the story line slightly in that it was just a little bit tragic almost. Not tragic as in the disastrous association of the word but maybe just a little too heart-rending and almost sickening as the end drawers near. If you’re after a cheer me up novel then this is one for you, if you’re feeling rather cynical at the time of reading or bitter then it’s probably best to avoid. Apart from that I’d recommend it to anyone who likes a good story and has the energy to persevere without getting frustrated with the style of writing within the book.
It reminded me slightly of other modern day writers including Sophie Kinsella and Helen Fielding. If you’ve enjoyed their novels or read Cecilia Ahern’s first one then you’re sure to appreciate this one to almost the same extent.
Ruby: Maybe I'll just invent a diet of my own and give those ridiculous magazines a run for their money.
Rosie: So what's your idea then?
Rudy: Hmm... Ok, you should only eat... whatever food you look like.
Rosie: I bet those magazine diet experts are quaking in their boots.
Ruby: No really! I think I'm onto something here! Teddy always reminds me of a tomato with his big fat juicy red face. The two hairs on his head that stick up remind me of the stalk. I always feel he urge to stick his head in a blender and mix with vodka and Tabasco. A bloody Teddy. Simon from the office reminds me of a Brussel sprout. He's smelly and...
Rosie: What do I look like?
Ruby: Good question... hmmm, I think you're a bit of an onion.
Rosie: Why, do I stink and make people cry?
‘A leading light-romantic talent.’ Daily Express.
‘Brilliantly written, you'll laugh and cry.’ Heat
The book is priced at £6.99 in paperback with 568 pages, available from supermarkets, book stores and the internet.
Summary: The second novel by Irish author Cecilia Ahern.