Ahern wrote this book when she was 21. The premise is clever, a bitter-sweet gimmick where Holly’s husband dies, but he leaves her a series of letters to help her cope in the first year without him. Each letter has a surprise or a challenge and always ends with “P.S. I love you.”
“Their plan had been very simple: to stay together for the rest of their lives. ”
The book however does not quite work. Writing about the grief and pain of losing someone you love is a hard task and Ahern does not measure up to it. Not only that, but she also paints Holly and Gerry’s relationship so rosy and perfect that it becomes hard to even connect to her happiness. It is only natural that one remembers the rosy bits more, but Ahern seems to think that it is more sad that Holly’s husband died because they never fought rather than letting the loss and grief stand on its own.
“She had been given a wonderful gift: life. Sometimes it was cruelly taken away too soon, but it’s what you did with it that counted, not how long it lasted.”
Later on it becomes very apparent that the reason they never fought is that Holly pretty much bent over backwards for her husbands, including a very uncomfortable memory where she comes home from work and he has invited guests over, like a full blown houseparty. She, very reasonably says “hey could you like maybe tell me if you have guests over?” and he shouts at her leaving her to cry alone in the bathroom until she decides he is right and then she gets dressed and gets crazy drunk to prove to him that she is still fun. Right then.
Relationships are weird things, half love, half forgiveness, but they should also be full awareness. In P. S. I love you there is none. I suppose we read books like this to explore our own feelings of what-ifs, a safe way of exploring our darkest fears. This one, however, I read to get to 52.