by Cecelia Ahern
Released on: November 8th, 2004
Published by: Harper Collins
Rating: 3 stars
Word rating: The ultimate feel-good read
Reviewed by: Ellis
Since childhood, Rosie and Alex have stuck by each other through thick and thin. But they're suddenly separated when Alexx and his family move from Dublin to America.
Their magical connection remains but can their friendship survive the years and miles?
Misunderstandings, circumstances and sheer bad luck have kept them apart – until now. But will they gamble everything – including their friendship – on true love? And what twists and surprises does fate have in store for them this time?
I totally read this book because I saw the movie trailer, became obsessed with it and subsequently became obsessed with the idea of reading this book, even though there are a million books I should have read instead. Welcome to my brain. It is ridiculously frustrating place.
Sadly, that obsession with the idea of reading this book never really translated to an obsession with the actual book. I think the fact that I was reading this while also trying to discover as much of New York as I possibly could in five days is partly to blame. I read bits and pieces whenever I could, but it was very hard to finish even a few chapters in one sitting, which made for a rather fragmented reading experience. It also didn't help that the ebook version was horribly formatted. Except for the epilogue, Love, Rosie is a collection of letters, IMs, notes, emails, text conversations, etc. but the formatting was so horrendous that sometimes two completely different conversations were grouped together, which confused my already unorganised brain. Pro tip: if you're interested in reading this book, get yourself a physical copy. It will make life much easier.
Another element that took some getting used to is the length of this novel. I'm not really talking about the actual page count, though it sure isn't the shortest book in the world, but more about the fact that all in all, it almost encompasses 50 years. It also very quickly starts to focus on the adult years. I'd hoped we would have gotten a bit more time with Rosie and Alex and the fundaments of their friendship circa the teenage years, but except for some flashbacks later on, Ahern more or less glosses over that portion of their lives. It's probably because I'm so used to reading YA, but I think it's a bit of a lost opportunity.
Initially, the modernised epistolary structure didn't make it easy to get into the story which is funny, considering it's the main format I use to communicate with some of my favourite people on an almost daily basis. However, it became a charming format that leaves a lot of room for humour once the story got going. The succession of events as communicated by the notes, emails, IMs, etc. were almost Georgia-esque in nature, and it wasn't that rarely that Rosie reminded me of an older Georgia Nicolson. I'm deliberately not using words such as "grown-up" and "mature", because if there's one thing Love, Rosie isn't shy about, it's the fact that you can feel just as lost and confused as an adult who's supposed to have her shit together as you did during your childhood and/or teenage years.
A big difference between Rosie and Georgia, however, is that Rosie is much more self-aware. She's impulsive and has her self-deprecating moments, but just in general, expect everything that can go wrong to actually go wrong. It's funny, but more or less in an I'm glad I don't have your life kind of way. I felt for Rosie. She doesn't have the easiest life, and while I don't always agree with her actions and opinions, she keeps working for her dreams, even when she's close to giving up. She isn't afraid to speak her mind, which gets her in trouble more often than not, but the way she goes about it makes her not so secretly my idol.
What annoyed the shit out of me, though, was the romance. It's not even Rosie and Alex and their complete thick-headedness when it comes to what everyone could have predicted just by reading the backcover, but more their wishy-washiness and the fact that they keep being pulled apart. There were so many so. close. moments and it turned me into a big ball of frustration. I also have issues with the epilogue. The way it suddenly switched from the epistolary format to plain narrated text was super random and pulled me out of the story like whoa. Rosie easily could have written the events of the epilogue in a letter to her sister. It would have felt more natural and true to the story, because Rosie's voice is hilarious.
There's a lot going on in this book. While I think Rosie is the main main character, there are a lot of perspectives. The good thing is that most of them have very distinct voices. Even with the horrible formatting, you can usually predict who's doing the talking, even when their notes and messages are not signed. I had my fair share of issues, some of which were unfair assumptions based on the interpretation I got from that trailer I was so obsessed with, because it seems like the movie is going to take this in a very different direction. Nevertheless, Love, Rosie was ridiculously funny, and while I was completely frustrated for various reasons every other page, it has the same effect as a feel good movie. It's a feel good book that can be terribly frustrating at times.