Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Book Review - One Hundred Names (Cecelia Ahern)

I have to admit it - I have a not-so-secret fondness for Cecelia Ahern's novels. I'm not quite sure why - on the face of it they should be everything I hate - they have romantic, chick-lit leanings and largely feature young, attractive women as the protagonist. However, I do find them more thought-provoking than many novels usually pigeon-holed as 'similar' - I particularly like the novels she has written with a magic-realist leaning. I really enjoyed 'The Time of My Life' that I was given for Christmas last year. And there, I've hit on part of the main appeal - conveniently Ahern brings out a new novel just in time for my Christmas wishlist. In fact, it doesn't even need to make it on to my wishlist any more as my darling husband is bound to notice and buy it for me anyway. There's not much better than snuggling up on the sofa when there are doting family about to look after those young, distracting things known as my children and have an indulgent read. The book seldom lasts longer than a day - a little longer this year as Archie is still rather demanding of me as his main source of nutrition.

The premise of One Hundred Names is simple, a journalist - Kitty -  is left what is bound to be the scoop of her life by her editor, a good friend, who passes away. Only problem is that her editor dies before she is able to divulge exactly what that 'scoop' is and leaves Kitty with an envelope containing only a list of - you guessed it - 100 names. Kitty's challenge is to, first of all, find these individuals and then to discover what the link is between them - finally she has to write the story. All this must be completed in a ridiculously tight deadline imposed by the acting editor who doesn't really have much faith on her (understandable since she is the-most-hated-journalist-ever due to a mistake she made on a previous story).

It's a nice premise for a story, and I do like Ahern's characters. They are a perfect mix of eccentric and endearing. Of course, the novel is a life-affirming journey for Kitty and some of the other characters involved. There isn't much of the magical aspect I have enjoyed in some of her previous novels (aside from a bloke who can hear the prayers of others), but it was a fun read nonetheless. I also like the descriptions of Dublin prevalent in many of Ahern's novels - reminding me of a particularly lovely break we had there some years ago. All these ingredients go together to make what is really an enjoyable read. It's not 'great literature' but it's fun, easy and cheers up my winter. And that's what Christmas gifts are all about!

No comments:

Post a Comment