Cecilia Ahern is one of my favourite authors. She possesses a unique capacity to dissect human experiences, from the profound to the mundane. Every one of her books that I’ve read has left me silent, awed and reflecting on what is truly important in life. It was for these reasons that I excitedly dug into my latest find at the public library, Thanks for the Memories. It made me sad when I finished the book and only one word came to mind – rubbish. “Thanks for the memories” by Cecilia Ahern was a pile of rubbish.
Well, the entire book wasn’t rubbish, but the main storyline was. It was basically the re-hashed, misleading, hollywoodian, irresponsible theme of “the one”. You know, the romantic soulmate who’s out there somewhere waiting for you, and whom chance will bring to your doorstep, and once you meet this ”one”, your life will be magical and wonderful and you will both live happily ever after. Never mind that both parties were previously married and put very little effort into making their marriages work in difficult times. No. Their first spouses just weren’t ”the right one”, and “they weren’t right for each other”. Granted, there were some fleeting passages where both protagonists thought a little bit about self-improvement. But not enough for it to overshadow the main point of the story – magic brought these two lovebirds together and romance prevailed in the end… well the end of the book at least.
I’ve more or less learned to roll my eyes and ignore the countless books, songs and films that tout this message. At some point, it did irk me, because as a teenager I believed it and made some regrettable decisions based on this premise – that there was some wonderful man out there who would “complete” me. Romance (or infatuation – take your pick) is not inherently a bad thing. However, it is a feeling, and like every other feeling, it is fleeting and unreliable, and should not be the basis of important decisions. Enjoy it while it lasts, but do not make the mistake of thinking that this (new-found) romance will solve all your (psychological/emotional/behavioural) problems. *Sigh*. If I have children, I’ll explain this to them as soon as they’re old enough to understand. Because it seems so many people go through life with this illusion and make mistake after mistake, one bad choice after another. And now Cecilia Ahern has, in her own small way, added to the mess. C’est dommage, really; I’ve found her other books to be powerful and inspiring, and it’s a shame I never got around to writing a piece about the good ones. Actually, maybe I will now.
That’s the end of my mini-rant, as well as my long writing hiatus. Hmmm… since it irked me enough to jolt me out of my writer’s block, maybe it’s a good thing that I read that book after all.