P.S. I Love You was a best-seller in 2007 but I never thought of reading the book because it was about a young woman who lost her husband to cancer.
A young married woman myself (with a living husband), I certainly didn’t want to read about such a horrifying situation.
When my someone dear to me died suddenly, PS, I Love You was the first book I grabbed from the bookstore. When you lose someone so dear and important in your life, it didn’t matter whether the protagonist in the book was a woman, a man and whether the person who died was their father or husband.
I just NEEDED to read a book about someone else who’d recently lost their loved one.
PS, I Love You is about Holly who loses her childhood sweetheart and husband, Gerry, to cancer. A few months after he dies, Holly finds a package Gerry sent to her mother’s house – it contained 12 letters for her – one to open each month!
Of course, Holly is very, very happy to grasp at this last “conversation” with her beloved Gerry, especially as her only fragment left of Gerry was his voicemail recording. When his scent starts leaving his clothes, the bedding and the apartment in which they live in, Holly looks forward to the beginning of each month when she can still “keep in touch” with the dead Gerry.
The letters really help Holly to get through the first year of Gerry’s death because they got her out of the house, focused on DOING something new and also to move forward in her life.
Reading P.S. I Love You, I could identify with:
- her desperation to hold on to EVERYTHING that reminded her of her happy times with Gerry. Unless you’ve lost someone who died, it must seem crazy to you when one clings on to the dead person’s photos, personal items, clothes, cigarette ashes – anything that person used, bought or used;
- her sense of loss and confusion. Gerry was Holly’s anchor and compass in life. He motivated her, helped her to focus on what’s important and most importantly, set her on a straight path ahead.
- “It’s been a year. You’re STILL grieving over him?” The most common, over-used and over-rated sentence I’ve heard from people around us. And of course, the famous “Time will heal.” Yes, that’s right and please remember that the sentence isn’t “Time will heal in ONE YEAR.”
When someone has been an important part of your life (50-100%?) for more than 10 years, how do you expect that person to get over his death or absence in just 1 year?
I really sympathize with Holly here because she is a young widow and when she is seen with another man within a year of Gerry’s death, tongues wag and people even accuse her outright of being “unfaithful” to her late husband.
I find it really ironic that people would say, “He’s gone. Look ahead of you. Move on with your life.” but when she actually does that, people are shocked! Somehow, they expect her to continue being the Black Widow and if she does…I’m sure they’ll go tsk, tsk, tsk, “She can’t let go of the past“.
And somehow, people seem more forgiving of the depressed, grieving person even though they’ll say, “She should have moved on with her life…” when a young widow ends up alone and sad.
How many people do you know who’ll say,
“Wow, look at her now! She’s gotten over her dead husband and is moving on with a new life. A fresh start. I’m sure her husband will be comforted to know that she’s getting on well without him. She can survive.”?
However, I think the book painted a rather rosy and perfect picture of “life after a death” because Holly found replacements for the various roles Gerry played in her life through her father, Gerry’s best friend, Holly’s older brother, Holly’s younger brother and her new male friends.
Real life isn’t like that at all!
Overall, I think PS, I Love You is a good read for someone going through grief and loss.
- BOOK REVIEW: Irreplaceable by Stephen Lovely
- BOOK REVIEW: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
- BOOK REVIEW: The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards
- REVIEW: Switcheroo by Olivia Goldsmith
- Christmas, Christmas…