I once wrote that I believed that sometimes books don’t find us until the right time; that certain stories find their way into our lives at the perfect time for the perfect reason. Sometimes I’ll even buy a novel that I think will be a great story, but it’ll sit on my bookshelf for months at a time and I’ll wait for the right moment to read it. That moment when I got that “feeling” that that’s when I had to read that book.
That’s what happened with Cecelia Ahern‘s The Time of My Life. I actually bought this Dublin based book when I was in Dublin for a few days away with my boyfriend at the start of the year. After finding it in one of the shops at the airport before we came home, I thought the title accurately summed up what the few days meant to me, and the irony of finding the book in Dublin was the icing on the cake. It turned out the book suited even more than I could possibly imagine, but that’s a story for another time.
I always then referred to it as “my Dublin book”, the same way as I did with the book I bought when I was in Tenerife, and it sat on my shelf for three months before I felt like it was a good time to read it. I don’t what it was exactly that made me decide to read it now, but this amazingly, witty and charming story really made me re-evaluate and think about the way I live my life. Not in a bad sense, but in a way that both ensured and reminded me that I really was truly happy.
Lucy Silchester has an appointment with her life – and she’s going to have to keep it.
Lying on Lucy Silchester’s carpet one day when she returns from work is a gold envelope. Inside is an invitation – to a meeting with Life. Her life. It turns out she’s been ignoring itand it needs to meet with her face to face.
It sounds peculiar, but Lucy’s read about this in a magazine. Anyway, she can’t make the date: she’s much too busy despising her job, skipping out on her friends and avoiding her family.
But Lucy’s life isn’t what it seems. Some of the choices she’s made – and stories she’s told – aren’t what they seem either. From the moment she meets the man who introduces himself as her life, her stubborn half-truths are going to be revealed in all their glory – unless Lucy learns to tell the truth about what really matters to her.
I am a massive fan of Ahern and I never quite know what to expect in her stories because she surprises me in the best possible way. And The Time of My Life didn’t disappoint. This beautifully written up-beat novel has become my personal favourite Ahern novel, and is up there with some of the best books that I have read. It is hilarious, yet serious, getting the balance perfectly right with a dose of insightfulness that will leave you touched.
One thing that I love about Ahern’s novels is that she never fails to add a good underlining meaning and message in them. The message in this book is simple: even if you give up on life, it doesn’t give up on you. Even if you don’t realise that you’ve given up on it. It encourages you to take care of your life and give it the love and attention that you give to your loved ones.
Ahern perfectly sums it up it at the end of the novel:
“As long as you’re around, your life is too. So just as you shower love and affection and attention on the husbands, wives, parents, children and forever friends that surround you, you have to do so equally with your life, because it’s yours, it’s you, and it’s always there rooting for you, cheering you on, even when you feel like you can’t do it. I gave up on my life for a while, but what I’ve learned is that even when that happens and especially when that happens, life never gives up on you. Mine didn’t. And we’ll be there for each other until those final moments when we will look at each other and say, ‘Thanks for staying until the end.’
And that’s the truth.”
— Cecelia Ahern, The Time of My Life
The message in this story is so beautiful and pure that you can’t help but reflect on the way that you’ve lived your own life after reading it.
I said earlier that the book both ensured and reminded me that I really was truly happy, and that could not be more true. By the end of the story, I didn’t wish for my own meeting with life, I wasn’t curious as to what it would say to me. Because I knew what it would say, and I also knew that I was in no need or in an urgency to meet with my life.
The Time of My Life reminded me of everything good I have in mine, and that no matter what crappy situations I sometimes found myself in, it didn’t matter. Because through everything I really am happy, and I realised that my life would be too.