So it was the readathon on Saturday and I couldn’t participate because Joel was on call and Eleanor was all NEEDING ME and shit so I figured I’d just read P.S. I Love You in my spare moments and maybe have myself a good cry.
I am not having an appropriate emotional response to this book.
First of all, I can’t get behind a couple whose biggest fight is about which of them is going to get up and turn the light off at night. Even if…no. ESPECIALLY if one of them is dead, because this means that they’ll never come around to fighting about the mortgage or SOMEONE’S behavior at the Christmas party or what have you.
And then LATER, when Holly opens the note from Gerry that’s all, Buy a bedside lamp you horse’s ass (HA HA JK he is like, Spend a majillion dollars on a light source, my dearest love and the light source of my life and untimely death) and she is like, We could have bought a lamp ages ago and spared ourselves those fights, I am like, NO SHITS, but then she is like, ‘perhaps neither of [us] wanted to end them. It had become a routine, something familiar that made [us] feel closer.’ And I am like OH LE BARF.
Ok so back it up for the unaware: Holly and Gerry are perfect, but then Gerry dies (after being brave and noble through a short but ravaging illness) and then it’s been two months already and everyone is like, You should be fine now, and she’s like, I should, shouldn’t I. I’mma go get my hairs did. (By her super-gay hairdresser. Whose ‘honey-colored hair matched his honey-colored skin’ and from then on in my head he is Nicole Kidman during her hyper-blonde, super-pale, taupe-wearing phase where she was all one color all the time.)
And Holly keeps being like OH UGH MY FAMILY well I guess they’re not TERRIBLE I mean, Jack and I go out for drinks all the time, and then later on that same page I will reiterate that Jack and I go out for drinks all the time because we are CLOSE, and also I seem to really enjoy my younger sister and my parents are caring and adorable and I, to all appearances, really like them TOO, but of course I have an obligatory older stick-in-the-ass brother who I HATE and whose wife I also HATE and whose children I HATE so MY GOD YOU GUYS MY FAMILY. It’s like ‘Quirky Family Dynamics’ is somewhere on Ahern’s list of Novel Imperatives For Fun and Profit but she can’t actually write quirky family dynamics, in the same way she can’t actually write sarcasm but keeps tagging ‘she said sarcastically’ onto things that are not sarcastic.
Case in point: Ciara (who is OMG THE WILD ONE WHO TRAVELS AND GETS TATTOOS AND HAS CASUAL SEX) shows them all a tattoo on her ass (OMG SO WILD) and then later is like, Oh, I have a photo of me bungee jumping, and she reaches into her pocket, and ‘everyone looked away just in case she was planning to reveal any more bits of her anatomy’ like she was going to be all PSYCHE here are my boobs instead. Listen, reaching into your pocket is a totally normal thing to do after you’ve just been like, I have a photo here in my pocket that I want to show you, but her family has to be like LA, WE ARE SO SCANDALIZED. Because Ciara is the scandalous one. Q.E.D.
(Sidebar: Holly goes on at length about how awful her brother Richard and his wife Meredith are, those hyper-pedantic candy-depriving stock-comic-book-villain assholes, and then also their kids suck. And then when one of the kids is like WHINY CHILD ANTICS and one of the parents is like *superfluously rigid punishment* Holly is like, Well good, I’m glad they are brats so that I can enjoy their being chastised. Which, having established that their parents are tools and that the children are young enough to have no real agency re: the appropriateness of their behavior, you are pumped to see them punished? All this is to say, Holly is sort of a b.)
(OH MORE OF THAT SAME SIDEBAR: Ciara comes back from Australia with prezzies and ‘Meredith quite comically wasn’t given anything’ and I’m like ha ha I wonder why she hates you all and if I was Meredith I would ALSO be like,
which Meredith does, and Holly is all like, *quizzical face?* like you expect her to stick around after you’ve been shitting on her for hours. YOU are the mean girl, Holly. You.)
And then there are stupid things, like Holly walking over to the fireplace and then, half a paragraph later, walking over to the fireplace again, or finally opening the envelope from Gerry because ‘[s]he was tired of punishing herself about what could be inside it, so she was determined to end her silent torture of herself,’ emphases MINE but endless narcissistic spiral of selves AHERNS.
Or like how, as a teenager, Holly caught boys by ‘stay[ing] quiet and flirt[ing] with her eyes, fixing them on her favorite boy and not moving them till he noticed.’
Or, it’s Holly’s 30th birthday but also, like, three months after Gerry died so Holly just wants to have a quiet girls’ night out (a quiet, black-out-drunk girls’ night out which no one remembers afterwards. I really hope a later plot point is that Holly shagged some random and is now pregnant), and her friends show up with prezzies and Ciara gets her a ‘battery-operated…[ellipses implies a sexual implement, screams of laughter ensue]’ and then Holly is like, ‘Well, I’ll definitely need this.’ GET IT? Because her husband is DEAD? So she needs a…you know what? No.
Holly, you are awful. I don’t care if the last letter Gerry writes you is all like, Now move on with your life and go marry Jeremy Renner. I am not sad for you and I don’t believe your alleged sadness and *I* want to marry Jeremy Renner.
I put this down in the middle of a paragraph, like, 70 pages in, and I think it’s down for the count.