I picked up How to Fall in Love in the charity shop I work in, having previously read Cecelia Ahern’s most well known books, P.S. I Love You, and Where Rainbows End (or Love, Rosie).
The story focuses on Christine and Adam, who are thrown together one night after she stops him from committing suicide on Dublin’s Halfpenny Bridge. Believing that she failed to save another man from committing suicide earlier on, Christine takes it upon herself to strike a deal with Adam. She claims that she can show him that life is worth living. With his 35th birthday looming, Adam gives her a two week deadline to convince him, or else he’ll finish what he tried to start.
We discover that Adam was at an all-time low after finding out that his girlfriend (who he was about to propose to) had run off with his best friend. On top of that, his father is dying and he has also lost the job he loved doing so much. Christine has her work cut out, as Adam is certainly a character in need. However, as time progresses, it is evident that Christine needs saving too.
Christine runs a recruitment firm, and lives by the rules of self-help books. After witnessing a man shooting himself, she comes to the realisation that she no longer loves her husband, and walks out on him. We later discover that Christine has more troubles and secrets of her own, and whilst helping Adam is proving to be a distraction, is she taking on too much by trying to save him?
So far, I’m sure the book sounds rather gloomy. However, there’s light amongst the dark throughout the novel. Whilst we feel the pain felt by characters, there are also moments of genuine joy between the pair. You will find yourself rooting for both to receive a happy ending.
As well as Christine and Adam, there are plenty of additional characters who enhance the story and create interesting sub-plots. There were also a few clever links in the novel, for example, each chapter was given a “How to…” title, as a nod to Christine’s love of self-help books.
Whilst some have criticised the novel for trivialising depression, we’ve got to remember that this is fiction. There isn’t a quick fix to depression despite this book being set across a period of a fortnight. However, ‘curing depression’ isn’t the moral of the book. How to Fall in Love teaches us to be kind to all, as we never know what troubles people are experiencing. It’ll encourage you to help others as much as possible. It will motivate you to believe in yourself and live life in the way you want to. It’ll also remind you that your happiness is of the utmost importance.
Cecelia Ahern is an Irish chick-lit/romance novelist with a difference. Whilst there is a stereotypical ‘boy meets girl’ romance at the heart of most of her books, she still tackles topics which others like to shy away from.
Despite discussing difficult topics, How to Fall in Love is a fairly light and enjoyable read, which will give you food for thought. It doesn’t quite stand tall alongside P.S. I Love You, but if you’re a chick-lit fan, then this book is definitely worth a read.