Cecelia Ahern has not disappointed me yet, and ‘The Book of Tomorrow’ is just another success to add to her extensive list.
Known best for ‘PS – I Love You’ (while we’re on that, the film is hideous compared to the book), Ahern has this uncanny ability to make you wonder at your own life by making everyday incidents – like keeping a diary – into magical events that serve to complete the story and make you question your own life. ‘The Gift’ made me want to cry, because while it certainly wasn’t happily ever after, Lou’s series of epiphanies had supernatural origins that were incredibly relevant to non-literary life.
‘The Book of Tomorrow’ begins with Tamara as the sixteen-year-old spoiled princess who finds her financially-struggling father dead on the floor next to a bottle of whisky and an empty pill bottle. With the devastation at the beginning, the novel follows the ‘PS – I Love You’ route by showing the protagonist’s journey in coping with their loss and moving on to a better and more fulfilled life as a result. Using a younger protagonist, however, allowed Ahern to sufficiently change the tone of the novel to combine grief with an insane amount of hormones swimming around Tamara’s foul-mouthed brain. Some of the obscenities Tamara came out with were cringe-worthy, but instead of causing you to abandon belief in the character, it strengthened it, as despite her obvious moral growth, Tamara still retains some of her bratty need to be extremely blunt. It would have thoroughly disappointed me if Tamara’s first reaction to Laurie had been a full acceptance of his appearance after the fire: her tears and fears both justified Wesley’s actions and maintained the character we’d been told existed before the beginning of the novel.
Rosaleen’s reveal as the big bad wolf, however, didn’t gel properly. Personally, I saw her as too bolshy with Tamara, and while I completely understand she was mentally unhinged and desperately trying to protect the fictitious life she’d created for herself, I thought she would have gone down the hysterical route as opposed to becoming more firm and angrily aggressive in her passion. Angrily aggressive, very dead, good win.
The use of the diary was sparing enough to stop the magic from becoming overused and tiring, leaving the reader craving more as opposed to being sick of having events narrated and re-narrated incessantly. I think the tantalising glimpses at the future showed its fragility and unpredictability despite the potential for life to follow a certain path.
Overall, I think Cecelia Ahern has outdone herself once more, by creating an imperfect world where the characters discoveries enable the reader to see that the here and now can be irrelevant in the face of tomorrow.