As is tradition now, every Christmas I receive the newest Cecelia Ahern book. This Christmas (for the third time in a row!) I was very ill and unable to eat my dinner, fatigue plagued me, having not slept well for a couple of days, but nothing would stop me starting my new book Christmas night as always. I always receive a bunch of books for Christmas but it is my new Cecelia Ahern that I look forward to opening the most. Anyway, on with the review!
I immediately noticed the change in storytelling, in her most recent books you can see her evolving and changing as a writer. The problem is, I wasn’t immediately hooked this time as I so often am. This was partly due to the number of characters we are introduced to, I wasn’t sure where my attention should be or who exactly this book was following. As it turns out, the book continues to revolve around a few of these characters, jumping through perspectives as the narrative unfolds.
It didn’t take long to pull me in once I was presented with the Lyrebird though, an intriguing girl with a mysterious and unusual story. Laura (or Lyrebird) is a beautiful character to see the world through, isolated for all of her life, her steps into the real world, into the city, are mesmerising to read. She sees and hears the things we have trained ourselves to no longer notice.
However, what is first to be a documentary, following Laura, turns into something I didn’t expect. There was a fair chunk of the book that, I regret to say, I didn’t enjoy and even made me cringe to read. Perhaps it is when we hold a mirror up to life, we can’t help but dislike what we see. However, the particular parts of modern life I was reading are things I already despise about our culture. Maybe it was the accuracy with which Ahern told this part of the story that I struggled so much with. I actually stopped enjoying it briefly, and Ill be honest, for the first time when reading one of her books, I nearly put it down.
The beauty in the novel is in the background noise, the emotions circling the main storyline. What I like so much about Ahern’s stories is the way she writes a love story without telling a love story. She doesn’t write sweeping romances, her novels focus on love in all its forms, the way it truly affects people and their lives.
The book is beautifully written, while remaining honest. There are moments that make you laugh and yes, moments that make you cringe! And while it doesn’t chart in my top five Cecelia Ahern novels, it’s not because it doesn’t have that touch of magic all of her stories possess. If you’re new to Cecelia Ahern novels then my advice would be don’t start with Lyrebird, go right back to The Gift and see it as a progression of her writing.