Description from Goodreads:
Now in paperback: In this charming novel, internationally bestselling author Cecelia Ahern shows that sometimes not seeing is believing! Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering us a heroine who is entirely believable, and the new man in her life who is, well, slightly less so.
Elizabeth Egan's life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It's how she counteracts the chaos of her family--an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother's footsteps, leaving her own six-yearold son, Luke, in Elizabeth's care. When Ivan, Luke's mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesnt know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth's eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real? If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart--and just a touch of magic.
My mom is a huuuge Cecelia Ahern fan - she has read every book Ahern has written and I think she even owns hardcover copies of them. I think I was probably around 16 when mom recommended If You Could See Me Now to me for the first time. She promised I would miss something special if I didn't pick up the book. So I did. And I didn't regret my decision, not at all. In fact, the book became my favourite chick-lit novel.
I'm not a hardcore fan of genre, but this book completely blew me away and restored my faith in adult contemporary romance books. I think this is partly due to the fact If You Could See Me Now (just like Ahern's other books) has the magical realism element in it. However, it's not too overwhelming but there's just the right amount of magic to give the story a fairytale like quality.
I remember first thinking that the concept of the book sounded a bit far fetched and even childish. Could have I been more wrong? The concept turned out being fantastic! Elizabeth has ended up being the guardian of Luke, her sister's son. Elizabeth has a very rigid and diagrammatic lifestyle - everything has a place, structure and time, and it is for the best to follow the formula of life she has come up with. If she just follows the set of rules, she will be okay. She will be safe. But then a mysterious adult-friend of Luke, Ivan appears. Ivan is playful, funny, surprising and charming. He starts breaking the rules Elizabeth has set with amazing results.
Oh my god. As one can expect, Elizabeth and Ivan end up falling in love. I won't say anything else about it, but gahh!! The most frustrating, beautiful, dramatic, fulfilling, unselfish, memorable romance I've ever read. Elizabeth and Ivan are still my one of my true pairings, and I keep rooting for them forever. They are just so perfect for each other, and I simply loved the effect Ivan had on Elizabeth - he was able make her enjoy her life instead of trying to struggle from one day to another.
But the book wasn't just a love story. There were plenty of funny situations which made me giggle and getting strangle looks from my dad (while mom was nodding approvingly). I rarely laugh out loud while reading books, but If You Could See Me Now had so many comical and just simply wonderful scenes which made me smile days even after finishing the book. But of course, the novel wasn't just all about happiness and romance constantly. Elizabeth has some daddy issues and she has this constant worry on her shoulders concerning her little sister/Luke's real mom. Issues like alcoholism and depression were handled with a gentle hand which gave surprising depth to the book.
Even though I love the book from the bottom of my heart, I have admit that I have read the book only once. I loved it so much the first time, that I'm afraid that the second reading will destroy the image I currently have. And I'm just not ready to face the possibility that the idea will shatter, not just yet. I think someday I will get this incredible itch to read If You Could See Me Now, and then it's the time to reread it. But not today, or even tomorrow.
If you like reading chick-lit and haven't read this book, DO IT NOW! I promise, you won't be disappointed. Even though Elizabeth is over 30 (if my memory serves me right), I could surprisingly well identify with her. Maybe it was her character - the good girl who has done everything she was asked - to which I could relate so well. Ugh, just thinking about her character makes me want to read the book again! The development of her character was so well written. Only love for Cecelia Ahern for writing such an unbelievable book.