Saturday, December 14, 2013

Beautiful Literary Fiction, One Hundred Names by cecelia ahern, a Dublin Author, Delivers Heartwarming Story

Katherine had finally forced herself to visit Constance in the hospital. She had been ashamed to face her. Constance had hired her on the team at Etcetera, a unique, different type of magazine with Constance at the head... She had more or less let Katherine pick and choose what she would write about...

Now she was used to being told what to write and, her writing in itself had changed...but she didn't realize it...

Some people say that you shouldn't operate from a place of fear, Constance went on, but if there is no fear, how is there a challenge? Often that is when I've done my best work, because I have embraced the fear and challenged myself. I saw this young girl who was afraid she wouldn't fly and I thought--aha--she is the girl for us. And that is what Etcetera is about. Sure, we covers politics but we cover the people behind the politics. We want them for their emotional journeys, not just so we can hear their policies but so we can hear the reason for their  policies. What happened to make them believe in this, what happened to make them feel this way?... We are all about people, about feeling, about emotions. We may sell fewer but we mean more, though that is merely my opinion, of course.

Constance also counseled Katherine about what had happened, but assured her that she had not lost her job at Etcetera. During that conversation, Katherine had asked her if she had one story that she still wanted to write. In response, Constance sent her to her home to a certain file, and told her to bring it back and that they would talk about it and maybe work on it together...

Constance died before she came back to the hospital...

One Hundred Names
By cecelia ahern

The lack of capital letters for this author's name will tell you about her--and her novel. It is such a lovely piece of literature. You can trust that this will make a perfect gift for any adult at any time. It is a precious story that is both memorable as well as a reality that few of us stop to consider. We have a story to tell...

The reality at the start of the novel for Katherine, though, was that she was in a major professional "jam" and, unfortunately, she couldn't get out of it. She had written a story, accusing a man of child abuse, and even, fathering a baby...and it was based solely on the word of the two teenagers involved...and it was run on television! Of course, she was fired, and the company was sued for big bucks! Whoa, the worst type of situation--for everybody!

Is there something you want to get off your chest,
I came by to make sure that you were feeling okay
about the trial tomorrow, but the more you talk,
the more I can's help but not feel sorry for you.
You accused a well-respected PE teacher, who is
married, with a young family, of sexually abusing
two students and fathering a child. On television.
In front of the entire country. And you were wrong.
...I know all of this, I know what I did, she said more
confidently than she felt.
And are you sorry?
Of course I'm bloody sorry, she exploded. My
career is destroyed. Absolutely nobody will ever
hire me again. I've cost the network who knows
what, if he wins his case, which he probably will,
and God knows how much in legal fees, and their
reputation. I'm over...
You see, this is what bugs me, Kitty.
Your tone, you're so...flippant about it all...
If you are an individual that thinks today's news people are going too far to create and exploit sensationalism, you may be happy to hear this--and not like Katherine. This is the intriguing part, because she had to have it drilled into her as to how she had changed, just by going into another type of media... Katherine was just as much a part of the overall story as were the individuals she began to meet...

Other than Constance, her boss and mentor, he oldest and best friend Steve, spent time trying to help her see what had changed about her. After the story on the false abuse had run, she was branded, hunted, haunted...but she was most concerned about herself...

Steve tried to explain that it wasn't about her--it was about the man whose career had been ruined by the story...

But she couldn't hear him at the time...

And probably many of us would not--so concerned and scared about their own career and future...

Interestingly, the new manager that had been filling in for Constance was the "Do it" type of boss that she had just had, but Katherine was not quite as willing to just listen and act. And then with Constance's death, there was much discussion about how to best honor her...

Finally, her husband was willing to listen to Katherine, who had by now started writing under Kitty, to try to allow people to forget...and she brought the file that Constance had asked for. There was nothing in the file but a hundred names... Kitty got the assignment contrary to what the manager wanted... Now she had to figure out what the list was the people were connected...why they were placed on the list, plus get their stories! All within the time before the memorial edition which would run in the next issue...

This book reminded me somewhat of Pat Bertram's Daughter Am I, although without the humor. Still there was attention to the details of the lives Kitty began to gather and told in such a way that it allowed both readers and the characters themselves to be inspired by what was happening! That makes for a very cool book in my opinion! This book is all about the readers being placed in Kitty's position of meeting new people, working to find their secrets--mainly, at that point, to figure out how they were connected--and then, as the writer, to find "the angle" for their personal story...

I found every single one of those interviewed to have such sensitive stories to share. But I think
Do you know where Bridget lives?
We lived next door to each other for forty years. She's a
great woman. A bunch of selfish good-for-nothings her
children turned out to be. To hear them talk you'd think
they think they're royalty. Far from how they were reared,
I'll tell you that. She had a fall is all, she said angrily.
She tripped. Who doesn't take a tumble now and then.
But, oh no, it was off to the nursing home for poor Birdie
just so that lot could sell that house and spend the money
on another skiing holiday. She grumbled to herself, her
mouth moving up and down angrily, her false teeth
sloshing around inside...
the first one, a woman who was in a nursing home, with little attention from her family, who had made a bet many years ago, that she would never live until 85... She was very ill at the time and really wasn't expected to live... I guess she showed her personal strength to everyone, didn't she? 

Would you believe the business was still open?! Sadly, the man, who apparently had been an admirer, had already died. But that's not the end of that story...and all the other ones!

Given the time of year, I think the story of the gift-giver was very special as well--although this book won't be out by then! In essence, she would be hired to find the perfect gift for someone to give to another individual. In order to do it, she went to stay with the individual to whom the gift was to be given! I have to say that not very many people would have the "heart" to discover these beautiful gifts... Kitty even got one!
Kitty was immediately intrigued, both by Eva's philosophy and by her earnestness. 
I invest a lot of my time into my clients, Kitts, Eva smiled. I need to know that they care about who they're giving a gift to, or else how can I possibly care? I'm sure it's like you writing a story. If you don't care, how can the reader?...
I'm probably not the person you need for this, Eva said, which surprised Kitty. He was willing to pay her anything and she was turning it down....I'm sorry, George, this job isn't for me. Eva smiled and stood...
...So why did you say no to the job, exactly? Kitty asked.
...I was wondering, can you remember the first gift, really memorable gift, that you received that really meant something to you, that perhaps sparked something inside you? Perhaps it sparked this...this desire you have to buy people the perfect gift...

Eva lied to Kitty and told her "My Little Pony..." But she told her the truth before the book was over!

Sometimes you just need a "feel-good" book for yourself. One that you can sit back, enjoy... but eventful and insightful enough for you to stop and ponder to yourself. Am I like Katherine? Am I like Mr. Webb for whom Eva refused to work? And, more importantly, do I have a story to tell about my life? 

The only thing I wondered was whether, if you had an assignment, maybe even to yourself, would you make the effort to find those 100 names of people about whom you want to get to know better. The magazine Etcetera decided to continue this on an ongoing basis. I'm not sure it would work for another book, but with this writer, and her imagination needed to create such characters for this first one, hey, I'd look for the sequel...It definitely is a book to share with others. I've never been in a book club, but this one, it seems to me, would be a perfect selection. I'd like to talk about this book and all the memorable stories and why they were all so special...

Highly recommended--for those who recognize this is a book for your TBR list, just from reading my review!



Before embarking on her writing career, Cecelia Ahern completed a degree in Journalism and Media Communications. At twenty-one years old, she wrote her first novel,  PS, I Love You which instantly became an international bestseller and was adapted into a major motion picture starring Hilary Swank. Her subsequent novels, Where Rainbows End, If You Could See Me NowA Place Called HereThanks for the Memories The Gift and  The Book of Tomorrow were also bestsellers along with her collection of short stories, Girl in the Mirror
Cecelia co-created the ABC Emmy Award winning TV comedy Samantha Who?, Hallmark’s Three Wise Women, and adapted her own novella, Mrs Whippy, for the stage. Cecelia’s books are published in forty-six countries and have collectively sold over 13 million copies. She lives in Dublin with her family. 

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