What’s It About?
Usually referred to as an invisible friend, Ivan is anything but. Ivan has a very special job – befriending people, mainly children. He takes pride in injecting fun and hope into his friend’s lives. It doesn’t matter that the grown-ups don’t believe in him because he knows he is making a difference. But it all gets complicated when he befriends Luke.
Luke is just a regular kid, even if his family aren’t particularly ‘normal’, so Ivan is unsure at first why Luke is his next job. Then the possibility that it is actually Elizabeth, Luke’s aunt and guardian, who needs Ivan’s help emerges. To begin with Elizabeth is just like all the other parents, moaning and grumbling about Luke’s new imaginary friend, until she and Ivan become friends. Elizabeth doesn’t realise that Ivan is invisible to everyone else, and Ivan doesn’t realise that perhaps it’s himself that needs the help this time.
Cecelia Ahern is my favourite author due to the completely unique stories she tells and ‘If You Could See Me Now’ is no exception. The story is told from both Ivan’s and Elizabeth’s point of view so the reader is always aware of the entire picture, yet able to understand how both characters feel about the situation. As the book is (mainly) written in third person, I never had any problems with knowing who’s thoughts I am following; however, I sometimes found it difficult to know whether Elizabeth’s side of the story was her remembering events from her childhood, or if it was happening in the moment, though this confusion never made the book hard to understand.
There aren’t that many important characters throughout the book, and I felt that this made the story more complete as I could see a clear picture of each person and their importance in either Elizabeth’s or Ivan’s life. It also means that there is much more focus on Ivan and Elizabeth’s relationship, so I found I could easily identify and connect with them.
This book, like so many of Ahern’s stories, is a bizarre mix of reality and fantasy, yet it is seamlessly written so you are completely absorbed in the world Ahern has presented. At no point did I feel that the fantasy element disrupted my reading and enjoyment.
There are also many themes touched upon within the story told, and I feel that everyone will be able to relate so some of them, whether it be the slightly unusual family, using work as a distraction, or loneliness. These are only some of the themes and the ones that jumped out at me, but I didn’t feel that the author was trying to send me a message, I was just being told a story about people and situations I could relate to.
I would recommend this book to anyone (but bear in mind that I would recommend any of Ahern’s books to anyone as I love all those I have read); but especially to anyone looking for a fairly easy read without the predictability of any specific genre. Unless you don’t like stories about fully-rounded characters, with the opportunity to be thought-provoking, or simply an intriguing read, I truly believe that you will enjoy this book.
Overall rating: 4/5