„Love, Rosie“ by Cecelia Ahern
What happens when two people who are meant to be together can’t seem to get it right?
Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, they are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston.
Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel of several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn’t quite done with them yet.
It’s difficult to talk about „Love, Rosie“ now, after spending the whole weekend wrapped up in its world. I marathoned through the book, starting Saturday, ending Sunday afternoon, unable to put it down for longer than it took to eat or shower. And let’s face it, even while eating I was trying to read without getting my Kindle dirty. I physically and emotionally couldn’t put Rosie and Alex down, that hasn’t happened to me in a long, long, loong time.
„Marathon“ might be the wrong word though. Marathons are tough, sweaty, dirty and exhausting. They are never-ending, one long mile after the other. When you do reach the end, you feel relieved. „Love, Rosie“ wasn’t a marathon. It is sweet, funny (hilarious sometimes, the characters had just my kind of humour). It will make you laugh out loud and tear up at the same time (but then again, a marathon might make you cry too).
And before you know it, you’re suddenly at the end, on the last page, and you just need more. Luckily there’s a movie for that now, which I watched Sunday night, but more on that later.
„Love, Rosie“ or „Where Rainbows End“ (the original title when it was first published in 2004) is a very special book. And I don’t mean like „every child is special“ special. It’s truly special. Alex and Rosie, the two main characters in the book, have been friends since they were 7. It’s the story from Rosie not being invited to her best friend Alex’s 10th birthday party, because that’s when boys are stupid and girls are not allowed at their birthdays. The story up until they are both 50, trying to just get on with their lives. Almost a whole lifetime fit into 448 pages, how could there ever be „enough“?
Rosie has kept a box in her cupboard of all the letters she has ever sent or received, all the IM conversations, all online chats, birthday cards and newspaper clippings.
And that’s all we get to see. We don’t actually see the characters, we don’t hear them talk. All we get are eMails and letters and text messages. Rosie and Alex and their friends and family, reacting to events that have already happened to them. It’s a format I was curious about, but thought it couldn’t work. As a reader, you want to see the action, not just read about it all when it’s already happened…. I was so wrong.
Telling a story the way „Love, Rosie“ does it, is perfect. You get to hear the perspective and the opinions and thoughts of all the characters, not just Rosie. You get to know them all in a really different way, in a really personal way, that characters don’t often share. Or would you share your private emails with anyone? No? Because they are too personal?
I started reading between the lines, between what two characters write to each other and what they actually mean. Just like a best friend would. Through this personal perspective, I’ve become best friends with everyone in the book, Alex and Rosie of course, but also Rosie’s mum and dad, her siblings, her daughter, their friends… all the characters are dear to my heart now, and I was teary eyed more than once during those 440+ pages, it was almost ridiculous. Again, something like that hasn’t happened to me in a long long time with a book. And it has never happened in such a profound way.
There is one of these characters that will always have a special place in my heart, as it sometimes just happens with characters in books. It’s Alex. During the story I kept thinking, that he is the type of character who makes you rethink your whole life, and you just want to go back and do everything all over again. Find him, become his friend at the age of five, even if that means you have to struggle through everything Rosie and Alex are going through.
The book also made me think about my own friendships. What happened to all the friends you used to have in school? Or even those people you are no longer friends with? Where are they now, and is their life really as glamorous as their Facebook profile suggests? Why did you keep in touch with certain people and not with others? How did these friendships just stop or disappear from your life? It’s sometimes nobody really wants to think about, but maybe we should reflect on these things, and pick up a pen and write some letters ourselves.
Now that I’ve praised the book so much, let’s talk about the movie real quick. „Love, Rosie“ was released into cinemas all over the world last year, but I hadn’t heard about it until recently, and luckily you can stream it online now (Amazon Prime was where I watched it).
Honestly, going into it, I wasn’t expecting a lot. Book to movie adaptions are hard enough as it is, but a book to movie adaption of a book without actual dialogue or character/face-to-face action… let’s just say, I was curious and ready to be disappointed. But I wasn’t. It wasn’t a perfect adaption, but what movie made off of a book is perfect anyway?
I liked it. Really liked it. So much, that it is probably going onto the list of my comfort movies, to watch when I’m having a bad day/week (right next to „P.S. I love you“). It’s a movie that will make you laugh, then cry, and in the end go „aww“, and that’s what we all want from a movie like this, right?
It’s hard to compare it to the book, because too much is missing, too much is different. Of course Alex and Rosie are Alex and Rosie. But Rosie’s sister is missing, and Alex suddenly has a little sister with no purpose, but no big wise and helpful brother. „Family“ was a theme that really stood out for me in the book, the siblings, the children, the friends. Sadly, none of that really made it into the movie.
Rosie’s daughter never even gets to that age, where the important mother-daughter relationship/bonding thing happens in the book. Which makes the ending of the movie a lot less strong than the ending of the book. And Ruby, Rosie’s best girlfriend who I absolutely adored in the book, barely has a face, let alone a voice, or a character. She’s become more of a funny sidekick character in the movie, which I guess every romantic movie needs, but I missed the Ruby from the book.
The whole plot seems upside down, but I can live with all the things they did change. Some of them I even really adored. But I’m not going to spoil you.
Judging the casting decisions was difficult of course, since I’ve read the book on the same day that I watched the movie. I still had my pictures of the characters in my mind, and I didn’t warm up with any of the actors who played the side characters. Alex (he seems like a fixed point of ‚awesome‘ in this whole thing) however was perfect. I never pictured him to look like Sam Claflin, but once you see him, you can’t imagine Alex otherwise. I call that the ‚Ansel Elgort‘-effect… 😉 Jk, but I really loved Sam as Alex!
Getting used to Lily Collins was difficult, but Rosie is such a strong character and she played the part brilliantly, I just couldn’t not like her in the end. She and Sam definitely had chemistry, and I think they could have gotten that point across without having them almost kiss for what felt like a million times. That’s soo not what that one special moment in the book was about.
Right after the movie I would have recommend that you absolutely have to read the book first. So you will know everything they are not showing, understand what’s going on when the movie is moving too fast. Now, two days later, I think I only felt like that because I knew there was so much more, more to the characters, more to the story, everything „between the lines“.
You can definitely enjoy the movie without having read the book, and you will love the book if you have watched and enjoyed the movie.
There is so much more in the book than there is in the movie. So many more lives, a lifetime full of stories, jokes, fighting, and crying, weddings and birthday cards, problems, compromises, resolutions. „Love, Rosie“ is going straight onto my list of all-time favourites. A book I will buy everyone for their birthday, and I will add a birthday card which they can put in their letter box in their cupboards, should they have one.