When I read a novel that is based on human relationships I always wonder if the author has experienced firsthand what they have written about. Plots based on action, adventure or historical fiction can be researched and then the skill of the writer gives life to the story. However, in the case of a storyline based on human emotions, unless the author understands his character like an actor preparing for a part, the story fails to touch the reader. In the case of Cecelia Ahern, I have had the same impression right from her first book. Though after reading "P.S. I Love You", which was way better than the ones that followed, it was obvious that here was a girl who has never been married.
To cut to the chase, her current book, "Thanks for the Memories", can be compared to a box of half and half. The rich creamy part is where she describes the central character's relationship with her father. The interchanges are realistic and the scenes well crafted. The thin milky part is the attempt at creating a love story. The romantic bits are uninspiring and there seems to be no sense of chemistry between the hero and heroine (to put it loosely).
Warning: The next bit may contain spoilers, so if you plan on reading the book or are a die hard Cecelia Ahern fan please don't read further.
Though the author has done some basic research on an unexplained phenomenon, it seems like she hasn't convinced herself of it's existence. A woman in her thirties has an accident a requires an urgent blood transfusion. Post procedure she has flashes of memory that don't come from her life - a young girl growing up, the deterioration of a marriage, the loss of a parent - as well as a whole bunch of facts and knowledge that she has never studied or come across before. The story tries to convert this weak link into a full-blown love-at-first-sight story, which just doesn't stick. In addition, the woman is confused about her identity and sees herself as two people, the potential girlfriend and the recipient of the donor's blood. The supposedly romantic scenes are dragged out with the heroine's reasoning bordering on stalkerish and illogical. With the whole plot coming to a convoluted but predicable ending, this book is definitely not worth spending your leisure time on.
P.S. - This is something I just read. The T.V. series, Samantha Who, was co-created by Cecelia Ahern. I love this series. So the author has just been redeemed in my eyes.