Book Review – The Book of Tomorrow by Cecilia Ahern

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Tammy is a bit of a spoilt brat but her world is turned upside down when her father commits suicide. Her mother falls into a depression and the two of them are forced to retreat to her Uncle’s home in the middle of nowhere. However, while being taken care of by her Aunt Rosaleen, Tammy begins to suspect that there’s something nefarious going on, and then she finds a diary that is telling her the future…

First of all, I love the cover to The Book of Tomorrow. I always enjoy it when there are little windows in book covers. But shortly after that the book is filled with quotes telling me how great Ahern is and how well her books have been received, which is all well and good but I found it rather off-putting. Just let me get to the story and it’ll speak for itself. At the end there’s a Q&A with the author, and I always like those so that was appreciated too.

Now to the story itself. It takes a while to get going and the writing has a stream of consciousness feel about it, but Ahern is gifted with a pleasant flowing style that makes the book easy to read. The book begins with a tragedy and the protagonist is trying to deal with the loss of her father as well as the loss of the world that she was used to. I found Tammy interesting for the most part, although early on there were some repetitive parts.

The supporting cast were fairly interesting and its perhaps Sister Ignatius who is the most memorable, but Ahern has a good talent in that she can give substance to characters who are basically plot devices (like Marcus). Speaking of plot devices, the big one is the concept of a diary that writes itself. The conceit is that this diary tells Tamara the future, but its her future self that is writing it. And this is where my two main complaints come in. I’m not sure how the timeline is working here because the future-Tammy who is writing the diary then doesn’t exist because past-Tammy is changing her actions based on what future-Tammy wrote. But I’ve watched a lot of Star Trek and read many comics so fine, time travel is convoluted I’m not going to waste too much brain power agonizing over the mechanics of it.

But there’s no explanation as to why this is happening. There’s not even a hint of magic in any other aspect of the story and it’s just that this magic book exists for some reason (the reason being that the story wouldn’t exist without it). And for some people that’s going to be okay, probably because they’re not as picky as I am, but with stuff like this  I like a reason or for it to be a bigger part of the story. I’d have like to have seen more wonderment about it all.

And there are a couple of times when Tammy tells us that we won’t believe her story, but the actual plot and the resolution of the mystery is believable. It’s well-seeded and I liked how the clues gradually trickled through the prose so that I found out pretty much at the same time as Tammy, but it wasn’t some revelatory thing that I’d never read before. The only thing that required a suspension of disbelief was the book itself, and that’s because there was no exploration of its existence.

Do I recommend the book? Hmm. I think there are a lot of people who will like it, and I certainly think it’s well-written but it’s not for me. The build-up of character and tension was good but the release was anti-climactic and I would have liked more of a magical feeling to the story.

 

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