“Sometimes, it’s only by shining a light on someone else that you can truly understand yourself.”
In her latest novel, The Marble Collector, best-selling author Cecelia Ahern explores this statement in a heart-wrenching tale of unconditional love and self-discovery.
To look at, Sabrina Boggs has it all: a job she loves, a husband who loves her and the children she has always wanted. But scratch the surface and you will find the truth. Her life is in turmoil; she struggles to juggle the demands placed on her of being a good worker, daughter and mother. Anxious to help her ailing father recover his memory after a stroke, her life has hit the monotonous routine of the everyday and she longs to chase down new opportunities, despite not wanting to leave her family and the haven, which they call home.
On a routine visit to the rehabilitation hospital where her father has been recovering for the past year, Sabrina discovers a box of her father’s possessions; things she has never seen let alone knew her father had amongst his meagre belongings. Her confusion leads her to question the father she once thought she knew so well. What else has her father been hiding? How much of her life growing up was based on the lies he told?
Ahern is considered a master of her chosen genre. From P.S. I Love You to Love, Rosie (originally published as Where Rainbows End), her work has seen her earn millions of fans worldwide and even find success in Hollywood, with some of her work being adapted to film. Admittedly, I was a little slow in falling in love with her books. Whilst I, like many others, adored the film version of P.S. I Love You, when I hunted down the novel it was based upon, I was disappointed and ultimately abandoned the book halfway through.
Consequently, I have avoided much of Ahern’s work for quite some time, but with The Marble Collector, I decided to take the chance again, drawn in by the premise of a daughter’s determination to help her father in his hour of need, and ultimately finding parts of herself she didn’t really know she was missing. I am glad I did.
The Marble Collector is a story set to pull at the heartstrings of even the most cynical reader. The subject of a child possibly losing a parent is a tough one to cover for any author and Ahern does it with skill and empathy. While there are points of sadness and tragedy this is offset by moments of humour.
Told over a few perspectives (that of Sabrina and her father – both as a patient in the hospital and growing up), we are given a more complete sense of who the characters are, and an understanding of their respective stories that draw us in and keep our devout attention until the very last page.
This book is much like its plotline, simple but complicated. While on the surface it may seem to be a story of simple self-discovery (much like others in its genre), it is much more than that. It is also the story of the unconditional love between a parent and child, and the lengths one will go to for family.
The Marble Collector is a must have for all fans of Cecelia Ahern’s novels, but for those who have yet to discover her work, consider this your opportunity to do so. You may just find something you didn’t know you were missing.
Review originally published by cargoART Magazine.
Image Attribution: uk.cecelia-ahern.com