Beach reads: every girl needs them. You’re either glopping yourself in sunscreen for the third time, being forced to be shark bait in a giant tube the color of last year’s spray tans, buried up to your chin in sand with some nephew building your new and improved boobs, taking selfies in front of the pier, or you’re listening to the soft escape of the wind on the ocean and ignoring all the sounds of yelling sweat haired children in the distance because you have a beach read. A romantic comedy in book form, for the perfect sand in your toes feel even if there is just bed sheet against your toes. You can read a few pages in the car to drowned out the in-laws political conversations. You can hide under an umbrella, or a floppy hat and only look up to see what embarrassing thing your friends are doing now. You can avoid swimming out to that sand bar two hundred feet away where you saw dolphins and far too many small fish the night before. You can relax.
Harper Collins was gracious enough to share a copy of One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern for my bedtime reading success. If I was on the beach though, I’m telling you, this book would have gotten another whole star just for atmospheric purposes. One Hundred Names is about a woman who is lost in her life due to her own need to get ahead. Her only way out of feeling lost is by following the lead of her mentor, Constance, to a story for the magazine she writes for. Constance is dying of cancer and tells Kitty that there is a final story she would like to tell. Before Kitty can get back to Constance’s bedside, Constance passes away and all Kitty finds is a list of names.
In the beginning she searched out the first people on the list and not having much luck, she starts searching geographically. Beyond her search, she goes through problems with the men in her life, problems with literal shit that people leave on her doorstep because of the mess she’s gotten herself into by being a lead news woman on a story that turns out to be untrue. However, by searching the one hundred names, Kitty finds out more about herself, more about the human condition, and more about the variety of different life journeys that people can take. It was one of those, “Awwww” endings that makes everything come out with a glass half full of rum.
It’s got a great cast of characters, perfect for a movie, in case Ahern wanted to take that route again after PS. I Love You was such a big hit with the 20-30 RomCom glee club. There are old and young people, people who are brilliant and people who hide behind their own hair, there are men with attitude and men who are too quiet to get what they want. There’s a girl who is constantly proposed to only to never actually be proposed to. It’s just a generally fun read and it talks about how ordinary lives can be extraordinary. I think this book is one people need in a time when everyone is looking to social media to determine their own value. How many “likes” do your photos get, how many “friends” do you have compared to someone else, or even better “followers.” You must be a leader with 413 “followers.” We want to live in other people’s vacations, people’s affairs, people’s jobs, and in turn we start to feel useless in our own beautiful lives. This book says that everyone has equally important stories to tell. It’s not the story that counts, it’s how you tell it and who you tell it too. Maybe we need to stop telling our stories on news feeds and start living them in the moment.
(If the Food Lion 2 cents lion was here, he would agree with me).
I think this book was published at a poignant time to show the importance of the mundane, the everyday, the small things, like someone letting you in line in front of them at Walmart because you have so few items compared to their 748 paper towel rolls. This is a good reminder, a happy ending reminder, that everyone counts and in fact, it shouldn’t really be about math anyway. People can’t judge others by the number of plaques they have, degrees, or even status comments, but instead by the lives they lead and the affects they have on others. Bring joy to your world with One Hundred Names, even if it is a simple story with a simple title and a simple message, it might just get you in that bathing suit from last season that you didn’t quite find attractive because it’s an excuse to sit back in a beach chair and listen.
Coming out May 6th from Harper Collins, I can assure you that your local Target will be carrying this one. The following came up when I thought this book was out on May 5th, I have to leave it because I find myself hilarious: And yes, I am telling you to stay home and read on Cinco De Mayo instead of making a fool out of yourself in a sombrero. This is not a time for the Macarena. Those pictures WILL end up on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and screenshot Snapchat. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. (But seriously, get as many “likes” as you can).
I am a writer, educator and genuine creative living on the coast of NC. Our house is built on sunshine with my husband BJ, dog named Tucker, and our two very sassy cats: Fromage and Jasper.