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Cherish what you have in Cecelia Ahern’s “There’s No Place Like Here”

Cecelia Ahern books are incredibly unique, and different from almost all other books. They are imaginative, creative and contain enough magic that makes us believe in what she’s writing. Ahern specialises in exploring and writing in depth about the littlest things that cross our minds. She can turn one small thought into a full story and that is what makes her stories stand out – they are about things we haven’t reach much about.

In her novel There’s No Place Like Here, the theme is about lost things. Have you ever wondered where our lost things go after we lose them? We have all experienced the pain of trying to find something that seems to have vanished into thin air – a missing sock, a missing earring, a missing watch. Ahern takes this question and answers it in her creative, inspiring and ultimately hopeful novel.

Since Sandy Shortt’s childhood classmate disappeared twenty years ago, Sandy has been obsessed with missing things. Finding what is lost becomes her single-minded goal–from the lone sock that vanishes in the washing machine to the car keys she misplaced. It’s no surprise, then, that Sandy’s life’s work becomes finding people who have vanished from their loved ones. Sandy’s family is baffled and concerned by her increasing preoccupation. Her parents can’t understand her compulsion, and she pushes them away further by losing herself in the work of tracking down these missing people. She gives up her life in order to offer a flicker of hope to devastated families…and escape the disappointments of her own.

Jack Ruttle is one of those devastated people. It’s been a year since his brother Donal vanished into thin air, and he has enlisted Sandy Shortt to find him. But before she is able to offer Jack the information he so desperately needs, Sandy goes missing too…and Jack now finds himself searching for his brother and the one woman who understood his pain.

One minute Sandy is jogging through the park, the next, she can’t figure out where she is. The path is obscured. Nothing is familiar. A clearing up ahead reveals a camp site, and it’s there that Sandy discovers the impossible: she has inadvertently stumbled upon the place– and people–she’s been looking for all her life, a land where all the missing people go. A world away from her loved ones and the home she ran from for so long, Sandy soon resorts to her old habit again, searching. Though this time, she is desperately trying to find her way home…

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I loved the idea of looking into where lost things go. We’re all aware of what it’s like being the one looking for what is lost but very rarely do we hear about being on the flip side of the coin and wanting to be found. Ahern’s books always touch on views and stories we rarely hear about and that is was makes this book so interesting.

The book reminds me of a Jodi Picoult quote: “I don’t know why it’s called ‘getting lost.’ Even when you turn down the wrong street, when you find yourself at the dead end of a chain-link fence or a road that turns to sand, you are somewhere. It just isn’t where you expected to be.” Ahern takes this quote and turns it into a story.

There’s No Place Like Here is a wonderful and characteristic portrayal of the desperation a person goes through to find missing things, and I really enjoyed the feel of the place called ‘Here,’ the resignation that people took to, when their efforts to find a way out turned futile. The writing was incredible and Ahern’s descriptions really pull you into the story.

What I enjoyed most about There’s No Place Like Here was Ahern’s deeper message: cherish what you have, when you have it.

Why is it that we only seem to cherish something once we are given the opportunity to feel the absence of it, or experience the reversal of it? Why do we always appreciate something after we’ve lost it?

That’s basically the question that Ahern looks at in her novel and shows us that we need to cherish things when we have them.

In There’s No Place Like Here, Ahern writes:

“It’s difficult to know which second among a lifetime of seconds is more special. Often when you realise how precious those seconds are, it’s too late for them to be captured because the moment has passed. We realise too late.”
– Cecelia Ahern, There’s No Place Like Here

We need to realise the important things and people in our lives when we have them, when we hold them, when we go to them. Every now and then look around and drink it in. Cherish it. Hold it. Remind ourselves why it was so important to us to begin with. Because it might all be gone tomorrow. As Ahern says herself,

“You can’t hold on to all things forever, no matter how hard you grip them.”
– Cecelia Ahern, There’s No Place Like Here

So cherish it while it’s yours.

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