24 January 2014

Just Like Heaven


Originally published as IF ONLY IT WERE TRUE

Synopsis: What do you do when you find a stranger in your closet, particularly when she's surprised that you can even see her – and she can disappear and reappear at whim? What if she then tells you that her body is actually in a coma on the other side of town? Should you have her see a psychiatrist or should you consult one yourself? Or do you take a chance and believe in her, and allow yourself to be swept up in an extraordinary adventure?

This is the beginning of the dilemma that Arthur, a young San Francisco architect, is faced with when he discovers Lauren in his apartment.

Arthur is the only man who can share Lauren's secret, the only one who can see her, hear her, and talk to her when no one else so much as senses her presence. So when doctors prepare to end Lauren's physical care – which would destroy the magical bond she and Arthur cherish – he must find a way to save her. For, after all, it is only her love that can save him.

Stats for my copy: Mass market paperback (movie tie-in), published by Pocket Books, 2000; 229 pages; purchased at a library sale.

My thoughts: When I saw this book at a library sale I snatched it up, because I very much enjoyed the movie version with Reece Witherspoon and Mark Ruffalo. Usually (in my experience anyway), the book is better than the movie, but in this case, the book fell flat for me. The movie is a romantic comedy, but the book is more of a philosophical love story. The makers of the movie took the basic premise of the story – doctor wrecks her car, is in a coma, leaves her body and begins hanging around with the man who rents her apartment – and then changed pretty much everything else. Even the main characters' names are different in the movie.

For the most part, the book was a bit boring. I didn't connect with the characters, and none of them really stand out. We get to know the morose Arthur pretty well, but Lauren is still just a ghost at the end (metaphorically speaking), with not much of a personality of her own. A day after finishing the book, I can't remember much of it at all, though scenes from the movie are still vivid in my head even though I’ve not seen it in probably over a year.

I think I'm gonna go see if it's available for streaming on Netflix now.

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