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If You Could See Me Now

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From the bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern, comes an enchanting novel that leads you to wonder if Not Seeing is believing!

Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering us a heroine who is entirely believable, and the new man in her life who is, well, slightly less so.

Elizabeth Egan's life runs on order: Both her home and her emotions are arranged just so, with little room for spontaneity. It's how she counteracts the chaos of her family—an alcoholic mother who left when she was young, an emotionally distant father, and a free-spirited sister, who seems to be following in their mother's footsteps, leaving her own six-year-old son, Luke, in Elizabeth's care.

When Ivan, Luke's mysterious new grown-up friend, enters the picture, Elizabeth doesnt know quite what to make of him. With his penchant for adventure and colorful take on things large and small, Ivan opens Elizabeth's eyes to a whole new way of living. But is it for real? Is Ivan for real?

If You Could See Me Now is a love story with heart—and just a touch of magic.

306 pages, Paperback

First published November 21, 2005

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About the author

Cecelia Ahern

109 books17.9k followers
Cecelia Ahern was born and grew up in Dublin. She is now published in nearly fifty countries, and has sold over twenty-five million copies of her novels worldwide. Two of her books have been adapted as films and she has created several TV series.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 2,452 reviews
Profile Image for Rebecca.
Author 4 books145 followers
November 13, 2012
What did I think? WHAT DID I THINK?! Well, if I told you that I sat on the bed and cried exactly like this for about five to ten minutes after I'd closed the book, does that put it in perspective for you?

Front Cover.
I really, really liked the front cover for 'If You Could See Me Now', it was simple, natural, and actually depicts a huge part in the book. When I first saw it I thought it was lovely anyway because I love the thought of making a wish with dandelions and then blowing them to watch your wish float away on the breeze, but you don't truly understand the power of the front cover until you have read the book. What I love about Ahern's cover is that she hasn't gone over the top with it. With so many ideas and themes floating around in the book, she could have gone absolutely mental! But she didn't, thank god! And I think she achieved the desired effect, without a doubt!

The book's about...
So, the book is set in a small town in Ireland and is about a woman, named Elizabeth. Elizabeth grew up with a dysfunctional family. Her mother wanted to be a free spirit, she couldn't cope with staying in one place for too long. She wanted to go on her own little adventures, to explore and not be rooted to the same place forever. Elizabeth's father never questioned this, he only wanted his wife to be happy, even if it meant he was left on his own to look after Elizabeth for days on end. Elizabeth was not an only child though. Oh no. Her mother also gave birth to another little girl, named Saoirse, which, after looking into it, means freedom in Irish Gaelic. And true to the name, that is what she is. As their mother disappears once again, their father is left to care for both of them, cradling and nursing Saorise to hush her crying. When it all gets too much, their father hands Saoirse over to Elizabeth, and she brings her baby sister up herself.

Now, Elizabeth is the foster parent of Saoirse's six year old son Luke. Elizabeth ended up growing up into a stern young woman. With her mother constantly absent and only dropping in and out when she felt like returning to the nest, Elizabeth missed out on what it's like to be truly loved by a mother. Now, with little experience of love and affection, Elizabeth tries her damned hardest to bring Luke up in the best way she knows. With her constant cleaning, coffee rituals and lack of humour, Elizabeth is beginning to wonder where she goes from here. Her sister Saoire never did grow out flying, just like their mother. She uses Elizabeth's car whenever she feels like it, drinks until the sun comes up and is happy to leave her little boy in the care of her sister, rather than taking on the responsibility herself.

One day, after Elizabeth has just seen Saoirse, once again, get into her car and drive off, she slumps down at the kitchen table and sips her coffee. Suddenly, she hears the sound of Luke mumbling to himself in his toy room. It turns out that Luke has created his own imaginary friend, known as Ivan. In fact, Luke didn't create Ivan, Ivan found Luke.

Little does Ivan know, his world is about to turn upside down, and not because of Luke. As Ivan begins to become more and more enthralled by Elizabeth, they are sent on a journey together that will change both of their lives. Forever.

The Characters Were...
The characters were fantastic! Elizabeth is the perfect face of a headmistress. She's so stern, never laughs, always wears dull colours, has her hair tightly pulled back, and thinks life, for her, is going nowhere. As a struggling interior designer, she's finding it hard to find any inspiration, and work for that matter. Until, a hotel is being built in the area and she decides to apply for the position. What I didn't like about Elizabeth was the fact that she let so many opportunities go because Saoirse was in some sort of trouble. But I guess that's family for you. You learn that she would break her back just to help her sister or her father. She really needs some fun in her life, some laughter, some excitement, something magical...

Saoirse annoyed the hell out of me! Gr! As much as I understand the need for people to get away from their worries and problems sometimes, this woman just took it too far! Yes. She's probably learned from the best (her mother mainly) that it's okay to ditch all of her responsibility and just fly away to wherever you want and be free as a bird. But, really? Are you going to leave your son under your sister's supervision because you can't be bothered, and you're too busy running around all over the place and acting like an immature teenager! I mean, honestly! She's lying on the hills in the small village, drinking underneath the sky and running away with groups of hippies, while her sister is struggling to bring up her son in a life that's not sure what it wants to do with her! GOD DAMN IT SAOIRSE! What is wrong with you!?! And the way she speaks to Elizabeth? I felt so sorry for that poor woman, she's got a whole load of stuff weighing down on her shoulders, and Saoirse just keeps swanning in and out like a f*cking fairy! Urgh. I don't like her.. Sit down Saoirse, just sit the f*ck down and shut up.

Luke was an awesome six year old boy, just plodding along, regardless of the mess that his mother has made. He's just a normal six year old I think, playing with his toys, laughing at silly jokes and, I think, just wanting to be cuddled and told "I love you". He is the one who Ivan links on to, and who helps Elizabeth realise that she can love, she doesn't realise that she has it in her.

Now, out of all of the characters in this book, this guy has to be my ultimate favourite! Ivan is the imaginary friend, although I have to add, it really annoys him when people refer to him as imaginary or invisible. Damn, he hates that! Ivan is an awesome guy. He comes into Luke's and Elizabeth's life just when they need a little bit of colour brought into their dull, grey world. He's a converse wearing, friendly and lovable guy, who really knows how to cheer people up, even when they don't want to smile.

Did The Author Pull It Off?
I think Cecelia Ahern pulled it off extremely well! There's so much magic and creativity hidden inside this book, it really makes you smile! :)

Surely There Must Have Been One Bad Point?
The only bad point was that stupid b*tch Saoirse. Gr.

Final Thoughts.
I was crying. I was laughing. I was crying some more.
And then I heard myself saying, "I believe..." ;)

Profile Image for Karolina.
83 reviews422 followers
July 7, 2014
I thought I'd make it simple and just list a few facts about If You Could See Me Now:

1. It is not a typical romance novel.
2. It is not to everyone's taste.
3. It's written for people with imagination.
4. It has made me laugh and cry in the most unexpected way.
5. It's 'sprinkled with magic'.
6. It taught me that sometimes you just need to let go and simply enjoy.
7. It is an indescribably touching story.
8. It made me want to have Ivan as best friend, if only for few days.
Profile Image for Sara.
102 reviews
February 24, 2008
I read Ahern's first book, P.S. I Love You, and despite the only reason she probably got it published is because she's the Irish PM's daughter, it was a cute book with a sweet premise. I didn't like this book as much. Now I have no problem with stretching my imagination, but at least the reasons for what's happening is usually explained. I'm probably going to spoil this book, but I'm not going to bother with spoiler tags because the book isn't even worth reading anyway! However, if you do want to read it, I'd advise not to read anymore of this review! You've been warned! Okay, so we're introduced to 34 year old Elizabeth who is a perfectionist with a Type A personality. Her mom left the family when she was little and she has a younger sister who's a binge drinker, so she's adopted her six year old nephew. And one day Ivan comes into her life. Now here's the kicker: Ivan is an imaginary friend! At first only her nephew can see him (and btw, I thought it was a bit creepy that a man who looked to be in his 30s wanted to play with a little boy, even though he wasn't any age, but still...ewww). Then Elizabeth starts to see him, (she thinks he's the father of her nephew's friend) only she doesn't know he's invisible, and of course nobody else can see him, so they all think she's crazy, but she doesn't even suspect anything which is clue #1 of how stupid she is. Now at first, I thought Ivan wasn't real, that was all in her mind, kind of like in Fight Club, but I'd be giving Ahern too much credit...but nope...he was actually an invisible person who worked with these other imagainary friends. It was so stupid, it's not explained why or how. Plus Ivan is the most annoying person - he throws paint on Elizabeth, he wakes her up at 6 am (ugh) with an annoying rooster call, and he speaks backwards. He acts like a child, pretty much. So why she falls in love with him, I don't know. (She must have looked pretty stupid when everybody saw her kiss an invisible man). So yes, I thought the book was really stupid with irritating characters. Ahern also learns not to use the same phrases over and over. She used "they said the word like a disease" THREE times. She also did that in P.S. I Love You where everyone "rolled their eyes to the heavens." But I would recommend that book to this one.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Amira.
126 reviews
November 22, 2008
This was my first Cecelia Ahern read and I sincerely hope it won't be my last because it was just so amazing. The concept of the novel was so beautiful and innocent.

When I read the blurb, I had no idea there was a sense of magic about it. I just thought it was a normal chic-lit book that intrigued me, yet again. Oh, how wrong I was.

Ahern took me on a journey whereby I witnessed things I hadn't thought about since childhood. I was thrilled by the happiness, sucking me in wholeheartedly but I was also saddened by all the sucky-ness of life.

However, more than anything it was about growing up. Even if you're in your thirties, having to sit in your office facing the blank wall ahead, at least sit there and use your imagination! Ivan promises you'll use your imagination boundlessly, and Ivan always tells the truth. It's his favourite by far.

Recommended for everyone lacking a little magic in their everyday life!
Profile Image for Michelle.
1,341 reviews115 followers
August 11, 2022
One of my favourite authors and never disappoints, this book is no exception. Loved it.

Easy five stars.
Profile Image for Myrna.
705 reviews
July 8, 2019
This book needs to be read with no inhibitions. It was a great fantasy read for this time of year. The audio was well done with great melodic music, Irish accents, etc. At first I didn't care much for this book ..... *mild spoiler*..... no book with an imaginary friend can beat Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, no book. LOL! Then this book took a whole different twist on love, letting go, and finding happiness. Wish it ended differently but it made sense.
Profile Image for Elaine.
604 reviews231 followers
January 21, 2016
This is a very hard book to review because whilst I did have some misgivings about parts of it, on the whole I really enjoyed reading this magical fairy tale of a story. It is the story of Elizabeth and her imaginary friend Ivan, whose relationship develops over the course of the book to a point where someone has to say “stop, this will not work”. The story itself is really lovely although there were times I wanted to shake Elizabeth. It was as if she could not see what was, or was not staring her in the face a lot of the time, very slow on the uptake although, having said that, the reader does know things that she doesn’t. It is a bit like watching The Sixth Sense the second time around. You start to wonder when the penny is going to drop with her – when will she realise that nobody ever speaks to Ivan and that he never speaks to them.

It is probably fair to say that she is not the easiest person to like at the start of the read. She is very cold and has built up walls around herself, not allowing herself to love and dissuading others from getting too close, and that includes little Luke, her young nephew who she has adopted. How my heart went out to that little mite, who really only wanted her to show some affection and have some fun.

I just loved the idea of Ivan and his fellow imaginary friends in some sort of countrywide network, going from lonely person to lonely person offering invisible friendship, but I would have liked to delve into his world deeper. Where was their office, in our world or on a separate realm? If it was in a separate realm, how did they get there? Where and how did they live in their off time? They couldn’t get through a closed door, but at times they seemed to pop up all over the place – how did they get into these buildings and if their office was in our world – how did they get through the door? It was just those niggly little details that got me wondering about the logistics of it all.

Finally, at one point, I thought we were going to see a lot more of Elizabeth’s wayward sister Saoirse, especially after “that” scene in Elizabeth’s office, which would have added a whole different dimension to the read, but nothing ever really came of that, which was a real pity.

Having said all that, It was a really entertaining, fun read that grabbed my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope I don’t sound as if I didn’t like it, because I did – a lot!
842 reviews
February 8, 2011
Ugh. I really struggled with reading this book. It took me so much longer than it should have just because I could not get into it! I guess I am just too practical to enjoy this one. :) I have no problem with a book being a little unrealistic, for the sake of a good love story. :) But in this case, I had a problem with a woman falling in love with an "imaginary friend" who is in fact real, but not really. Arrgg. I could not take it. I could not get into it. I felt like I was reading a childrens book. I love Cecelia Ahern's first 2 books though, so I plan on reading her other books as well. Just wasn't a fan of this one. Sorry! :(
Profile Image for Gatlianne Gatlianne.
Author 4 books14 followers
October 19, 2012
This book sat on my bookshelf for quite a while...waiting for me to be ready to read it. And when it was time...it was time. I flew through the book unable to sit it aside. The story is so sweetly touching. It's playful and lighthearted yet full of deep emotion and caring. I couldn't wait to finish the book to pass it along to a friend. This is a story about coming into your own and letting go of the deep seeded beliefs and fears that get in your way. You finish it and it's like you're sitting inside a cloud of fairy dust...soft and sparkling and full of awe. And you realize so much the little ways you have or haven't been truly living, or the ways your fears have held you back and suddenly you can see no other way to live other than laughing in a field making wishes. Ahern has done well.
Profile Image for Mark.
38 reviews2 followers
September 9, 2010
Ah, kindness. It's the thing we crave the most, and all too often it doesn't show up. This lovely book blazes with it. This is a breezy romantic comedy/fantasy, but what you might not expect is the emotional punch. It will floor you.
Elizabeth Egan lives in a small Irish town and takes care of her nephew Luke. She's an interior designer and her life seems perfectly organized, but hectic. Into their lives comes Ivan, a sort of "professional imaginary best friend". They usually show up to help kids, but it's Elizabeth, who seems to have forgotten what it's like to imagine and dream, who needs him. What follows is a series of hilarious scenes of misunderstanding fueled by Elizabeth's "sleepwalking" through her life. Interspersed with these are episodes of breathtaking emotion. Cecelia Ahern's writing is very good, but in these scenes it is simply brilliant. This is the kind of story you totally disappear in. It's about letting go and finding your imagination, but then you stop and think that it is the imagination of one person - the writer - who has created this wonderful story. Ahern is the kindest of writers. She even makes sure we can say the lovely Irish name "Saoirse", Elizabeth's troubled younger sister.
Maybe a story like this HAS to take place in Ireland, where the fantasy element feels so natural you simply go with the flow. Somehow I think if this took place in America there would be shrinks, pills, and darkness. Even as Elizabeth comes to grips with the sadness in her past, it feels liberating. You will cry your eyes out, but you will feel good. I did not see the "twist" coming in the middle of the story. You ladies will probably see it a mile away. What is especially good about this story is that it can be enjoyed by people from ages 10 to 90. It will grab you and linger.
The online gossip is that there is a movie in the works, and Hugh (He acts! He sings! He dances!) Jackman will play, I assume, Ivan. I can't wait.
Profile Image for Amina Hujdur.
403 reviews19 followers
June 28, 2022
Topla ljudska priča o prijateljstvu, odrastanju, porodici...
Nosi snažnu poruku, da svako u naš život uđe sa jednim ciljem, da ostavi neki trag. Stil je lagan, jednostavan, rečenice koncizne, dijalozi zanimljivi.
Profile Image for Nina Life of a Bookworm.
326 reviews129 followers
July 13, 2014
Da vam istinu kažem ne sjećam se kada sam kupila tu knjigu. Mora da je bilo davno. Malo me primila Cecelia Ahern groznica pa sam nakon Knjige sutrašnjice uzela ovu u ruke jer iskreno govoreći nisam znala što bih čitala dalje.
Često mi se zna dogoditi takva situacija. Mnogo sam puta vidjela fotkice staklenki s papiričima na kojima su naslovi knjige i da ljudi na takav način biraju što dalje čitati. Iako je to nekima super, ja sam užasno izbirljiva. Moje raspoloženje me najčešće navodi prema nekoj knjizi.

No, da ne duljim mogla bih napisati svoja razmišljanja o knjizi. Je li netko plakao na ovu knjigu? U prošloj recenziji spomenula sam kako sam plakala na neke knjige od Cecelie, ali to mi se sa ovom nije desilo. Ili sam ja prerasla njene knjige ili one više ne utječu na mene kao što su to Na kraju duge i Hvala ti na uspomenama utjecale ILI ove zadnje dvije uopće nisu trebale biti toliko emotivne. Hm, mala zbrkica je nastala. Moram priznati da mi nije bila niti duhovita toliko. Što reći? Bila je dobra, ali ne savršena. Očekivanja su mi bila veća.

Bez obzira na to što mi nije savršena knjiga je i dalje dobra i kvalitetna. Cecelia ima svoj prepoznatljivi stil pisanja s lijepim citatima i laganom pričicom. Elizabeth je perfekcionist, kontrol frik, a i opsesivno čisti svako malo. Ne želi imati djecu i ne zna baš kako ostvariti kontakt s njima. To što ona ne želi djecu ne znači nužno da ju nema. Njena sestra Soarise je divljakuša, blago reći, i kao takva ne može odgajati svog šestogodišnjeg sina. Elizabeth ga je odmah po rođenju posvojila i brine se za njega. Usput reći, opterećena je i svojom prošlošću jer joj se majka ponašala isto kao i rođena sestra; karakter koji se ne da obuzdati, neprekidno izbivanje. U svoj toj strci njen posinak/nećak upozna novog prijatelja. I sve bi tu bilo super da taj prijatelj Ivan nije izmišljeni lik. Elizabeth misli da Luke izmišlja, no kada na Internetu pročita da izmišljeni prijatelji traju kojih dva do tri mjeseca ona se opusti i prihvati igru. No Ivan nije tu da bi bio najbolji prijatelj s njenim nećakom već je tu radi nje. Iako ga ubrzo i sama Elizabeth može vidjeti ona ne shvati da je taj Ivan isti onaj Ivan koji je bio maloprije nevidljiv.

Privlačnost između njih dvoje ne može se zanijekati no uzmemo li u obzir da je Ivan samo netko koga ona i njen nećak mogu vidjeti ta veza ne može imati budućnosti. Može li?
To vam ostavljam da sami otkrijete. Knjiga se lako čita i dobra je za odmoriti si mozak. Neće vas naživcirati tako da je dobra za opuštene ljetne dane.

Moja konačna ocjena: 3,7/5

Ovo su mi dva najljepša odlomka iz knjige:
„Nije važan naš izgled, nego uloga koju imamo u životu svog najboljeg prijatelja. Prijatelji biraju prijatelje samo zato jer im treba takvo društvo u određenom razdoblju, a ne zato jer su odgovarajuće visine, dobi ili zato što imaju odgovarajuću boju kose.“ Str 84
„Kad ispustite čašu ili tanjur na tlo, začuje se glasan zvuk. Kad se razbije prozor, pukne noga stola ili kad slika padne sa zida, začuje se buka. Ali kad pukne srce, nastane tišina. Pomislili biste da će nešto tako važno napraviti najveću buku na cijelom svijetu ili da će se začuti neka vrsta ceremonijalnog zvuka poput udarca činele ili zvuka zvona. Ali ne, čuje se samo muk i gotovo poželite začuti neku buku koja bi skrenula pozornost s boli.Ako i ima buke, ona je unutra. Vrišti i nitko je ne može čuti. Tako glasno vrišti da vam uši odzvanjaju i glava puca. Otima se poput velikog morskog psa uhvaćenog u moru; zavija poput medvjedice kojoj su uzeli mladunče. Tako to izgleda i tako to zvuči kao velika uhvaćena izbezumljena zvijer koja je zatvorenik vlastitih osjećaja. Ali takva je ljubav... nitko nije nedodirljiv. Divlja je i boli kao otvorena rana izložena morskoj vodi, ali kad se zapravo slomi, sve utihne. Vrištite samo iznutra i nitko vas ne može čuti.“ Str 204
Profile Image for H.
330 reviews105 followers
June 4, 2017
5 stars

This book is the book that taught me precisely the feeling of wanting to throw it at a wall across the room ((thankfully I barely refrained))

No but seriously, why? like um I'm not writing a freaking review for this, I feel lightheaded from all that crying and all I want to do is throw this book at a wall, this book has ruined me.

like I went into the book thinking it'd be some cutesy sweet thing about how a person grows up from their past and is like "if you could see me now" adressed to the people in their past BUT NO I DID NOT NEED THIS PAIN. I PUT FULL BLAME ON THE DEVIL, LUCIFER, AND SATANFOR THIS LIKE WHY WOULD YOU RECOMMEND THIS WHAT HAVE I EVER DONE TO YOU. I can't even *cries*, like no I can't even cry anymore I'm all out if freaking tears and all I have is my heart breaking into a million pieces beyond repair every time I think of THIS FUCKING BOOK

on a side note I wanted to see saorise get better but I'm fine I don't need anymore scenes that'll make me cry I AM FUCKING FINE. I SAT DOWN FOR A MOTHER FREAKING CUTESY CONTEMPORARY NOT THIS I DID NOT SIGN UP FOR THIS *cries* oh look I do have tears left.
28 reviews5 followers
January 20, 2008
I decided to pick up this book for a couple of reasons. One, P.S. I Love You was made into a movie and I wanted to see what kind of writer it was. And two, the Prime Minister's daughter wrote a book at 21. That's gotta be worth looking into, right. Well, I got to page 60, and I couldn't go on. She tends to drone on about certain things (like how Elizabeth's mother left the family and how Elizabeth is very neat and precise and particular, and I really don't need to know about all the types of coffees in all the countries the character had been to) but not detailed enough about other things. I didn't really like the characters, they weren't very well formed. They tended to be very one-dimensional, which is fine if you're writing a fairy sort of story. Still, I didn't like the characters. I couldn't identify with any of them. The character of Ivan, the imaginary friend, was at times really childlike in an annoying way. He liked to get grass stains on clothes because they never come out? How annoying is that?! And it was awkward to imagine him loving a grown woman when he thought like a child so much himself. It was a cute idea, but the execution lacked refinement.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Zahra Rhm.
131 reviews92 followers
September 10, 2016
زندگی از ملاقات ها و جدایی ها تشکی�� شده. مردم هر روز به زندگی تو میان. تو به اونا صبح بخیر و عصر بخیر می گی. بعضی برای چند دقیقه تو زندگی تو می مونن، بعضی برای چند ماه و بعضی دیگه هم برای یک سال، بقیه هم برای تمام عمر
فرقی نمی کنه اون چه کسی باشه، کسی که ملاقاتش می کنی، یه روز ازش جدا می شی.
ممکنه وقت رفتنش بخشی از تو رو با خودش ببره یا اثری از خودش رو پیش تو جا بگذاره.
اگه این تاثیر، مثبت باشه، باید همیشه ممنون شانست باشی

پ.ن. ایوان یک دوست نامرئی بود. شاید کسی که تغییری در ما ایجاد می کنه، نامرئی باشه.

پ.ن.2. ایوان خیلی لطیف بود. اشتباه کرد که رابطه ش رو با الیزابت عمیق تر کرد. اما اشتباهاتش به قدری بچه گانه بودن که نمی شد بهش سخت گرفت. به شخصه کسی هستم که از اشتباهات شخصیت های داستان ناراحت می شم. ولی ایوان این حالت رو برام نداشت.
بنجامین هم شخصیت جالبی داشت. مردی پخته و کاملا حامی بود. نه تنها کارهای عجیب الیزابت رو مسخره نمی کرد که حتی باهاش همراه هم می شد.
Profile Image for Versha.
274 reviews252 followers
July 20, 2021
There are some books which makes you happy just like that without any genuine reason behind it, this was one of those for me. I really like this imaginary world of happiness which Cecelia Ahern created and yes it was indeed a modern fairy tale with a practical ending which was actually the best part. Whenever I used to open this book it only took me to another world, a world which I was glad to be a part of.
Profile Image for Vir.
914 reviews130 followers
February 26, 2015
Si pudieras verme ahora es una lectura muy tierna, divertida y con un toque mágico y especial que me atrapó desde la primera página. Cecelia Ahern nos deleita con unos personajes entrañables y algo peculiares, y una historia de amor diferente que nos enseñará una valiosa lección.

Profile Image for Sandra.
457 reviews
July 4, 2008
I wasn't sure what to expect, but at the library, I found this on the shelf and decided to give it a chance. I really, really liked it. I usually don't just pick up a book from the shelf--I like them to be recommended or on a special table, but I'm glad I did.

Elizabeth, an independent, fierce, rigid person, who is raising her carefree sister's six year old son, is on the pathway to a very lonely and loveless existence until she meets Ivan. Ivan turns out not to be who she thought he was, but that's what makes the story endearing.

I was enthralled from the first page and couldn't put the book down. It was a great idea--that in the synopsis seems to be overplayed in modern literature--but it turned out to be something completely different.

Not knowing a lot about Ireland it was great to also read a little bit about the Irish countryside.

I did, however, find Elizabeth to be a bit indulgent. She can't seem to let go of this fairy tale image she has of her disappeared mother and she seems to whine quite a bit about being the self-prescribed keeper of both her father and her sister.

There are 12 years separating Elizabeth and her sister, so Elizabeth essentially raises her. Then when her sister becomes pregnant at 16, Elizabeth takes on that responsibility as well. I personally thought that at 28, Elizabeth would have enough sense to know that the baby stood a better chance at being adopted then being raised by an unwilling aunt who resented his existence.

I didn't particulary like how the book ended either because it left a lot of open questions. But for the most part I enjoyed the premise of the book and would definitely recommend it.
Profile Image for Andy.
75 reviews18 followers
May 17, 2013
If you could see me now... This is the second book I read by Cecelia Ahern, a long time ago, the first one was P.S. I love you, before the movie came out. I read a review about it, and was set off to see what is was about... And did I found something incredible indeed. Cecelia has captivated me, in all her books.
But I must say it's If You Could See Me Now the one that has such an special place in my heart, words are just not enough to explain. See from the very first moment, I felt a connection to Elizabeth, she and I are a lot similar. In some ways I'd say we are just the same. I've learned to live my life just like her, trying to keep everything under control, needing the stability a quiet life can give you, getting by day after day. Not daring to take my shoes off the pavement. Saoirse and Gráinne remind me of my sister and mother, who liked to fly away from reality quite often aswell. But like Ivan said to Elizabeth the more you try to simplify things,the more you complicate them. You create rules, build walls, push people away, lie to yourself, and ignore true feelings. That just complicates everything, and you are left stucked in a moment watching your life go by, but not living it. Sometimes we are to afraid to loose control and get hurt that we just forget to live life.
I'm still waiting for my invisible friend to show up. Or to be able to see him, or her. To open my mind far enough to become one of the lucky people who get to enjoy such a magical and wonderful world.
Profile Image for Marjolein.
405 reviews40 followers
June 14, 2019
Will Cecelia Ahern ever not make me cry? Probably not.

This was another beautiful story filled with imagination and joy. I loved it. It was happy and lovely and sad at the same time. It was a lovestory, but then again it wasn't. It was about loving yourself and accepting yourself and choosing happiness over sadness. This book had a great moral and I can highly recommend it to everyone. This was my fourth Cecelia book and again, it was a definite win.
Profile Image for Lamees.
30 reviews
November 11, 2015
Note: this review is written in both languages, Arabic and English.
ملاحظة: هذه المراجعة مكتوبة باللغتين: العربية والإنجليزية.

قالت لي صديقتي: هي أجملُ ما قرأتُ حتى هذه اللحظة.
فأعلنت أعماقي ولادة سؤال خفيٍّ فضوليّ جديد: هل هي جميلة إلى هذا الحد؟

لم يكن لديّ جوابٌ على سؤالي بعد بالطبع، لكنّ عيني صديقتي مي كانتا تقولان الكثير وهي تتحدث عنها كما تتحدث أم عن ابنها الذي تحبّه وتقول رأيها فيه دون اكتراث بالعالم أجمع.

كانت عيني تؤلمني في تلك الفترة، وكانت هذه تجربتي الأولى مع الروايات الإنجليزية المكتوبة بالإنجليزية، فقد اعتدت قراءة الأدب الأجنبي مترجمًا فيما سبق.
ورغم إجادتي للغة الإنجليزية إلا أنني ما استطعت قراءتها بسهولة في البدء فقد اعتدت قراءة الإنجليزية العلمية بعيدًا عن الأدب.
ولا بأس بالاعتراف بما واجهته فالبدايات صعبةٌ دائمًا.

على أية حال، بعد محاولات قليلة استطعت، تخطّي عقبة اللغة، والحمدلله، وبدأتُ أبحر.

قراءة هذه الرواية كان دائمًا بمثابة الإبحار.

قابلتُ فيها مواضع كثيرة أجبرت عينيّ على أن تغلقا كي أسافر بعقلي وقلبي إلى عالم ثانٍ بعيد جدًا.. جميل جدًا.
عالم خيالي تتكاثفُ فيه الحركاتُ والألوانُ والأضواءُ والمشاعر .. وأغرق فيه حبًا.

أنهيت قراءة هذه الرواية منذ ستة شهور تقريبًا
وما زلتُ أشعر بقشعريرةٍ فريدة تلفّ جسدي كلما تذكرتُ شيئًا من أحداثها.

كانت لي معها تجربة جميلة حقًا.

شكرًا سيسيليا!


[ حول الرواية ]

الرواية بمجملها تعدّ رواية درامية. لكنها تدعم هذه الدرامية بلمسة من الخيال والفانتازيا. لمسة ليست بكبيرة إلى حد إفقاد النص ما فيه من واقعية، ولا صغيرة إلى حد يفقدها ما لها من تأثير.

وهي تحتوي قدرًا معقولاً من الكوميديا والرومانسية يناسب خطّ سير الأحداث بشدة.

تدور قصة الرواية حول "إليزابيث"، السيدة التي رأت من الماضي ما أثّر فيها إلى حد جعلها تنزعُ عن ملامحها لباس الشعور فبدت لكل الناس امرأةً جافةً حازمة صارمة.
تدور الرواية حول إليزابيث عاشقة القهوة، إليزابيث المرأة الجادة جدًا والتي تقابل في حياتها منعطفًا أبعد أبعد ما يكون عن الجدية والواقعية فتبدأ حياتها "بالشقلبة"
لم تنتهِ هذه الرواية إلا وفي قلبي رغبة لمقابلة إليزابيث شخصيًا.

لن أقول المزيد حول قصة الرواية كي لا أحرق الأحداث :)


أتساءل كثيرًا عندما تعجبني روايةٌ ما عمّا إذا كانت ستعجب شابًا في مثل عمري بالقدر نفسه، لكنّ سؤالاً كهذا لا أستطيع إجابته.
لذلك أود التوضيح أنني عندما أبدي رأيي برواية ما فأنا أتحدث عن رأيي بها كفتاة قارئة بشكل خاص.

ربما يكون للرجال رأي آخر بشلال العواطف الذي سيقابلونه بين السطور.


في الحديث عن المكان فالمكان في هذه الرواية حاضرٌ إلى درجة تمنحُه مكانًا عميقًا في الذاكرة كأي مكان سبق للقارئ زيارته "فيزيائيًا" من قبل.
وقد يكون السر وراء هذا وضوح المعالم وشدة توافقها مع الأحداث والشخصيات.


أما في الحديث عن الأسلوب فقد اعتمدت الكاتبة نظام التنويع في أسلوب سرد هذه الرواية فأبعدتها بهذا عمّا قد يعتري الروايات ذات الأسلوب السردي الواحد من ملل ورتابة.
فتراها قامت بسرد الأحداث على لسان الراوي الخارجي مرةً وعلى لسان أحد الشخصيات مرةً أخرى بشكل متتابع سلس مستساغ.

ملاحظة: في مواضع معيّنة كنتُ أشعر بتأثر الكاتبة إلى حد ما بالإخراج السينمائي المعتاد للافلام الأجنبية.
على أية حال، قد ظهر ذلك بشكل طفيف لا يسيء للنص.


أخير��ا عند الحديث عن هذه الرواية فلابد لي أن أقول أنّ نهايتها كانت موفّقة جدًا.
وأن لغتها كانت جميلة جدًا.

قبل هذه الرواية ما كنتُ أتخيل أنّ اللغة الإنجليزية قادرة على أن تنال إعجابي كلغة روائية أبدًا.

مرةً أخرى أقول شكرًا سيسيليا.

وشكرًا جزيلاً يا مي.



"This is the best book I have ever read" said May, my friend.
"Is it really that good?" I asked myself.

The sparkle in her eyes and the warmth in her voice while describing the novel were similar to those of a mother describing her beloved small little baby.
These passionate expressions answered my question immediately.

She succeeded in letting me stop reading translated non-Arabic novels and start to read this first English-written novel in my life.

Oh god, I did struggle in the beginning. Beginnings are always difficult.
It took me few days to get into the groove.


Like an ocean full of hidden wonders, this novel seemed to be. I felt like sinking deeper and deeper with every page of it.

It widened my imagination and carried me to a new charming world that I have never known.

It has been 6 months now since I finished reading this novel.
And yet I am still experiencing beautiful feelings every time I remember certain parts of it.

Thank you Cecelia!


Things I liked the most about this novel:

* The way it combined a variety of comic, tragic, fictional and dramatic scenes together into its pages.

* The technique of telling it using a third person and a first person point of view narrators sequentially.

* The way it ended.


I have never thought that reading a novel in English could be as enjoyable as Reading novels in Arabic.

I really enjoyed reading this pleasant piece of art.

Thanks again to Cecelia.
And lots of thanks to my lovely friend, May.

March 27, 2019
Usually I don't read romances. And if I do, the rating is always below 2 stars. This Ahern is kind of exception. Love, Rosie was excellent, so I thought I should try her other works.
I was lying ill, trying to figure out what can I do in order not to get bored, prevent myself from getting out of bed and get even worse, when this book caught my eye. I got pleasantly surprised when after half of the book I didn't have the urge to throw the book from 8th floor (well, in this case, my phone - I was listening to the audiobook version). See @Sosi, I am strengthening my immune system for romances.
This book was a light and quick read to spend the dull morning. Maybe with a hard copy I would have gotten bored, but the audiobook was really fun. I loved little Irish music thrown between the chapters.
Profile Image for Dhara.
76 reviews28 followers
December 23, 2021
3 stars

It was quite nice.

I liked the character of Elizabeth Egan. She was broken but strong and independent. She dealt with the truth very well at the end.

Ivan, he was joyful and childlike, but I found him annoying sometimes. He tended to go over the top at times.

Luke was my favorite. An understanding, friendly, cute child. Lovely!

I thought the book was very typical, a troubled woman, always wears dark colors, is grumpy all the time, and suddenly a man appears in her life, transforms her drastically...she starts dancing, humming, loving bright colors and starts living a joyful happy life. I don't like this theme very much.

The end was very satisfying. A nicely ended book. Overall, nice!!
Profile Image for Sammy.
318 reviews70 followers
December 12, 2015
This book is different than most of the books i have read , it has quite an imagination , the element of surprise , & the theme of hope ...
I would recommend this book for those who are searching for hope , for new beginning , cause it makes you see the world with a very different perspective .

The love is so pure & selfless , the innocence would feel your eyes , & the part where you know its going to be that way , you still want to believe in a miracle ,there is a very thin line between the reality & fiction ...

This book definitely lies in that distance .....
Profile Image for Kristina Dauksiene.
58 reviews4 followers
February 9, 2023
NETIKĖTA! Ai pasiimsiu lengvam skaitymui.. romantika..nesudėtinga..praversiu..

O įtraukė, įsiurbė ir nepaleido!

Apie svarbius dalykus paprastai, netikėtai ir su meile!
Apie žmones, ir pačius save, apie gyvenimą, paprastą ir komplikuotą, apie ryšį ir savęs suradimą.

Apie Elizabeth- su nuo vaikystės slegiančia atsakomybės našta, išduota artimiausių žmonių-gyvenime pasimetusios mamos, abejingo, kartėlio persmelkto, tylaus ir kieto tėvo, nukrypstančios nuo bet kokių gyvenimo normų, nesutramdomos-sesers..
Jai nuosavi namai tarsi tvirtovė, saugesnė nei jos širdis, pasikviečianti žmones be jos leidimo.
Elizabeth- savo padėties šeimininkė, griežtai besilaikanti dienotvarkės, saugumo, struktūros, aiškių gyvenimo žingsnių idealios švaros ir tvarkos puoselėtoja.Valgo tik todėl kad reikia, ją supa tyla, šneka, tik tiek, kad pasakytų.

Ir apie netikėtą Ivaną-stebuklą, nemokantį elgtis stebuklingai (pereiti sienas, pasukti rankeną). Bet šalia jo norisi šnekėti, išsipasakoti, girdėti, pykti ir džiaugtis, pajusti laisvę ir elgtis nutrūktgalviškai, nespaudžiant stabdžio.Jis buvo vaikščiojanti viltis.
Ypatingoji jo galia-draugystė, girdėti žmones, ir tai ką sako ir tai ko nepasako. Bet niekada jis nėra buvęs draugu suaugusiam.
Apie Ivaną, kuris viską sujauks..

Kąsnelis smagių nuklydimų ir didelis kąsnis tiesiog dalykų kuriuos mes žinom, tik kažkur esam giliai paslėpę savo "turiu taip padaryti, turiu taip gyventi" kloduose:

🖋..tėvas mobilius telefonus laikė futuristine ne šios žemės gyventojų technologija, kuri išrasta vien žmonių padermei klaidinti..
🖋..jos tėvas nepažintų alyvuogės, nebent ta prietų ir prisistatytų..egzotiškiausia, ką jis valgytų, būtų, na, sakykime, kokie ryžiai, bet ir tai skųstusi, kad per smulkūs..
🖋..yra tik viena arbatos rūšis.Ji vadinasi Arbata.

🖋...žmonės pamiršta, kad gali rinktis..
🖋Yra tiek daug nuostabių dalykų, kuriuos galėtum išvysti, jei žvilgsnis būtų nukreiptas tinkama linkme.Gyvenimas primena tapybą.Keistą abstraktų tapybos darbą. Gali pažvelgti į jį ir matyti tik kažkokią dėmę...Tačiau jei tikrai į jį įsižiūrėtum, jeigu tikrai jį išvystum, jei sutelktum visą savo dėmesį ir vaizduotę, pamatytum, kad gyvenimas yra kur kas daugiau..
🖋Vaikai geriausiai žini, kas vyksta pasaulyje, patikėk.Jie mato daugiau už suaugusius, jie nuoširdžiau tiki, yra sąžiningesni, visada tau pasakys kaip tave vertina.
🖋vaikai mokosi daug greičiau, kur kas greičiau nei suaugusieji..dėl to, kad jų protas yra atviras. Jie nori žinoti, nori išmokti. Suaugusieji..įsitikinę, kad viską žino. Jie užauga ir viską paprasčiausiai užmiršta, užuot atsivėrę savo sąmonę ir tobulinę protą, jie pasirenka kuo jie tikės, kuo netikės...Jie ciniškesni, praradę tikėjimą, jie teikiasi pažinti tik tuos dalykus, kurie padeda jiems stumti dieną po dienos. Tai kas nepaprasta, jų nedomina...Tačiau tai,kas nepaprasta, ir yra svarbiausia gyvenima...kaip tik tai, kas neatrodo svarbiausia, ir yra tikrasis gyvenimas...

🖋Ką dar daugiau tau gali suteikti nei gyvenimą?Ko dar daugiau gali prašyti, jei ne gyvenimo? Juk tai dovana...
🖋Žvaigždės kaip žmonės..vien dėl to, kad atrodo, jog pasipila iš to paties taško, dar nereiškia, kad taip iš tikrųjų yra.Tai perspektyvos iliuzija...Ne visos šeimos išsilaiko sykiu..Visi juda skirtingomis kryptimis.Įsitikinimas, kad visi esame iš to paties lizdo, klaidingas. Keliauti skirtingomis kryptimis yra kiekvienos gyvos būtybės, kiekvienos egzistuojančios esybės prigimtis..
🖋Kai numeti ant grindų stiklinę, ar lėkštę, pasigirsta garsus dužimo garsas..Tačiau kai sudūžta tavo širdis, nesigirdi nė menkiausio garso. Juk atrodytų, tai taip svarbu, turėtų pasigirsti už visus pasaulio garsus garsiausias garsas, o gal net turėtumėme išgirsti kokį ceremoningą garsą..
Jei ir esama tokio garso, jis viduje.Šauki, tačiau niekas tavęs negirdi.
Tavo skausmas rėkia taip garsiai, kad tau aidi ausyse, net įskausta galva. Jis talžosi krūtinėje it didžiulis baltas jūroje pagautas ryklys; riaumoja tarsi meška, iš kurios atėmė mažylį..

🖋Ko tik mes nepadarytumėme, kad galėtume grįžti atgal!
O kiek mes nepadarome, kol dar metas!
Profile Image for Elina.
480 reviews
May 12, 2018
Πολύ γλυκό παραμυθάκι!!!
Profile Image for Joy Joy.
58 reviews7 followers
June 4, 2011
I really liked it. The book welcomed me into the "agency" of imaginary friends.:P And I thought if this group really existed, I would like to have an imaginary friend as a companion-- to right my wrongs, to serve as a company when life gets too silent, to poke and tell me to enjoy life, or to let me see how constant change really is. Believe me, I could relate myself to Lizzie (in so many ways). I wondered if I ever had an imaginary friend when I was young(I'd better ask my mom about this).

Lizzie was the queen of HERMIT before she met Ivan Elbisivni (invisible--backwards). She was so constant, so prim and so proper, so organized, so bland, so contolling, so INTROVERT, so SO!!! damn!!! And, she wasn't aware of these things. She was reared this way and she was the finest photocopy of her dad's character. In extreme, her sister was her mom's copy. I couldn't blame Lizzie. Who would? (please, read the book so you won't blame her :P)

Ivan was Lizzie's instrument of CHANGE. (I believe, change is hard to welcome in ones life when you spent half of your life fearing its manifestation.) He opened her eyes to possibilities, to affection, to socialization, to gracious living, to companionship, to LOVE, and to LIFE per se. Though Ivan became drawn to Lizzie, he managed to turn her life to the sunny side and he managed to make her patch up issues within her family and neighbors and to LOVE, of course.

I adore young Luke's character. In such an 'unripe' age, he understood his free-spirited and ever absent mother (Lizzie's sister). He was able to work himself around his unaffectionate aunt. I admired this child.

As Lizzie evolved into a woman who loved life dearly, Ivan had to let go. He had done his part. I would really love Ivan and Lizzie to hook up and be happy together but I understood why Ms. Ahern didn't let it. Ivan was the catalyst of change of Lizzie's boring life. And, that was that. At all. Nothing further. He was there to open her eyes to her world which was not his. :(

I learned a lot of WISDOM from this book. I heart this book!!! :) Cheers!!!
Profile Image for Glass Fairy.
108 reviews18 followers
August 21, 2016
I'll be honest...I set out to go spoiler free but I failed, there's too much I want to mope about..sooo...***Spoilers ahead***

I loved this story, I did deduct a star because I didn't get my happy ending :( sometimes I need to read a book and have the most impossible love story work out...it gives me hope, but instead I got dashed dreams and a tear stained book..

Elizabeth Egan has a tragic story (most of us do..but hers is quite heartwrenchingly unfair) having been abandoned by her mother at age 12, left to live with her stern father, raising her few-month-old sister. Once she's grown up, Elizabeth's sister (I'm not even attempting to type the name..it's pretty but I'd spell it wrong) any way, her sister is just as awful as her mother and abandons her son Luke, leaving Elizabeth to raise him..
With no room in her life for love or comforts, she's quite awful to Luke really, sure he gets all the material things a child needs, but he's been abandoned by his mother, all that boy needs is an adult that loves him completely and as Elizabeth isn't stepping up to the job...Ivan does instead.

Ivan is an imaginary friend, that isn't imaginary at all, hes just invisible to everyone except his best friend at the time. He comes into Luke and Elizabeth's life and brings light, colour, laughter, fun and love. He was wonderful and perfect...but still imaginary..never aging and invisible, deep down I knew it wouldn't work, but I still wanted it to, I longed for Ivan and Elizabeth's happiness, but it wasn't meant to be.

The ending was sweet and beautiful, though the last paragraph made it clear Elizabeth is now dead, and Ivan is looking back on their breif and beautiful time together, it was heart breaking, I understand the message behind the story, but still... :(
Profile Image for Mary.
279 reviews16 followers
May 26, 2020
It took me a while as it was so boring and I really hated reading it.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
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