If You Could See Me Now

If You Could See Me Now

If You Could See Me Now is a book by Cecelia Ahern published in 2005. The protagonist, Elizabeth, is a rigid and initially unlikable character, due to her mother leaving her and her sister, Saoirse, with their father when they were small children. As such, she spent much of her childhood mothering her sister, who got more and more like their mother everyday. Saoirse takes advantage of Elizabeth's maturity and upon giving birth to her son, Luke, leaves him with her to be raised. Enter Ivan, who Elizabeth first believes to be Luke imaginary friend, but shortly begin to see him herself. As the story develops, Elizabeth and Ivan grow ever closer causing a great problem for them both.

The narrative initially focuses on Elizabeth and how her damaged relationship with her parents has led her to become as rigid, strict and controlling as she is. Despite her harsh nature, her softer side is apparent on her adoption of Luke, and the fact that she offers him a stable upbringing that she and her sister never had. It is this softer side that is brought out by Ivan. He first believes that the reason he has been brought to the house is to help Luke, who is struggling with his mothers wild ways and his aunts strict calmness, but this soon becomes questioned.

Elizabeth soon is able to see Ivan, not realising that he is Luke's invisible friend, and befriends him. They begin to spend a lot of time together and Ivan's focus shifts from Luke to Elizabeth as he believes she is the one he is here to help. Romantic feelings begin to develop between them, which both Ivan and Elizabeth want to pursue but unbeknown to them it is not possible.

As their relationship begins to blossom, the reader is introduced to Ivan's 'office', where he and all the other invisible friends meet to discuss their companions. This world is something to behold, and offers a magical world of escapism from the norm. Ivan expresses his feelings about Elizabeth to his boss, Opal, who tells him it cannot be so and that his job is to help his 'friend' through a difficult time in their lives. Ivan is naturally upset by this but Opal insists it cannot be done as he will not age, unlike Elizabeth and eventually she will stop seeing him, in a literal sense.

As with many of Cecelia's books, if the reader is able to get their head around the complexity of the world she has created, be that the imaginary friends in If You Could See Me Now, or 'Here' in A Place Called Here, or the scientific inequalities of Thanks for the Memories, then they will easily enjoy her books. If You Could See Me Now has an innocence that many adults will have forgotten, enlightening them to how simple things can make such a difference all the whiles offering a great world to escape to, which is the tell of any good novel.

By Sophie Atherton @SophAthers

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