Book Review: One Hundred Names by Cecilia Ahern

Title: One Hundred Names

Author: Cecilia Ahern

Summary:

Scandal has derailed journalist Kitty Logan’s career, a setback that is soon compounded by an even more devastating loss. Constance, the woman who taught Kitty everything she knew, is dying. At her mentor’s bedside, Kitty asks her, “What is the one story you always wanted to write?”

The answer lies in a single sheet of paper buried in Constance’s office—a list of one hundred names—with no notes or explanation. But before Kitty can ask her friend, it is too late.

Determined to unlock the mystery and rebuild her own shaky confidence, Kitty throws herself into the investigation, tracking down each of the names on the list and uncovering their connection. Meeting these ordinary people and learning their stories, Kitty begins to piece together an unexpected portrait of Constance’s life… and starts to understand her own.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

This book makes one wonder. It has been more than ten days since I finished this one and still I find myself thinking about it at random moments. ‘Has our mindset changed the world that we seek sensational stories instead of real ones?’ Well, through the amazing character of Constance, Cecilia Ahern answers this affirmatively.

Before I begin properly, I would like to say that the character of Constance is one of the best characters I have ever read. Even though she passes away quite early in the book, she is still lingering over the characters (and sometimes I felt that perhaps she was lingering over me as well, enjoying how much I loved a heartfelt story instead of just a sensational one.) The journey of Kitty to understand her mentor’s motivation makes us try to think as her as well and I honestly didn’t see the connection between them coming, even though it was very obvious. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love it. Constance was an amazing character, one I would have loved to know in person.

And now, the actual review. The story is, primarily, of Kitty Logan and how she is dealing with the aftershocks of making a huge accusation towards a respectable person from half-researched facts for the sake of climbing the corporate ladder. Slowly and steadily, the book reveals how terribly her professional life is falling apart. And at the same time is her own personal tragedy approaching: the death of her mentor. Kitty is ashamed of her failure and her mentor’s disappointment but Constance is able to soothe her, even though the situation deserves to be in reverse. And so, Kitty ends up with the mission to write a story Constance never could. But the fallout of her professional life stop her from focusing and by the time she gets the letter containing the story idea, it is too late. Now Kitty has to deal with the loss of her mentor and also risk her entire professional career on this one story she can’t figure out because all she has is a list of 100 names. The deadline is of two weeks for her to present the entire story.

The story often leads the characters to a dead-end and it seems that no progress is possible. But thankfully, life is as merciful as it is cruel and often helps her move on in her journey. And though she doesn’t meet all the hundred names, she does meet six of them. And the six teach her what her mentor wanted her to always remember: what is the responsibility of a true journalist.

All the characters are fleshed out perfectly and you can almost imagine passing them by on the street without recognizing them. They are no one special but they aren’t nobodies either. They are just like us. You will smile with them, feel down as disappointments strike and feel every other emotion strike you deep as you share their journeys to the end. And you would never want it to end, though it has to. The end has to be one of the best endings there could be and I am so glad to have read this one.

A mention must also be made of the romantic sub-plot. At point, Kitty has four(!) potential suitors. And honestly, she doesn’t need any. In fact, even if there was no romance for her, the story would still be brilliant. (Though if there was a perfect romantic sub-plot, I would have to give the book eight stars out of five.)

From me, to every single reader of this review, this book is 100% recommended.

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