In One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern we meet Kitty Logan a Journalist whose recently had what she thought would be her big break into TV journalism. But it went horribly wrong when Kitty wrongly accused Colin McGuire, a PE Teacher of having inappropriate relationships with students.
After this disaster and with its on going ramifications Kitty tries to reconnect with her Journalistic roots. She seeks advice from Constance her mentor, editor and friend who has terminal cancer. As they talk in the hospital room; Kitty is struck by an idea to ask Constance:
But before Kitty has chance to bring Constance the file she passes away. Kitty is left with a list of one hundred names – nothing else about what the story is about or how these names are connected and two weeks to write Constance’s story.
Kitty soon meets six of the hundred names starting with Birdie. Birdie is an eighty-four year old who lives in a home and has her eighty-fifth birthday coming up. Her eighty-fifth birthday will be an extra special and she won’t be spending it with her family, instead she’s opting to go on a trip. Kitty finds out why this birthday is extra special by listening to Birdie tell her life story.
Next Kitty meets Eva Wu who is Personal Shopper with a difference. Eva Wu specialises in gift giving; she spends time with her clients and the intended recipients before choosing the right gift. Eva chooses gifts that emotionally touch the recipients: repairing relationships, bringing closure and reuniting people with long forgotten parts of their lives . Yet she is very closed about herself and where these precious skills come from.
Jedrek is the next name on the list that Kitty meets. Jedrek along with his friend Archar want to break the World Record for how fast two people can peddle a distance on a peddle boat – and in practices they’ve beat the record! But they need an official adductor to come to Ireland from London, which both being unemployed they cant afford to pay for. Why have Jedrek and Archar put so much time, effort and energy into this record attempt?
Kitty meets Mary-Rose a young woman who looks after her disabled mother and spends time doing the hair and make-up of patients at the Hospital. Kitty meets Mary-Rose and Sam one of her friends in a restaurant. Sam proposes to Mary-Rose and Kitty sees a glimmer of sadness in Mary-Rose’s eyes. Kitty learns that he proposes all the time to raise the atmosphere and to get a few free drinks.
Kitty struggles to interview Ambrose an eccentric, shy and elusive owner of a Butterfly Sanctuary. A woman with a large discoloured mark on her face initially talks to Kitty through her hair; having not been seen in public for a number of years. Instead she trusts Eugene a butterfly enthusiast and loyal friend as her voice in the world outside of her home.
Kitty constantly chases Archie, but he is more elusive of Ambrose. He’s had bad experiences with the press following a tragedy and is now convinced that he can hear people’s prayers.
Can Kitty discover the link between these six seemingly diverse people that Constance had? With the help of Steve, her friend since college she sets out to do just that.
Ahern brings all of the characters to life with her unique writing style; but although the storyline was well paced, it left a lot to be desired. Despite logically knowing that it would be impossible for Kitty to meet all of the one hundred people listed in two weeks, I felt misled by the title.
In comparison to Ahern’s previous novels One Hundred Names lacked the hint of magic that The Gift, The Book of Tomorrow, If You Could See Me Now and The Time of My Life all shared. It was similar to PS, I Love You in the sense that it close to reality. However PS, I Love You was an extraordinary read filled with emotional depth; whereas One Hundred Names felt mundane read with no emotional depth.
Overall One Hundred Names by Cecelia Ahern was a reasonable concept but was poorly executed.