“Roses like you and I, have their issues. Roses planted in soil that has grown roses for a number of years are prone to a disease known as rose sickness. If you plant new roses in this situation you must take out as much of the old soil as possible and replace it with fresh soil from another part of the garden which hasn’t grown roses before. It makes me think of anyone who is trying to grow where something, even a part of themselves, has died. We all experience that sickness. It is better to move, uproot ourselves and start afresh; then we will flourish.”
The Year I met you is a book by Irish writer Cecilia Ahern, bestselling author and the mind behind the bestsellers, P.S. I Love You and Where Rainbows End.
Jasmine is a modern day career woman, focused on her work which is helping business start-ups and then reselling them for a higher price. One day though, her plan doesn’t seem to go the way she wanted and she finds herself fired and forced to take a year-long break from work, also known as gardening leave. During this year Jasmine starts to work on her garden, which she realizes has been left unkept and abandoned because of her busy schedule and she gets to know her neighbours and in particular Matt, a radio personality who’s drunk most of the time. He gets sent on a gardening leave as well and that’s when the two start to know each other, help each other and grow together.
A simple book about the struggles we face everyday in our lives, how to cope with them and how we grow and rise to become better people. It’s a book about normal people trying to become the best versions of themselves and in the process discover a new friendship and new and old lovers.
Ahern wanted to break up the book in four parts and tell Jasmine’s story through the seasons. “We meet her in Winter when she’s at the darkest time of her life; Spring she moves out of that darkness and start to feel hope; during Summer she flourishes and develops as she discovers more about herself; and in Autumn she has truly matured.”
I bought this book at the airport in Rome in August, I never thought it would be so inspiring and eye-opening. When I got to the end of it I felt this lump in my throat and a sense of emptiness that usually comes whenever I finish a book that I’ve become accustomed to. These characters, Jasmine, Matt, Doctor J., Heather, represent those normal, everyday people who are trying to figure out what their next step in life should be and how to cooperate with one another. Our lives revolve around a community, a neighbourhood of people who at first we might dislike because of prejudices or misunderstandings, but when we find ourselves in the same room with them and we begin to understand that they are struggling the same way as we are to find a place in this world, only then we can join forces and try to help each other. This book teaches us that we need and sometimes subconsciously seek help we don’t feel we should ask for because it might make us look weak.
But come to think about it, how did the Egyptians build their outstanding pyramids? How did the Romans build their Empire? Simply they joined together to create something they believed in.