Review

There's No Place Like Here

by Cecelia Ahern

The
ironically named Sandy Shortt, a very tall female with black hair,
has devoted her life to finding the missing things and people of
Ireland. As a child, she worried her parents with her obsessive
searching for lost objects to the point that they took her to
psychiatrist Gregory Burton. At Burton's, 14-year-old Sandy
promptly loses one more thing --- her heart. Despite her love for
Burton, he cannot solve her puzzling obsession with missing objects
and people. Yet they form a close friendship that sustains her as
she makes her way through life, joining the Irish police force when
she graduates and then forming her own detective agency to search
for missing persons.

Sandy’s most recent case brings her into telephone contact
with Jack Ruttle, who calls hoping that she will search for his
missing brother Donal. They agree to meet; both feel a special and
unusual connection to the other over the phone, although the
purpose of the meeting is to discuss finding Donal. Jack is shocked
when Sandy doesn't show up; he is convinced that something is
terribly wrong when she doesn't answer her phone, and so he decides
to search for her.

Meanwhile, something extraordinary has happened to Sandy, who had
stopped to jog along a canal. She becomes lost and can’t find
her way back to her car. In fact, she is in a forest so unlike any
place in Ireland that she knows without a doubt that she is no
longer in her country. But how can that be?

Sandy wanders for two days in the odd land, wondering if she is
dreaming, dead, or in a coma. Finally, she heads deeper into the
woods, where she encounters a small group of welcoming people
sitting around a campfire. But when she asks where they are, she is
met with shocked silence, followed by bizarre answers: "We're
dead," volunteers one of the campers, at least partly in
jest.

Almost immediately, Sandy knows who these people are. She had read
about them long ago and become fascinated with their story. Five
students from a boarding school had gone missing on a camping trip
in the ’60s. And now Sandy is sitting around a campfire with
these individuals, lost before she was even born. Before Sandy can
reconcile herself to this bewildering development, she is
overwhelmed by one huge mystery after another as the group leads
her to a village full of lost people, surrounded by missing
objects. Less substantial lost things waft over them, such as the
lost memory of a laugh or the forgotten scent of a baby's skin. As
Sandy encounters some of the missing people she has searched for,
she wonders why she is here. And, although she is told that no one
can leave, she yearns for home.

THERE'S NO PLACE LIKE HERE is unlike any book I have ever read, and
it will haunt me for a very long time. Author Cecelia Ahern is a
master storyteller, pulling readers in and not letting them go
until they reach the conclusion of this amazing tale of yearning,
loss and hope.

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon (terryms2001@yahoo.com) on January 23, 2011

There's No Place Like Here
by Cecelia Ahern

  • Publication Date: January 1, 2008
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Hyperion
  • ISBN-10: 1401301886
  • ISBN-13: 9781401301880