One Hundred Names
Kitty is (finally) visiting her friend and mentor, Constance, who is dying. She is ashamed that it has taken her this long to work up the courage to visit. On the other hand, Shame seems to be Kitty's middle name these days. Although she's on the staff of Constance's magazine, Etcetera, she had been spending most of her energy in her new position on the TV news show "Thirty Minutes."
However, Kitty, along with the producers of "Thirty Minutes," are being sued by a man named Colin Maguire after Kitty ran a story accusing Maguire of sexually abusing two students and fathering an illegitimate child. Kitty's sources had lied to her; Maguire is innocent of any wrongdoing, but now his life is in a shambles. Possibly to distract Kitty from her horrible disaster of a career, Constance plants a notion, saying she has been thinking of an idea for a story and would like Kitty to follow up on it. The file, she says, is at home in her office. Constance promises to fill her in when she brings the file to the hospital.
"...a delightfully warm and whimsical meditation on the theme of second chances and connections, wrapped in an irresistible just-one-more-chapter-before-I-stop page-turner."
Meanwhile, Kitty returns to her apartment where she finds Steve, her good friend since college, as well as a spray-painted message across her door: "Journo Scumbag Bitch." Steve helps her scrub the door and offers support for the trial, beginning the next day, but when Kitty seems to be sorrier for herself than for the man whose life she's ruined, Steve gives her a tongue lashing. To add insult to injury, when she enters her apartment, she discovers her boyfriend has moved out on her.
Kitty's life continues to spiral downward. Her parents tell her she has humiliated them. The producers of "Thirty Minutes" inform her she's finished with them after Maguire's victory in court. When she shows up at Etcetera, she finds she is on thin ice. Advertisers are pulling their ads because of Kitty's association with the magazine. No one wants anything to do with her. In Constance's home office, Kitty finally locates the intriguing file, but before Constance can explain her idea, she declines and dies.
The Etcetera staff members are planning a tribute to Constance. Kitty persuades Pete, the acting editor, to let her work on the story Constance mentioned to her, but when she opens the file, she finds a seemingly random list of 100 names. There is absolutely nothing in the file to explain who the people are or what Constance's article idea had been. Pete informs Kitty that she has two weeks to put Constance's story idea together, but she has no idea how to go about finding and linking the people on the list. When she finally plunges in, something magical begins to happen.
Cecilia Ahern's many fans know to expect the unexpected from this gifted writer, who manages to surprise us yet again. ONE HUNDRED NAMES does not disappoint. It is a delightfully warm and whimsical meditation on the theme of second chances and connections, wrapped in an irresistible just-one-more-chapter-before-I-stop page-turner.
Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on May 9, 2014