Unabridged Audiobook narrated by Michael McGlone
Fiction, Published 2000 (Originally published as If Only It Were True)
Read Jan 10
Verdict: Good, but it’s off to Paperbackswap for someone else to enjoy.
From the Cover:
What do you do when you find a stranger in your closet and she can disappear and reappear at whim? What if she then tells you that her body is actually in a coma on the other side of town? What starts off as a dilemma that Arthur is faced with when he discovers Lauren in his apartment, becomes a heartwarming love story that’s impossible to forget.
I picked up this audiobook in the bargain section at bn.com, which is a wonderful and the primary source for my ever-growing book collection, after falling in love with the movie. The unabridged audio version is roughly 6 hours long, which lasted me 3 days in the car driving back and forth to work. If you have seen the movie, the book follows very closely with only a few differences, mostly to keep the movie fresh, funny, and does not get into all the family history that the book contains.
Lauren, a successful ER surgeon with little free time, finally has the weekend off and decides to take a trip down the Pacific Coast. However, on her way out of town, the steering goes out in her old car and she wrecks into a store front, crashing through the window and flipping her car over several times. The EMS that arrive on the scene do everything they can to save Lauren, but finally announce her time of death. Lauren’s body is then loaded into the ambulance and is enroute to the hospital. The doctor on the scene was very distraught with Lauren’s death, since she was so young and very beautiful. Such a waste. As the ambulance crosses an intersection, a Saab comes out of nowhere not even slowing down and crashes into the ambulance. The impact of the crash restarts Lauren’s heart and she arrives at the morgue with a pulse! Her lungs are breathing and heart is beating on it’s own, slow as it is, but no other sign of life remains. Six months with Lauren in a coma go by meanwhile her mother rents out her still furnished apartment. A young architect, who happens to drive a Saab, moves into Lauren’s old apartment. Arthur loves his new place and feels very comfortable and finally at home until one day as he’s singing in the shower, he hears something or someone singing along with him…
In the movie, “Elizabeth” is on her way to a blind date at her sister’s house and dies in a car crash while driving in the rain. Lauren is an only child in the book. Her date, David, which is much better and more current name than Arthur, sees her right away. He rents out her apartment and Elizabeth does not know why he’s there. She doesn’t know she’s in a coma and David starts to think they have both been conned in a renter’s scam. When he finally comes to terms that she is in fact a ghost, he has the Ghost Busters come to cleanse her out of the apartment.
Arthur soon finds himself helping Lauren, spending every second he has with her. He even tries to prevent her mother from ending her life, trying to convince those around her seemingly lifeless body in the hospital that it’s not too late, that Lauren is still alive and wants to live. Arthur gives up everything to save her and his best friend thinks he has completely lost it to fall in love with a ghost.
Reese Witherspoon always makes a movie good, but the true story was just as entertaining. The chase to keep Lauren alive and learning the Arthur’s back-story really made the book enjoyable. Perfect story for the upcoming “Spring Fever” season.
Marc Levy is a french novelist and this is the only one of his books that has been translated into English. Apparently there’s a sequel but is only available in French, which I find very disappointing.
“What I have to tell you is not easy to understand, impossible to accept. But if you will listen to my story – if you are willing to trust me — then maybe in the end you’ll believe me. And it’s very important that you, in particular, should believe me. For, without knowing it, you are the only person in the world I can share my secret with.”