If You Could See Me Now

By Cecelia Ahern

39,108 ratings - 3.86* vote

From the bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern, comes an enchanting novel that leads you to wonder if Not Seeing is believing!Readers and critics alike adore Cecelia Ahern for her lighthearted yet insightful stories about modern women and their often unusual situations. In If You Could See Me Now, she takes that theme a step further, offering From the bestselling author of P.S. I Love You and Love, Rosie, Cecelia Ahern, comes an enchanting novel that leads you

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Book details

Paperback, 306 pages
January 9th 2007 by Hachette Books

(first published November 21st 2005)

Original Title
If You Could See Me Now
140130866X (ISBN13: 9781401308667)
Edition Language

Community Reviews


What did I think? WHAT DID I THINK?! Well, if I told you that I sat on the bed and cried exactly like this for about five to ten minutes after I'd closed the book, does that put it in perspective for you?

Front Cover.
I really, really liked the front cover for 'If You Could See Me Now', it was simple, natural, and actually depicts a huge part in the book. When I first saw it I thought it was lovely anyway because I love the thought of making a wish with dandelions and then blowing them to watch your wish float away on the breeze, but you don't truly understand the power of the front cover until you have read the book. What I love about Ahern's cover is that she hasn't gone over the top with it. With so many ideas and themes floating around in the book, she could have gone absolutely mental! But she didn't, thank god! And I think she achieved the desired effect, without a doubt!

The book's about...
So, the book is set in a small town in Ireland and is about a woman, named Elizabeth. Elizabeth grew up with a dysfunctional family. Her mother wanted to be a free spirit, she couldn't cope with staying in one place for too long. She wanted to go on her own little adventures, to explore and not be rooted to the same place forever. Elizabeth's father never questioned this, he only wanted his wife to be happy, even if it meant he was left on his own to look after Elizabeth for days on end. Elizabeth was not an only child though. Oh no. Her mother also gave birth to another little girl, named Saoirse, which, after looking into it, means freedom in Irish Gaelic. And true to the name, that is what she is. As their mother disappears once again, their father is left to care for both of them, cradling and nursing Saorise to hush her crying. When it all gets too much, their father hands Saoirse over to Elizabeth, and she brings her baby sister up herself.

Now, Elizabeth is the foster parent of Saoirse's six year old son Luke. Elizabeth ended up growing up into a stern young woman. With her mother constantly absent and only dropping in and out when she felt like returning to the nest, Elizabeth missed out on what it's like to be truly loved by a mother. Now, with little experience of love and affection, Elizabeth tries her damned hardest to bring Luke up in the best way she knows. With her constant cleaning, coffee rituals and lack of humour, Elizabeth is beginning to wonder where she goes from here. Her sister Saoire never did grow out flying, just like their mother. She uses Elizabeth's car whenever she feels like it, drinks until the sun comes up and is happy to leave her little boy in the care of her sister, rather than taking on the responsibility herself.

One day, after Elizabeth has just seen Saoirse, once again, get into her car and drive off, she slumps down at the kitchen table and sips her coffee. Suddenly, she hears the sound of Luke mumbling to himself in his toy room. It turns out that Luke has created his own imaginary friend, known as Ivan. In fact, Luke didn't create Ivan, Ivan found Luke.

Little does Ivan know, his world is about to turn upside down, and not because of Luke. As Ivan begins to become more and more enthralled by Elizabeth, they are sent on a journey together that will change both of their lives. Forever.

The Characters Were...
The characters were fantastic! Elizabeth is the perfect face of a headmistress. She's so stern, never laughs, always wears dull colours, has her hair tightly pulled back, and thinks life, for her, is going nowhere. As a struggling interior designer, she's finding it hard to find any inspiration, and work for that matter. Until, a hotel is being built in the area and she decides to apply for the position. What I didn't like about Elizabeth was the fact that she let so many opportunities go because Saoirse was in some sort of trouble. But I guess that's family for you. You learn that she would break her back just to help her sister or her father. She really needs some fun in her life, some laughter, some excitement, something magical...

Saoirse annoyed the hell out of me! Gr! As much as I understand the need for people to get away from their worries and problems sometimes, this woman just took it too far! Yes. She's probably learned from the best (her mother mainly) that it's okay to ditch all of her responsibility and just fly away to wherever you want and be free as a bird. But, really? Are you going to leave your son under your sister's supervision because you can't be bothered, and you're too busy running around all over the place and acting like an immature teenager! I mean, honestly! She's lying on the hills in the small village, drinking underneath the sky and running away with groups of hippies, while her sister is struggling to bring up her son in a life that's not sure what it wants to do with her! GOD DAMN IT SAOIRSE! What is wrong with you!?! And the way she speaks to Elizabeth? I felt so sorry for that poor woman, she's got a whole load of stuff weighing down on her shoulders, and Saoirse just keeps swanning in and out like a f*cking fairy! Urgh. I don't like her.. Sit down Saoirse, just sit the f*ck down and shut up.

Luke was an awesome six year old boy, just plodding along, regardless of the mess that his mother has made. He's just a normal six year old I think, playing with his toys, laughing at silly jokes and, I think, just wanting to be cuddled and told "I love you". He is the one who Ivan links on to, and who helps Elizabeth realise that she can love, she doesn't realise that she has it in her.

Now, out of all of the characters in this book, this guy has to be my ultimate favourite! Ivan is the imaginary friend, although I have to add, it really annoys him when people refer to him as imaginary or invisible. Damn, he hates that! Ivan is an awesome guy. He comes into Luke's and Elizabeth's life just when they need a little bit of colour brought into their dull, grey world. He's a converse wearing, friendly and lovable guy, who really knows how to cheer people up, even when they don't want to smile.

Did The Author Pull It Off?
I think Cecelia Ahern pulled it off extremely well! There's so much magic and creativity hidden inside this book, it really makes you smile! :)

Surely There Must Have Been One Bad Point?
The only bad point was that stupid b*tch Saoirse. Gr.

Final Thoughts.
I was crying. I was laughing. I was crying some more.
And then I heard myself saying, "I believe..." ;)


I thought I'd make it simple and just list a few facts about If You Could See Me Now:

1. It is not a typical romance novel.
2. It is not to everyone's taste.
3. It's written for people with imagination.
4. It has made me laugh and cry in the most unexpected way.
5. It's 'sprinkled with magic'.
6. It taught me that sometimes you just need to let go and simply enjoy.
7. It is an indescribably touching story.
8. It made me want to have Ivan as best friend, if only for few days.


I read Ahern's first book, P.S. I Love You, and despite the only reason she probably got it published is because she's the Irish PM's daughter, it was a cute book with a sweet premise. I didn't like this book as much. Now I have no problem with stretching my imagination, but at least the reasons for what's happening is usually explained. I'm probably going to spoil this book, but I'm not going to bother with spoiler tags because the book isn't even worth reading anyway! However, if you do want to read it, I'd advise not to read anymore of this review! You've been warned! Okay, so we're introduced to 34 year old Elizabeth who is a perfectionist with a Type A personality. Her mom left the family when she was little and she has a younger sister who's a binge drinker, so she's adopted her six year old nephew. And one day Ivan comes into her life. Now here's the kicker: Ivan is an imaginary friend! At first only her nephew can see him (and btw, I thought it was a bit creepy that a man who looked to be in his 30s wanted to play with a little boy, even though he wasn't any age, but still...ewww). Then Elizabeth starts to see him, (she thinks he's the father of her nephew's friend) only she doesn't know he's invisible, and of course nobody else can see him, so they all think she's crazy, but she doesn't even suspect anything which is clue #1 of how stupid she is. Now at first, I thought Ivan wasn't real, that was all in her mind, kind of like in Fight Club, but I'd be giving Ahern too much credit...but nope...he was actually an invisible person who worked with these other imagainary friends. It was so stupid, it's not explained why or how. Plus Ivan is the most annoying person - he throws paint on Elizabeth, he wakes her up at 6 am (ugh) with an annoying rooster call, and he speaks backwards. He acts like a child, pretty much. So why she falls in love with him, I don't know. (She must have looked pretty stupid when everybody saw her kiss an invisible man). So yes, I thought the book was really stupid with irritating characters. Ahern also learns not to use the same phrases over and over. She used "they said the word like a disease" THREE times. She also did that in P.S. I Love You where everyone "rolled their eyes to the heavens." But I would recommend that book to this one.


This was my first Cecelia Ahern read and I sincerely hope it won't be my last because it was just so amazing. The concept of the novel was so beautiful and innocent.

When I read the blurb, I had no idea there was a sense of magic about it. I just thought it was a normal chic-lit book that intrigued me, yet again. Oh, how wrong I was.

Ahern took me on a journey whereby I witnessed things I hadn't thought about since childhood. I was thrilled by the happiness, sucking me in wholeheartedly but I was also saddened by all the sucky-ness of life.

However, more than anything it was about growing up. Even if you're in your thirties, having to sit in your office facing the blank wall ahead, at least sit there and use your imagination! Ivan promises you'll use your imagination boundlessly, and Ivan always tells the truth. It's his favourite by far.

Recommended for everyone lacking a little magic in their everyday life!


This book needs to be read with no inhibitions. It was a great fantasy read for this time of year. The audio was well done with great melodic music, Irish accents, etc. At first I didn't care much for this book ..... *mild spoiler*..... no book with an imaginary friend can beat Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend, no book. LOL! Then this book took a whole different twist on love, letting go, and finding happiness. Wish it ended differently but it made sense.


This is a very hard book to review because whilst I did have some misgivings about parts of it, on the whole I really enjoyed reading this magical fairy tale of a story. It is the story of Elizabeth and her imaginary friend Ivan, whose relationship develops over the course of the book to a point where someone has to say “stop, this will not work”. The story itself is really lovely although there were times I wanted to shake Elizabeth. It was as if she could not see what was, or was not staring her in the face a lot of the time, very slow on the uptake although, having said that, the reader does know things that she doesn’t. It is a bit like watching The Sixth Sense the second time around. You start to wonder when the penny is going to drop with her – when will she realise that nobody ever speaks to Ivan and that he never speaks to them.

It is probably fair to say that she is not the easiest person to like at the start of the read. She is very cold and has built up walls around herself, not allowing herself to love and dissuading others from getting too close, and that includes little Luke, her young nephew who she has adopted. How my heart went out to that little mite, who really only wanted her to show some affection and have some fun.

I just loved the idea of Ivan and his fellow imaginary friends in some sort of countrywide network, going from lonely person to lonely person offering invisible friendship, but I would have liked to delve into his world deeper. Where was their office, in our world or on a separate realm? If it was in a separate realm, how did they get there? Where and how did they live in their off time? They couldn’t get through a closed door, but at times they seemed to pop up all over the place – how did they get into these buildings and if their office was in our world – how did they get through the door? It was just those niggly little details that got me wondering about the logistics of it all.

Finally, at one point, I thought we were going to see a lot more of Elizabeth’s wayward sister Saoirse, especially after “that” scene in Elizabeth’s office, which would have added a whole different dimension to the read, but nothing ever really came of that, which was a real pity.

Having said all that, It was a really entertaining, fun read that grabbed my attention and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I hope I don’t sound as if I didn’t like it, because I did – a lot!


Ugh. I really struggled with reading this book. It took me so much longer than it should have just because I could not get into it! I guess I am just too practical to enjoy this one. :) I have no problem with a book being a little unrealistic, for the sake of a good love story. :) But in this case, I had a problem with a woman falling in love with an "imaginary friend" who is in fact real, but not really. Arrgg. I could not take it. I could not get into it. I felt like I was reading a childrens book. I love Cecelia Ahern's first 2 books though, so I plan on reading her other books as well. Just wasn't a fan of this one. Sorry! :(


Ah, kindness. It's the thing we crave the most, and all too often it doesn't show up. This lovely book blazes with it. This is a breezy romantic comedy/fantasy, but what you might not expect is the emotional punch. It will floor you.
Elizabeth Egan lives in a small Irish town and takes care of her nephew Luke. She's an interior designer and her life seems perfectly organized, but hectic. Into their lives comes Ivan, a sort of "professional imaginary best friend". They usually show up to help kids, but it's Elizabeth, who seems to have forgotten what it's like to imagine and dream, who needs him. What follows is a series of hilarious scenes of misunderstanding fueled by Elizabeth's "sleepwalking" through her life. Interspersed with these are episodes of breathtaking emotion. Cecelia Ahern's writing is very good, but in these scenes it is simply brilliant. This is the kind of story you totally disappear in. It's about letting go and finding your imagination, but then you stop and think that it is the imagination of one person - the writer - who has created this wonderful story. Ahern is the kindest of writers. She even makes sure we can say the lovely Irish name "Saoirse", Elizabeth's troubled younger sister.
Maybe a story like this HAS to take place in Ireland, where the fantasy element feels so natural you simply go with the flow. Somehow I think if this took place in America there would be shrinks, pills, and darkness. Even as Elizabeth comes to grips with the sadness in her past, it feels liberating. You will cry your eyes out, but you will feel good. I did not see the "twist" coming in the middle of the story. You ladies will probably see it a mile away. What is especially good about this story is that it can be enjoyed by people from ages 10 to 90. It will grab you and linger.
The online gossip is that there is a movie in the works, and Hugh (He acts! He sings! He dances!) Jackman will play, I assume, Ivan. I can't wait.

Gatlianne Gatlianne

This book sat on my bookshelf for quite a while...waiting for me to be ready to read it. And when it was time...it was time. I flew through the book unable to sit it aside. The story is so sweetly touching. It's playful and lighthearted yet full of deep emotion and caring. I couldn't wait to finish the book to pass it along to a friend. This is a story about coming into your own and letting go of the deep seeded beliefs and fears that get in your way. You finish it and it's like you're sitting inside a cloud of fairy dust...soft and sparkling and full of awe. And you realize so much the little ways you have or haven't been truly living, or the ways your fears have held you back and suddenly you can see no other way to live other than laughing in a field making wishes. Ahern has done well.