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It’s My Heaven
ISBN: 1403306184
By E. S. Pahls
Review by: Zsófia Anna Toth


I must confess E. S Pahls tricked me. When I started reading It’s My Heaven, it just seemed to be a light reading for adolescent girls, but it turned out to be a well-organized, strictly planned and powerful novel in which everything was deliberately written. I can recommend it to everyone and especially to those who are at a loss about the issue of love or about human relationships.

This novel contains almost everything that can happen in a relationship. The story begins with a scene dated the summer of 2001 where a young happy mother is taking care of her sweet little baby on a sunny morning while daddy is still sleeping. The family has just moved into a new apartment and boxes are all over the place, full of memories. While searching through the boxes, Katie (the heroine of the story) gets lost in her memories.

Not only the first scene but also the following chapters, which are dated back to 1998, are quite idyllic and delightful. We get to know Katie Parker’s family and friends: Maria, Toni and Kevin. Almost everything is perfect; there are only minor hints that maybe it is not so. Katie is an eighteen-year-old girl (in 1998) who is a first year student at a college studying a lot and enjoying life. Although it is true that she is still searching for something; she is still trying to find and define herself in the shadow of a perfect elder sister, Carrie. One day, she pops into a restaurant named Strawberry Field’s for a quick meal when she encounters the phenomenon called “love at first sight.”

Is the charming waiter alias Bryan Riede, Mr. Right? Does Katie manage to find herself and mature into womanhood as she expected? What happens to Maria and Jake? Will Toni find a decent guy? Is Carrie and her past as clean and perfect as it seems? Have Katie’s parents talked about everything they should have done? Endless sequences of similar questions could follow these. This clearly shows that even the most “simple” things of life such as love, family relations and friendships can have thousands of layers and great depths. Many people would surely say after reading these questions that this is just another uninteresting and naïve book about love…but they would be mistaken.

Several types of love can be found in this story, including love between man and woman, boy and girl, members of the same sex, love of friends, love of family members and the like. “All its forms” alludes to love tried in various situations. This story shows us how and why to love in spite of and against everything by listening to our hearts and still keeping a clear head. (337)

The story is not only a good fable about love, but its structure and the way it was written is also noteworthy. As it has been partly mentioned, this is “a framed story.” It starts in the summer of 2001 and arrives back there at the end of the novel. The story between the first and fiftieth chapter takes place in the past, but is not simply recounted; the story-telling is diversified by letters, diary entries, and the characters’ thoughts within conversations are signaled by italics.

The conversations are interesting, often witty, always telling and sometimes even funny. From time to time slang terms or everyday expressions are used. This makes the conversations even more vivid. The vividness of the story not only lies in the conversations but also in the situations which are depicted.

What is very captivating about this novel is that it was written in an arresting and fascinating manner. It is really impressive and even thrilling after a certain point. You only have to be able to reach that point because the beginning is a bit elongated. It also happens sometimes that there is a bit more time and attention dedicated to certain issues like whether “he loves me or not” or “Katie’s jealousy about a Bryan’s childhood love” and the like.

In spite of this, this novel is vivid and makes you live the story yourself. The secret of its powerful and impressive effect must be the author’s true sense of reality, slight irony and marvelous skill to visualize the events; the way the movements, the actions, the minute physical changes are depicted is really remarkable. The following sentences cited from the novel might illustrate its ideology most accurately:

everything that happens in life has a reason, though we can’t always figure out what that reason is. As soon as I was able to understand that and accept it, I found peace. And with peace in my heart, I was able to be happy again. (339)

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