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November 29, 2009 / Avarielle

‘Meet Me on the QE2’ by Catherine Lim – thoughts on the book

Recently – or not that recently, actually – someone at TheQE2Story.com forums mentioned the book Meet Me on the QE2. And asked me if I had heard of it. I responded that I actually own a copy of the book – and ended up having to help someone acquire said book.

I googled the book recently and didn’t see any real reviews of the book online – so decided to write my own. Which may or may not be slightly biased – seeing as I am obsessed with the QE2.

**

Meet Me on the QE2 – by Catherine Lim – is a first person perspective of a world cruise segment on the QE2 – sailing from Singapore to Southampton. The main character is a middle-aged lady, divorced, and is a writer with a rather witty imagination. She goes on the QE2 with the intention of enjoying herself – but she is also on the look out for a potential partner.

To ensure a partner, she uses an “arsenal” consisting of cheongsams, chinese ghost stories and her witty imagination. She secures for herself, a number of opportunities to give talks to fellow passengers on a topic of her choice – being chinese ghost stories. opportunities she hopes will enable her to meet a partner of her choice.

However, with all her preparation, she brings with her some resistance – in the form of the traditional chinese upbringing. Throughout the story, her chinese upbringing and values – manifested in the form of Confucius, and her want of enjoyment, in the form of Pan, the Greek deity, conflict with one another. She “hears” Confucius telling her to remember her upbringing and chinese values while Pan encourages her to throw away her inhibitions and have fun. This conflict of values continues throughout the story – with Pan apparently winning as the story progresses.

She also describes her fellow passengers – some in passing and some in greater detail. Those passengers that fascinate her end up being the subject of a wild story or two – maybe not written down but at least describes in great detail.

She also touches on the ship and the effect the ship has on her. Some of the things she describes include simple things like lazing in her cabin on a sea day to the various port stops to the food and activities on board.

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The book is an easy and light read – nothing too serious that needed too much of my attention. I managed to finish it in a few hours. Though I did go back to reread it a second time. Though there are some minute mentions of tragedy, this book is more on the humourous side. I found myself laughing at the main character and her attempts at getting a man to notice her.

QE2 fans will probably agree with the author when she describes the QE2’s charms. The line “Well, meet me on the Queen Elizabeth 2 next year then! Goodbye!” ends the book. This line echoes the sentiments many of QE2’s passengers feel about the ship – many of them returning time and again to sail on the ship.

Like the author, I am Singaporean Chinese and thus appreciate some of the references made in the book. Perhaps someone of a different background might find it slightly harder to understand the references and thus that might lessen their enjoyment of the book.

In conclusion, Meet Me on the QE2 is a good book if you’re looking for an easy and quick read. And for QE2 fans, it’s another book written from a slightly different perspective about their favourite ship.

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