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It pains me to say it, but I have a lot of beefs with this book. These are the top three: She just didn't make sense to me. She gets bullied by her kids, her husband, her sister I thought she might grow some back bone after she was sick, but no. The other characters a I normally don't review books, but as a long time Keyes fan, I feel compelled to. The other characters and Stella herself say she is prideful, but the only character she shows her "prideful" side to is the love interest who was only ever nice to her, so it came out seeming like the author was just trying to create conflict for the sake of it.
They do also address that she's insecure, but it's just not enough to make me download it. In short, they were just too ridiculous to be real. To be honest, I can narrow my problem down to just her son and ex-husband because the rest aren't super awful, just not as good as I know the author is capable of writing.
But Jesus, those two. After awhile, they seem like sociopaths.
And I get that the son was prolly meant to be taken as funny, but he wasn't. In fact, there are a lot of beats in this book that are meant to go over the top and be funny, but came off as too much and took me out of the story.
It's like Keyes doesn't know when to pull back anymore. The hospital was easily the best part of the book. Flashing between that and the "present", well It's not fun to go from the strongest to the weakest part of the narrative. I felt annoyed every time the good bits were interrupted. Overall, it just seemed shallow.
It actually hurts me to say bad things about Marian Keyes. I mean, I had to go way out of the way to even find this book since it won't be released in the USA for awhile still. I love her and think she's very funny and very talented and I wish her nothing but the best and I actually hope this book does well see how much I care?
Keyes doesn't always deliver and I know a lot of her long-time fans have been disappointed lately and I have to agree with them.
And there's one or two of her older books that I don't love either, but! I do want to say that when she DOES come through she's completely amazing. She's on a whole 'nother level than the other writers in her genre. So I'm going to shake it off and wait for the next one. View all 38 comments. Aug 04, Margaret Madden rated it it was ok Recommends it for: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. Her daughter has a boyfriend now and thinks she's in love, while her son is more interested in yoga and cooking than being a regular teenage boy.
Then an unexpected illness means Stella's life is about to change, in more ways than one. The story zigzags through different stages of a two year I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley.
The story zigzags through different stages of a two year period in Stella's life. From hospital in Dublin to hotels around The United States, working in a beauty salon alongside her sister, to having her own self-help book tour. Stella is re-discovering herself but there is someone watching who wants her new life, and will stop at nothing to have it.
I have been a huge fan of Marian Keyes since her first novel Watermelon and have read everything she has written since. From the Walsh Family sagas to her under the duvet stories. Marion has a knack of bringing a sense of Irish comedy into all her books without them seeming contrived. This book had me giggling away from page one with the views on Karma, a Bitter Women's Bookclub and an ex-husband who is clearly going off the rails.
Her father was what got me laughing the most. The vision of him reading to Stella aloud when she is in hospital, and his reaction to some of the books, was just hilarious. Unfortunately, things slid downhill from here. The narrative is weak and the chopping and changing time frames were confusing and eventually became irritating. While some sections were sub-headed with HIM, HER, this confused me more as other sections had no such headings and didn't even seem to gel together in any particular order or relevance.
Stella's son Jeffrey seemed to have potential at the start of the book but became a cliche once his parents separated. Moody is one thing, rude and obnoxious are another. Demanding diva like behaviour brought his character to a whole other level, and it was not a good one.
Her daughter, Betsy was given a rare appearance and had no substance. Ryan, the husband, had some bite in him at the beginning, but like his son, became so annoying a character that had he been real, I would have left the country to avoid for ever, bringing my children with me under false travel documents so he could never contact us again.
A smarmy, selfish idiot who any sane woman would avoid at all costs! This bring me to Mannix. The new man who starts off as a knight in shining armor and re-appears, suddenly single, available and hankering after Stella. Not at all put off by her atrocious children and ex, he obviously sees something in Stella that I never spotted and, from here on in, the book sunk.
Far too long over pages , poor story-line and awful characters except for Stella's Dad and Mannix's ex , meant that I had to force myself to care enough to finish. Considering its great beginning, I was sorely disappointed. However, it is Marian Keyes, and I am sure it will head straight to the number one spot when published in November, just in time for the Christmas market.
Sorry Penguin, this Irish reader wants the old Marian Back View all 29 comments. Aug 23, Ashley rated it did not like it.
Not quite as bad as the schlocky magical realism of The Brightest Star in the Sky, but close. But for those of us who have?
I think we expect her work to be, first and foremost, funny. The attempts at humour were trying too hard. I think I maybe giggled to myself once or twice. Now, the characters- usually her characters are jumping off the page and are so likeable and identifiable. Stella is completely unengaging with no spine. I couldn't even picture her in my head.
In the end she was just a failure at everything, and not in a charming way. I couldn't even see why Mannix was so mad about her. The other characters are mostly one-dimensional or boring. The zigzag timeline structure is just confusing instead of thrilling. Don't even know what that's about. Everything interesting happens in the first half. We all know exactly what's going to happen. No suspense left with a couple hundred pages more to read.
Then we get an in-depth look at publishing and book tours, which to me was just Keyes showing off how much experience she has in the area and venting her first world problems frustrations.
Might as well be GOOP. Everything that happened to Stella was going to happen anyway, with or without Gilda. Why do all the Americans talk like Irish people?
No one in America says "shall". Come on, that's just amateur. And really, the BFF ends up with the ex-husband and no one cares?? I almost threw the book across the room. View all 12 comments. Irish author Marian Keyes has published a string of bestselling chick lit novels since the mid 's including the popular Walsh Family series. The Woman Who Stole My Life is a stand alone title featuring Stella Sweeney, a Dublin wife, mother and beautician, whose ordinary life is turned completely upside down when she falls ill with a rare illness.
The timeline is a little messy to begin with, starting with a fender bender that happened a few weeks before Stella got sick and then jumping to th Irish author Marian Keyes has published a string of bestselling chick lit novels since the mid 's including the popular Walsh Family series. The timeline is a little messy to begin with, starting with a fender bender that happened a few weeks before Stella got sick and then jumping to the 'present day' almost two years later and then back in time - heralded by a quote from the book Stella wrote after her recovery - to the day her illness was diagnosed.
It becomes slightly less confusing as the novel progresses, with one narrative thread moving forward from the time of her diagnosis and the other through the present day, until they eventually merge. The tension in the novel is supposed to stem from learning what happened to irrevocably change Stella's life not once, but thrice. Unfortunately the 'mystery' is stretched a little too thin to sustain the length of the story and though I was riveted during the first half or so of the novel my interest began to wane during Stella's time in New York.
There is a lot of emphasis on 'karma', and fate, but oddly not a lot of examples of this playing out in the storyline. Gilda certainly doesn't get what you would think she deserves, neither does Stella's ex-husband, or her son.
I should have been able to relate to Stella easily, we are of a similar age and stage of life, and I did in some respects, but I soon found I didn't like her much once she recovered from her illness.
She was so insecure, particularly in her relationship with Mannix, and lacked any real gumption in general. I also found most of the other supporting characters were shallow constructions, though Stella's dad, Karen, Stella's sister, and Roland, Mannix's brother, were favourites. There is an edge of bitterness here that is never explicit, but nevertheless present. I miss reading chick lits. They were such a big part of my reading life several years ago, very the young adult genre invaded m life.
This book is a whooping pages but I breezed through them all. I am definitely bumping them higher on my TBR. Stick with it.
It is told from two different timelines actually the first chapter is told from an earlier timeline. I didn't know which came before what and whether at that specific chapter, the events of the previous chapter already happened.
I was officially confused. However, once I got past the confusion and the author finally started clearing things up 70 pages into the book , I breezed through it. It took me a couple of days to reach page 70, but only 3 more days to read the other pages. The main character, Stella, got diagnosed with a very rare disease that left her paralyzed except for being able to blink for almost a year. The storyline switches between the emergence of the disease, when she is ish to the current state after something big happens that we don't know what, where she is ish.
We know Stella wrote a book, but then it flopped and now she's back in Ireland. There is an unspoken Mr. That is as much as I can reveal without spoiling anything. Character wise, stella was the most frustrating and unliked character for me. She is the embodiment of every trait in a person I dislike.
She is a push over.. Her son yells at her, her ex husband blames her for things, and all she does is agree and nod. I thought of this every single time she had an interaction with anyone.
She got easily taken advantage of and I wanted to give her a wake up slap every time she backed down and let people stomp all over her. She got a book deal? He kept on saying her book was crap and worth nothing, and what does she say?
It was really hard sympathizing with her because I don't feel sorry for people who let other people step all over them. Ok the rant is over. Ignoring Stella's personality, I couldn't stop reading.
Marian Keyes has a way of keeping you hooked even when only mundane things are going on in the book. View all 3 comments. Nov 14, Elinor rated it really liked it. If I hadn't read anything else by Marian Keyes, I would probably have given this book five stars.
I love this Irish author and appreciate so much the many happy hours of reading she has given me. And I totally understand if she is a little off her game right now, having battled severe depression for some time. How can you write funny under those circumstances?
But Marian nevertheless does a valiant job with this book -- it wasn't laugh-out-loud If I hadn't read anything else by Marian Keyes, I would probably have given this book five stars. But Marian nevertheless does a valiant job with this book -- it wasn't laugh-out-loud but it was amusing and clever, as usual.
View 1 comment. Jul 06, Melissa rated it it was amazing. It's been a while since I read this book and I'm just finally getting around to writing a review. The interesting factor is that a good chunk of the story is narrated in Stella's head, since she can't talk and has to communicate through blinks. What happens next is full of interesting surprises and Stella is in for a wild ride. The characters are so vivid and there's great dialogue and description throughout.
Marian It's been a while since I read this book and I'm just finally getting around to writing a review. Marian adds a dash of humor and a bit of snark to both Stella's thoughts and words. There are so many twists and turns, so I was constantly surprised. All I know is that I smiled and laughed.
A LOT! I highly recommend it, whether it is your first Marian Keyes book what are you waiting for?!? If I could marry a book, this would be it. Charming, heartfelt, and humorous. Marian Keyes at her absolute best! Dream cast: Eric Stonestreet http: Gerard Butler http: Kate Winslet http: Melissa George http: Ksenia Solo http: Colin Farrell http: Tessa Albertson http: View 2 comments.
This book was in every way as enjoyable as the most by Marian Keyes. But This book was in every way as enjoyable as the most by Marian Keyes. But I could not tell you why two of the guys were subsequently taken out of the name. It was in for feck's sake.
Anyway - Ms Keyes writes so enjoyable that I'd read her shopping list, and this book is no exception to that. I browsed a couple of other reviews and noted that there were complaints about the characterization. Which makes me think that we read different books, as I feel I know the characters in this one on a personal level and I'm dying for them to make contact as I wonder what happened to them after all this. The missing star is because pages or there abouts made for slow reading and not much development.
Then came the devastating stuff.
And then came the Keyes ending thankfully! This is one author I go to and will always go to when in need. Read one and you'll know when in need of what.
Nov 10, Figgy rated it liked it Shelves: I was reading Graham Masterton novels based on Lovecraftian tales and other books about the things that go bump in the night; the gorier the better! By the time I emerged from this phase and started reading more widely, Marian Keyes was well established, and when I started working in bookshops she had her own section on the shelf. But somehow, though people kept telling me I should give her a try, I never got around to it until now.
I want a read to keep me guessing, to keep me interested, to surprise me. Stella Sweeney has returned from New York and is attempting to write her second book, but life keeps getting in the way.
The rest of this review can be found here! Jul 24, Susan Johnson rated it it was ok. I used to love a Marian Keyes. They were light and funny and a vacation for my mind. This as none of those things. I didn't find it funny and it was just one stupid thing after another. Initially I liked Stella Sweeney. She was suffering from a life threatening disease and you really had to root for it. After she recovers she makes some really odd decisions.
A lot of things that are preposterous happen including how she "writes" a book. She has an ex-husband that's an idiot, a daught I used to love a Marian Keyes. She has an ex-husband that's an idiot, a daughter who lives in the clouds and a son who hates her. She makes her life so much harder for herself.
Funny yet? In the end I grew to find her so annoying and the supporting characters made of cardboard. I was so disappointed. I had expected some cheer and got a lesson on sex with lessons I had never even thought of. That was a real eye opener. I had no idea the Irish were that randy just kidding.
I feel like Keyes, like Janet Evanovich, have exhausted their genre. I find no reason to waste your time on this. Aug 03, Keris rated it it was amazing. And because I basically read it in a day and stayed up late to finish and I can't remember the last time I did that. Only complaint is that it ended a bit too quickly. I wanted more! Nov 07, Angela Oliver rated it it was ok. Keyes books used to be a delightful combination of funny, poignant and dark, but now the ratio seems to be swinging too far to the dark side, and slipping into bitterness.
I tried very hard to like Stella Sweeney, to empathise with her life, and while she was paralysed it was easy enough - lost in her thoughts, not knowing whether she would recover, die or remain in such a state indefinitely. Her little clashes with Dr Mannix were like tiny beads of humour, scattered amongst a tragic anxiety. Ho Keyes books used to be a delightful combination of funny, poignant and dark, but now the ratio seems to be swinging too far to the dark side, and slipping into bitterness.
However, her real life situation just made me sad. Her son resented her, her ex-husband had his crazy-kooky ideas and her daughter a flake, but at least she was happy. But there was something missing, the crazy, out-there humour. Stella was selfish, whiny and came to entirely stupid conclusions view spoiler [I mean, when Mannix offered to order her a cab and she jumped to entirely the wrong conclusion, then refused to take his calls or even listen to him!
And then at the end Dr Mannix did too, apart from the initial quarreling which was fun , he was basically just one big push-over, and I could not for the life of me see what he saw in Stella. Sure, there had been some sort of rudimentary connection when she was paralysed, but they had nothing in common except sex and you cannot build a lasting, stable relationship around sex.
The rays of light - Mannix's brother Roland about the only tension I felt was when he view spoiler [had a stroke hide spoiler ] , the crazy agent with her cats - but for the most part I did not really care for Stella at all, and was almost delighted when view spoiler [Gilda turned the tables on her near the end. I'm not really too keen, it seems, on stories of those in their early 40s dealing with broken relationships, teenaged children although Jeffrey's "rebellion" was at least quirky - I mean foraging and intensely sexual relationships.
Give me "Rachel's Holiday" any day. Received eARC from Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Sep 22, Rebecca Carter rated it really liked it Shelves: I've been a fan of her books since I was a teenager and I love the way she combines humour with more serious issues. Her books make me want to hibernate in a comfy corner of the house snuggled under a blanket, with a warm brew and nibbles, and not emerge until I've finished.
After reading some pretty bad reviews about this book, I was prepared for the worst! However, The woman who stole my life was like a breath of fresh air to me. I'm not sure if it's because I've read some terrible books in this genre over the last few years, but I found this book unputdownable. Maybe it's because Keyes contemporaries in this genre can't reach her standards; I can think of a few current popular women's lit authors who receive tons of praise, yet in comparison to Marian Keyes I find them pale imitations and contrived.
There is a time jump in the book, which at times may seem unclear with its vague chapter names, but towards the end of the book when things start clicking into place, I thought they made sense and it was an original way of presenting each section. As usual with Marian Keyes books there are plenty of twists and turns, some obvious, some not so. Within a few pages I was sucked right, you do feel with her books like the main character is one of your close friends.
This is the perfect book to read for intelligent, well written chick lit. You know what you're going to get when it comes to Marian Keyes, her books are like visiting an old friend.
A book by an author with your same initials MK - this sounded easier than it was Not a Romance Fan; never was, never will be First Sentence: I need to start by saying this was the only author I could come-up with that had the same initials as me. I very rarely read romance - because I don't like it.
I believe that if you are a fan of romance this would be good. But it's not for me - so I will not put all the negative things that went through my mind will reading this one onto paper. All I can think to say that's positive is: Thank goodness it's over Muy divertido, muy bien armado.
Dec 09, Rachel rated it it was ok Shelves: This book was a hot mess. Sometimes Keyes' hot-button Obvious Book Topic approach works, more often it doesn't. This time it bombs spectacularly, mainly because there's not just one Topic, there's several. If writers only realised that patients are at their least attractive when ill or thinking they're ill! In an article for The Telegraph, Keyes details how her struggles with anxiety, depression, and alcoholism began from an early age. After her treatment at the Rutland Centre she returned to her job in London and submitted her short stories to Poolbeg Press.
The publisher encouraged her to submit a full-length novel and Keyes began work on her first book, Watermelon. The novel was published the same year. Since she has published 13 novels and four works of nonfiction. During this time Keyes also wrote The Mystery of Mercy Close, a novel where the heroine experiences similar battles with depression and suicide attempts that Keyes herself battled with.
I was always melancholic and prone to sadness and hopelessness but this was catastrophic and unimaginable. Even my mammy called her a bad word". Even though she deleted her original comment she admitted to having done so for "a cheap laugh", one which alienated readers in two counties. Style[ edit ] Although many of her novels are known as comedies, they revolve around dark themes often drawn from Keyes' own experiences, including domestic violence , drug abuse , mental illness , divorce and alcoholism.
Keyes considers herself a feminist, and has chosen to reflect feminist issues in many of her books.