Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

3.5 Star

Stella Sweeney is back in Dublin. After living the dream in New York for a year - touring her self-help book, appearing on talk shows all over the USA and living it up in her 10-room duplex on the Upper West Side - she's back to normality with a bang. And she's got writer's block.

Stella wants a clean break as she didn't exactly leave New York on a high. Why is she back in Ireland so soon? Who is it who keeps calling? Stella wants to get back to being the woman she used to be. But can she? And should she?

Kathryn - 3.5 Star

Marian Keyes has once again brought us an involved story with a multitude of things to make you think. I wasn’t sure I was on board with Stella during the initial chapters of the novel. She grew on me though when her voice found root in the portion of her being ill. I was enthralled by her tenacity and kept putting myself in her situation without really being able to understand it in its entirety.

The relationship with Mannix was edgy from the start- I think many would find that their attraction would be a fleeting interest, as her family pointed out repeatedly, but I liked their link. They were undeniably attracted to each other physically which is what Stella desperately needed to make her life what she wanted but to their credit they did evolve into a partnership slowly and steadily. Mannix also had a number of things he was seeking in a partner and they seemed to be opposites but well suited- I was really pulling for them in the end.

One of my quibbles with the novel was Ryan. I liked his quirkiness and admired him sticking by his wife when they were obviously growing apart but I found his “artistic” desire to be centre stage frustrating and I couldn’t quite see how they’d come together in the first place. My most difficult moments though were with Jeffrey. I wanted him to appreciate his mother and even his father. Teenagers are moody, of course, but there seemed to be more than usual underlying hatred and lack of respect which I couldn’t really justify from the relationship we were shown. I felt there must have been more to it and it crept into so many aspects of the novel that I could have used more justification for the attitude to get on board with it.

All in all though The Woman Who Stole My Life was interesting, made me think and was of course fabulously written. And I laughed a lot.  I have to add also that I loved the title of this book- it fit into so many aspect of the story and was an inspired choice!  Marian Keyes will always be one of my favourite writers.

Thank you to Penguin Group for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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