Monday, October 12, 2015

Book Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

Reviewer: Susan Lobhan (UK)

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Who knew that by letting another car into the line ahead of you it would start a catastrophic chain of events- certainly not Stella Sweeney! Flash forward a few years and Stella is a shell of the woman she was, what made her this way? Her life is like an open book, split into prologue and epilogue centred round the main storyline of the life changing car accident. All of her family are moving on but she is living in limbo wearing the wrong clothes and eating too many jaffa cakes.

Stella has gone from happily married beautician to invalid to celebrated author to nothing in a very short period of time. Could it be karma or just life?

Very unusually I have seen a lot of different synopsis for this book, so when I sat down to read it I really wasn’t sure what it would be about. Now I have finished it to be honest I am still not sure what it was actually about. It starts with the protagonist questioning karma and whether the story to follow proves it’s existence. However I really thought that the story centred round really bad luck. The sub plot of Stella’s ex husband testing out karma by giving away all his possessions served no purpose other than over labouring the point.

The story begins with Stella causing a three way car crash by kindle letting someone else enter the car queue. Thereafter it was really hard to follow the story as it flits between before the accident, after the accident, present day and some time period in between. It was too much and really affected the flow of the story. Out of the blue Stella ends up in hospital in a very critical condition, which at first you think must be caused by the car accident, but no the doctors don’t think so, so not karma then. When focusing on Stella’s extended time in hospital I was drawn in and particularly loved when Stella’s Dad read to her to help her recovery. It was very endearing that they had this bond even though Stella had no way of expressing her gratitude. Just as I was warming to the book the plot line drastically alters again and the focus is thrown once more. From then on the story dragged and the book felt over long and still the title made little sense. It is only after you have ploughed through most of the book that things become a bit clearer, but it really isn’t much of a pay off.

I am a huge fan of Marian Keyes books and I have loved most of them, so I was really looking forward to this but I did not love it. She has the knack of finding humour in emotion fuelled situations, which she does to a certain degree in this book, but then I felt that all the flashing back and forward and too many side stories detracted from the overall feel. If you are new to Marian Keyes then you will enjoy this as you have nothing to compare it to, but please also hunt out her back catalogue for a true sense. Die hard fans will read this whatever I say but hopefully my review will prepare them for something different.

Susan's rating: 7/10

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