Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The Woman Who Stole My Life Book Review

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

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In her own words, Stella Sweeney is just "an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband and two teenage kids," working for her sister in their neighborhood beauty salon. Until one day she is struck by a serious illness, landing her in the hospital for months.

After recovering, Stella finds out that her neurologist, Dr. Mannix Taylor, has compiled and published a memoir about the illness in Stella's voice. Her discovery comes when she spots a photo of the finished copy in an American tabloid - and it's in the hands of the vice president's wife! As her relationship with Dr. Taylor gets more complicated, Stella struggles to figure out she was before her illness, who she is now, and who she wants to be while relocating to New York City to pursue a career as a newly minted self-help memoirist.

Review by Brittany:

This is the first book of Keyes' that I've read in a while, and I absolutely loved it and devoured it. Keyes is an author who always delivers. Her characters are always believable, and I love how all of her female characters are a little self-deprecating and a lot funny. Her take on Irish families makes me laugh out loud, like when her main character thinks, "I wasn't bred for compliments."

This one touches on some tricky subject matter. Stella comes down with a rare disease that causes her to become paralyzed. She is trapped in her own body for a long period of time, aware of what's happening and fully capable of experiencing thoughts, but she has no way of letting them out. This causes strain in her marriage and in her relationship with her kids, and it leads to an unusual bond between her and her neurologist.

Despite how heavy some of the book gets, Stella still managed to crack me up. Her sister Karen was one of my favorite characters because of her harsh bluntness and fearlessness when it comes to saying whatever she wants to say. Even though this often manifests itself as criticisms toward Stella, I still adored her as a character.

Keyes understands how to make her books a little bit grey. There's nothing totally black and white, no choices that are clearly right or wrong, no characters who are all good or bad. Everything is in shades of grey, which makes her characters and novels feel very real without being real-life boring.

I love Keyes. If you're a fan of the chick lit genre, she's a must read. And if you're already a fan of hers, don't hesitate to pick this one up!

Notable quotes:

I'll have to confront this passive-aggressive warfare at some stage, but I'm feeling so defeated by my pointless day and my pointless life that, right now, I'm not able.

Things in life, relationships, don't "just happen". You can flirt with danger, you can test the edge of your marriage, and you can pull back from the brink.

...you only get one life and you should live it as happily as you can.

Well, I had no real choice but to believe him. Living any other way would just send me mad.

As I ran, I cried, and the tears froze on my cheeks, and I thought: I'm not able for this life. I'm not tough enough.

As Mannix had said, the world was full of young and beautiful women. If I regarded them all as threats I'd be utterly destroyed.

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