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The Woman Who Stole My Life - August book club

(75 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 04-Aug-15 14:54:35

Copies have been sent out so should have arrived/be arriving shortly. Find out more about Marian Keyes' latest bestseller HERE and if you've received a copy (or if you've read it anyway) do add questions and comments for Marian on this thread.

If you'd like to purchase a copy, you can go here.

gillybob Thu 13-Aug-15 14:28:57

My copy arrived yesterday. Whoopeee can't wait to get stuck in although it will probably be next week now. Thank you GNHQ

mbody Fri 14-Aug-15 08:12:12

Read and enjoyed this book. Marian Keyes manages to cover unusual and sometimes difficult topics with a sure hand and leads the reader through a most enjoyable and readable book. For readers new to Marian then I would recommend her other books.

Gagagran Fri 14-Aug-15 09:19:45

I've just finished reading this book and to me it was like the curate's egg - good in parts. I enjoyed the hospital scenes very much and was really moved by the way the "locked in" sensations were described. It must be absolute torture.

What didn't work so well for me was the American section. It was too long, too repetitive and it bored me so much that I found myself skipping through it. I also found the Gilda character and involvement very unrealistic.

Marian's ear for and description of Irish life is as sharp and funny as always though and that redeemed the book for me. I'd like to ask her two things:

What does "gameball" mean as used by Stella's Mum and Dad
and
Did Marian do some research with people who have been "locked in" or did she just use her fertile imagination to describe what it must be like?

sunseeker Fri 14-Aug-15 19:08:45

I'm afraid I found this book overly long. The American section was quite boring and repetitive. The back and forth between times was also a little confusing, although the change in typeface did help. Although the book was overlong the ending was rushed, almost as if the writer had realised she had written a long book and should finish it quickly!

Having said that the story itself was interesting, especially the "locked in" portion and I have no doubt of the writer's talent - just try to keep it a little shorter next time.

grandMattie Sat 15-Aug-15 11:57:50

Very surprised when my copy arrived a couple of days ago. Thank you. Have started it, but not got far as am very busy with offspring etc. at the moment.

Spidergran Sat 15-Aug-15 14:23:37

I found this book brilliant. I started out with reservations as I took the title to mean another book about the 'other woman' stealing a husband and then the ex-wife re-inventing herself to make good. I was pleasantly surprised it was nothing like this storyline! I enjoyed the contrasting chapters that began with here and now and the persona of success that is then revealed step by step how Stella 'made it' and 'lost it' and that 'making it' is not always what it's cracked up to be. The dark frustrating eerie place she took us to in her illness is a place that most people don't even know exists yet it is the quality of life for many people right under our noses. To watch the world go by as a mere observer unable to communicate your love, hurt, pain, anger or distress as decisions are made for you, to passively lie still with only your own thoughts raging around in your head. An endless black void that you push yourself second by second to endure, to survive another day. She shares the tug-of-love emotions we feel when we love our children beyond measure but hate them at the same time for the stress and anxiety they cause in our life.
The relationship with Mannix was the connection, the bond between two people who share something on another dimension from ordinary life for a period of time, suspended in that 'time slot' and the loss one feels when it is over and you return to normal life and the struggle to re-create it or develop it into the harsh realities of everyday life.
She showed the peaks and troughs we all experience in life, how one can rollercoaster from 'fame' and money to blending into nothingness and poverty and how you can adapt to these changes and add to your wisdom and personality. The struggles Ryan had with the jealousy of Stella's success, she had stolen his dreams and his self-punishment was to sink into anger and self-pity and take the attitude that if she had stolen his fame, he may as well demolish everything else in his life and put the responsibility of judging if he was worthy or not on the Universe to provide so he would not be responsible for any more failure.
The beautiful Georgie, the bitch we all love to hate with the fantastic figure, expensive clothes and handbags turns out to a kind, generous friend and a twist we have to grudgingly accept. Then when it looks like the relationship between Stella and Mannix is going to fail which we all predicted it would as we engage with our own insecurities of us falling in love with a rich, handsome doctor and him feeling the same way about us until the younger, more beautiful model arrives to steal him away, but the happy ending twist of fame fades but love can triumph even for the ordinary, older woman just adds the finishing touch to this brilliant book.
I loved the realistic web of characters and how they wove together to produce a fantastic story that I could relate to. I have never read any Marian Keyes books before but look forward to reading many more.

janerowena Sat 15-Aug-15 23:31:49

I really enjoyed it. I would hesitate to put it in the chicklit category, I felt it was more serious than that. I read some reviews and felt that some of Ms Keyes' fans were disappointed that the book wasn't as light and fluffy as some of her previous ones, however I felt it to be more realistic. I have come across people who have been angry with their loved ones being ill before. I have also seen how browbeaten a strong woman can become when she is feeling low and guilty for something she had no control over. It shocked me at the time when I read the reviews, that people would be so angry with the character, but I have now seen similar situations for myself a few times and maybe there are people out there who either can't imagine it, or don't want to.

I too have wondered how incapacitated people in hospital are able to convey that they are uncomfortable, and have heard of it happening. I really hope it never happens to me! I think I would go mad.

I can't think of a question - just would like to say, I like the book, hopefully it will bring you a new audience. I have left it with a friend who says she will recommend it for her bookclub.

gma Sun 16-Aug-15 20:54:11

Thank you Gransnet for my copy of 'The woman who stole my life' I was most surprised,, as I thought that I was too late in applying. I have not read anything by Marian Keyes before ! So this book is a new venture for me!! I will let you have my comments when I have finished it

Greendorrie Mon 17-Aug-15 10:43:17

This is a large book over 500 pages, I have read about 100 and I am enjoying the story. I like the way it switches from the present to the past, and I like the way I am getting to know Stella, the main character.

whenim64 Mon 17-Aug-15 14:02:33

Slow going so far - I've had a break of a few days because I found the story depressing and not a page turner where you can't wait to find out what happens next. However, the reviews on here are motivating me to finish the book, so I'll be back with more.

kittykat02 Tue 18-Aug-15 00:17:38

My book just arrived this morning, I got a lively surprise as I thou time wS too late. Will start ASAP. I know this book will be as fantastic as all the others. They are always so good and keep me hooked. I get nothing done in the house

kittykat02 Tue 18-Aug-15 00:26:58

I'm just wondering has it ever happened that you have written a story and then had a member of the public thought it was based on them. I always wonder about that when I see in books at the start where it says the book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to a person is a coincidence. The books are always so believable you feel they are your friends/family.

obag Tue 18-Aug-15 08:46:51

I have read it so did not apply for a free copy, as always Marian writes with such humor and tenderness, she has the gift of many Irish writers of being able to tell a good tale and keep the reader interested.

tracya Tue 18-Aug-15 15:55:01

I received my copy last week and as always Marian Keyes has wrote an excellent book its an easy read book which I enjoyed reading on my holiday, Marian got me hooked on the book after the first chapter I wanted to find out what was going to happen I love romantic stories and loved all the characters in the book great holiday book cant wait to find out the ending.

Lowslung1 Tue 18-Aug-15 17:26:21

I have read several Marian Keyes books and found this one had a rather more serious side to it.
Was the inclusion of Guillain-Barre syndome just a useful illness for the story, in that Stella makes a full recovery, or was it to raise awareness of the illness? I certainly had never heard of it before.

As others have mentioned I found it a little long winded, but enjoyable all the same - I love the "Irishness" of it, as in all her books, and the wonderful irreverent language used in conversations between the Irish characters.
All in all though I found it very entertaining, quick and easy to read - nothing too complicated with a nice straightforward ending - good holiday reading

imacmum Tue 18-Aug-15 20:52:16

Have read all of Marian Keyes books and whilst The Woman who Stole My Life was different to her usual style, I still really enjoyed it once i got into it!

middleagespread Thu 20-Aug-15 11:54:35

I'm on page 101 and although slightly confused,I'm hooked.

rocketstop Thu 20-Aug-15 19:13:24

Hi Marian,
I really enjoyed the book.I can't give too much away here as some people may not have read it yet and have still to comment.
It's always great to get another book from you.
It was quite brave to portray someone trapped by a medical condition and I thought you did it well.
I also had to laugh as you describe shoes in the book and I'm guessing you still love them as much as you used to ?!!
Also I wanted to ask..Are you still a looper magnet ? I know I am!!

I love the bit in the story where Stella, Mannix and Roland are tasting wines and they come up with ever more stupid descriptions, trying to outdo each other with ever more outlandish suggestions, it reminded me of me and my sister messing about !

I see your next book has links to New York, have you spent time there recently? Just wondered whast your inspiration was for partly setting the stories there ?
Thanks again for a great read, and I hope you're happy and well.

dartmoordogsbody Fri 21-Aug-15 08:53:02

I had to force myself to press on through the early part of this book, as other readers have commented, because it was not easy to follow, with its time shifts. The changes of font help to draw attention to the time changes, and I wondered whether this was how Marian wrote it, or whether her editor had suggested it might help to flag up the changes.

I am also curious about the theme of finding it hard to write the next book, and I wondered whether this is an experience Marian has been through. Another reader has commented that she wondered whether Marian is pressured by her publisher to write a new book every year. I see that her regular readers say this book is slightly different from earlier ones, and I would really love to know if Marian would like to change the kind of book she writes but the pressures of previous success stop her?

Any Gransnetters thinking of writing their own bestseller will think twice after reading about the publishing industry in this story!

Thanks for the book.

whenim64 Fri 21-Aug-15 09:29:42

Well, I finished it last night and though I'm not going to slate it, I can't say it was a memorable book. For me, some of the various twists and turns seemed gratuitous and not relevant to moving the story along. Things happened and were remedied - I won't be specific so as not to spoil it for those people still reading it. I did laugh at the funny wine tasting episode. Not a page turner - took me a lot longer than usual to get through it.

granh1 Fri 21-Aug-15 12:06:28

Thank you Gransnet for the copy of The Woman who Stole my Life.

Stella lives in Dublin and helps in her sister’s beauty salon. She tries a good deed for the day while sitting in a traffic jam, and causes an accident - which starts a chain of incidents -fate or coincidences?

She has a serious illness, from which she recovers, only to be surprised she has written a book about it. Did she loose her memory, or did someone write on her behalf?

Another chain of events leads to fame, money and travel, then back to poverty, when she unsurprisingly fails to write a follow on book.
Along the way she deals with relationships with parents, sister, husband, children and lover.

The book is easy to read and follow, despite the fact it moves around in time a little. It has humour – I like the references to trying to lose weight - “There are no calories in food you don’t enjoy” , “Granola: broken biscuits masquerading as heath food”. I wonder if the author has been there!

There’s some homely wisdom too. “Sometimes you get what you want, and sometimes you get what you need and sometimes you get what you get”, “I’ve survived hardship, it’s just a question of being positive, of looking forward. Of never looking back. Of adjusting to the new normal, the present reality, and riding the roller coaster of life”. Once again, is that the voice of experience?

Warmth, humour, twists and turns – an excellent holiday read, that involves you with the story and is a page turner.

randomangel59 Sun 23-Aug-15 11:44:29

Firstly, thank you to Gransnet for sending me this book. I appear to be following Marian Keyes on Twitter but cannot recall reading her work before. I thoroughly enjoyed most of the book and I like her writing style which I would describe as sensitive, honest and strong.
The storyline takes too many turns for me though....the content and resolution of "One Blink at a Time" satisfied my desire for a compulsive narrative in a chick lit book.
I look forward to reading more by Ms Keyes.. Thank you again.

grandMattie Sun 23-Aug-15 13:52:51

I have enjoyed Marian Keyes' previous boooks very much - entertaining candyfloss. This one was much darker- the Guillen-Barre syndrome - the Mannix/Georgia/Roland/Gilda/Ryan business, etc.

Stella is a nice woman, she didn't write to book, Mannix did, after putting down things she said. The fact that Stella couldn't produce a word when she was supposed to was because of that. I certainly would't stay in touch with Gilda who stole my book, my man, my life... wasn't she the woman who stole lives? I got a bit confused with when it was fiction and when it wasn't; was it fiction?

i actually liked Georgia. She and Mannix married the wrong person, but she was warm, generous to a fault and a light in the dark book.

The ending was a bit rushed, not particulalry satisfying, although expected.

it was an entertaining and gripping story. Thank you Ms Keyes.

philatel Mon 24-Aug-15 13:18:43

I received my book quite late so am only half way through but enjoying it once I got over the two time differences which I found quite confusing at first. I love Marian Keyes' books and think this one is going to be just as readable as all her others.

annodomini Tue 25-Aug-15 10:19:59

I had to lie in this morning so that I could finish the book. I agree with some of the criticisms on this thread. The plot is somewhat fragmented, but then, so are Stella's life and relationships.

The characters in the New York sections of the novel are more like caricatures, by contrast with the more 'rounded' characters in the Irish sections. Is this how Marian sees life on the opposing sides of the Atlantic? More specifically, did she have anyone in mind when she portrayed the unscrupulous agent, Phyllis?