Marian Keyes has been an author, some of whose books I have enjoyed immensely, while some I’ve been very lukewarm to. I came across this book in Netgalley’s titles, and couldn’t requesting for it. Luckily enough for me, I got approved as well.
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?
The story goes back and forth to the Stella’s past and present, so in effect, you know what’s been happening, and only slowly do you get to understand how she got to where she did. Stella has separated from her husband, and back in Ireland after a flashy trip to America. Her daughter has chosen to get married to a man she met in America, and her teenage son, unlike other ‘normal’ teenagers does yoga and loves cooking. Stella can’t understand where she’s gone wrong. And of course, there is this tiny problem of having to write a book that she just doesn’t seem capable of writing anymore.
Over all, I was disappointed by this book. None of the author’s trademark humour nor was the plot engaging enough. Stella came across as someone who just gets carried along by the tide, sometimes an outright doormat, which made it difficult to empathize with her. I might have been disappointed because I have read much more engrossing and fun books by this author. Even her twitter updates are more fun.
The one thing that stood out for me, was the way Stella’s medical condition was described. It was vivid, and felt very real. That was one part of the book, where I could completely empathise with Stella. It made me cry and then rejoice when she recovered completely. The author must have done a tremendous amount of research to understand what patients with this sort of condition/disease go through. I did feel that she did a great job at portraying Stella’s feelings at that time. What I’ve always liked about Keyes’ writing is that they are not just ‘fun’ books, they have tackled hidden issues, like domestic violence and depression and in this book, it is the parts with Stella’s disease that I liked the most. That Stella somehow went missing when she recovered, or at least that was what I felt.
All in all, it isn’t a bad book, a 3/5 book for me, mainly because I think the author’s previous books made me expect more.
About the Author
Marian Keyes, born September 10, 1963, is a popular Irish writer, considered to be one of the original progenitors of “chick lit”. Keyes’ first novel, Watermelon, was published in Ireland in 1995. Since then she has published seven further novels and two collections of non-fiction, and has sold 15 million copies of her books in 30 languages.
This book is available on Amazon(UK).