From Penguin Canada: 'Name: Stella Sweeney. Height: average. Recent life events: dramatic.'
One day, sitting in traffic, married Dublin mum Stella Sweeney attempts a good deed. The resulting car crash changes her life. For she meets a man who wants her telephone number (for the insurance, it turns out). That's okay. She doesn't really like him much anyway (his Range Rover totally banjaxed her car). But in this meeting is born the seed of something which will take Stella thousands of miles from her old life, turning an ordinary woman into a superstar, and, along the way, wrenching her whole family apart. Is this all because of one ill-advised act of goodwill? Was meeting Mr Range Rover destiny or karma? Should she be grateful or hopping mad? For the first time real, honest-to-goodness happiness is just within her reach. But is Stella Sweeney, Dublin housewife, ready to grasp it?
The book opens with Stella back in Dublin after a stint in New York. We learn that she is separated from her husband, Ryan, and that her son, Jeffrey, is a frustrating teenager. The book then steps into Stella's past, where she developed a life threatening disease that left her completely paralyzed for months. In the first half of the book, one chapter is about the present, and the next is about Stella's hospital stay. Enter Mannix, Stella's neurologist who ultimately changes the course of her life.
I really enjoyed the chapters where Stella was in the hospital. I liked reading the thoughts that she couldn't physically voice herself. It's interesting the observations you can make about your own life when you're stuck and mute. Once Stella is out of the hospital, her whole life changes. She and her husband separate, and oh yeah, she has somehow written a book! Becoming a somewhat known author leads to the wrong person taking notice of her new life, which is when her life starts falling apart.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit, but I did have a few issues with it. I hated Jeffrey, Stella's son. He was rude, disrespectful, and spoiled. I think he was emotionally stunted by Stella's illness, but he was very difficult to like. I also didn't like Ryan, Stella's ex-husband. I feel like his storyline about giving away his things was a bit out of place. Perhaps there was an underlying message in that particular storyline, but I didn't get it.
I found this book quite funny, which is always a plus in my mind. Stella can be hard to like at times, but she's funny and self-deprecating, and at her core, has a big heart. I liked Mannix a lot, too, as well as the secondary characters like Georgia.
I would recommend this to those who are looking for a quick read (it's a chunker, but it reads quickly), or those looking for a story that will leave you feeling content.
This was my first Marian Keyes book, but now I'm interested in checking out her others. Does anyone have any suggestions on which book I should check out next?
The Woman Who Stole My Life is available now, and you should definitely check it out.