I'm a fan of Marian Keyes, shes written some wonderful chick lits before and I will admit I was expecting great things when I got my hands on a copy to review. But had I not been determent to see this through I wouldn't have finished it at all. If I had bought it I'd be looking for my money back. That is, until I got about 100 or so pages in and wanted to know what happened next. And when I realised that, I was a little disgusted with myself. I'm not a fan of the style of writing, going back and forth between different tenses and times in the narrators life. I'm not a fan in the whimsical person who has nothing ends up with a fairytale life because there are so many of those horrendous books floating about. (although this was a wonderful twist on that theme). And as for self help books? You may as well be throwing your money in the bin if you buy one of those bloody things. But people who buy them always give me a giggle too - so the circle of life continues it seems.
Stella Sweeney has settled back into Dublin life after living a whirlwind dream in New York for a year, touring her new self help book all over the country. The problem now is her writers block, the constant procrastination, family problems and other things that life throws at her isn't helping matters. Her first book was an accident that came about after spending a long period in hospital, when there was nothing she could do but listen to her own thoughts being trapped in a silent, unmoving body. With two moody teenagers, a bossy sister and a husband who decorates bathrooms like discos for a living, Stella can't connect with them lying in a bed surrounded by tubes and nurses. The only one who seems to understand what shes trying to say and how she feels is a doctor who works almost daily with her, trying to understand how to make her well again. A doctor who ends up being a bigger part of her life then either could have ever believed.
As I said earlier, this book is all over the place with its tenses. We have before Stella's stay in hospital, when shes in there, her time after shes well again and then finally when shes living in New York touring her book, along with a little of what happens when she gets home. Its confusing and isn't as fluid as I would expect from a well known and well published author like Marian Keyes. With a big book like this, you would want to take some time over a weekend to read it all, otherwise I think you'd have a hard time picking up where you left off with all the chopping and changing of times in Stella's life. Its a pity as the story is actually really good if you can understand all thats happening. The other characters in the book were well developed and I took a particular shine to her father and her moody son. Even though your shaking your head at times over the stupid decisions and things that happen to Stella, you can't help but love this character and connect with her on some level.
As with many Irish authors, its lovely to read about places in Ireland that you know well and might even only be down the road from you. Making connections like that are even more enjoyable I personally find. Once I got a few hundred pages in I was totally glued to my kindle. Staying up late reading it or trying to juggle a hair brush, kindle and hair dryer in one go. As with all books I can't put down, I relearn why its not a good idea to walk and read at the same time. Falling over the hoover (and getting a massive sore bruise) or standing on the poor cat are the inevitable. If you can put aside some pet peevs of story lines (self help books and fairytale 'making it') and occasionally having to scratch your head over what tense the story is in now, then I'd strongly recommend this one. You can reorder it on Amazon or find it in shops on the 7th of November.