The Woman who Stole My Life
by Marian Keyes
*I received a copy of this book from Penguin Publishing to review so I can let you know about more great books to pick up! Think of Christmas presents!*
Marian Keyes is an international best seller. You might recognize her from Sushi for Beginners.
I’ve also read Angels.
So, when I was asked by Penguin Publishing to review her newest novel, The Woman who Stole my Life, I jumped at the chance.
What’s it about?
The book is about a woman named Stella Sweeney who one day finds herself completely paralyzed and in the hospital with a rare condition called Guillain–Barré syndrome. She is unable to talk, move or communicate until her neurologist discovers that she can indeed communicate through blinking. He takes it upon himself to write down some of her pithy sayings and eventually has it published under her name when she is cured.
The Woman Who Stole my Life follows several stories lines in different time periods – but they are all Stella’s life. These are differentiated by font and by sections of the book. So, you know where Stella ends up (or where you think she ends up) but, you are not sure how she gets there. It is a very clever literary device that I have not seen before, and it is a lot less confusing than it sounds!
What is the novel really about?
I struggled with the meaning of the title: The Woman Who Stole My Life. There are obvious characters in the book who end up trying to take away from Stella’s life (I won’t go into more detail for fear of giving anything away!)
However, there is more to it than that.
There are so many characters in the book that are trying to be someone they are not, or aiming for things that are not meant for them.
Women who are trying to attain beauty, thinness, and high quality material items. People who are trying to attain inner peace and holiness, and people who just want to be someone else.
I think the take away lesson is to really be yourself. Don’t try to be someone else. It doesn’t work out. Be yourself and good things will happen – even though the journey along the way might be tough.
Good Book Club Questions
This book would make a good book club book as there are some good topics for discussion.
What does the title really mean?
There are many relationships in the book. Whose are built on the firmest foundation?
Would you be able to stand by a partner/friend in times of illness?
Did the ending wrap up too neatly? Was it realistic?
Getting Other Opinions
To get another opinion on the book, I asked my friend to read it. She was heading on a plane ride to New York and needed something to read. This is what she said:
Just finished The Womam Who Stole my Life. Really LOVED it. Great characters, totally different plot, interesting writing scheme with all the different timeframes, loved the sex, cool that it was NYC and so am I!
My only criticism was that I felt that it was unnecessarily long. There were SO many characters…too many for me, and some scenes that were not really doing anything productive. Other than those small dislikes, I really enjoyed the writing and the detailed character development. It’s almost like I could see them in my minds eye.
Marian Keyes’ book is a quick read (despite being over 500 pages). It is a page turner, as you want to find out how the story comes together in the end.
It would be a great book for a long journey or a summer on a beach.
I definitely recommend picking up a copy or giving a copy as a Christmas Present to a book lover on your list!