I had two hours to kill at the airport and another two hours to kill in the flight, naturally, I searched for a bookstore and stumbled upon, The Woman Who Stole my Life by Marian Keyes.
Having never read one of her novels before, and having heard her novels being recommended, I bought it and immediately got my nose stuck in it.
“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?” – Goodreads synopsis
It doesn’t really tell you much, does it?
The writing style immediately made me happy about my decision, easy to read and filled with humour, I found myself giggling out loud from time to time. Stella was funny, a bit self-deprecating, but funny.
We’re immediately made aware of the entire synopsis, that she was an author in New York and is not there anymore and we don’t know why. Each chapter will jump between the past and the present to help us get there.
Ryan, her ridiculous ex-husband, is a handsome, chaotic artist who wants to give away everything he owns for the sake of spiritual art. Now, you may think the story would focus on something that big, and strange, but nope, it’s just a random side story that was added. I read page after page trying to figure out what the main story line was and it just didn’t seem to be going anywhere, rather, it split Stella up into several little pieces and scattered her into different stories.
As it turns out, Stella had the rare Guillain-Barre syndrome, which left her completely paralysed, except for her eyes, and her eyelids. Her neurologist, the hunky, charming Mannix Taylor, is a pleasure as a side character, until surprise (not really): He is the main character.
Everyone is a main character; her weird children who add nothing to the story, her publisher, her family, Mannix’s ex-wife, and even her trainer, Gilda.
Without giving anything away, I would say that Gilda was actually a big surprise, because she was introduced very late and ended up being rather important.
Aside from all of this, in a light-hearted, romcom novel, Marian Keyes thought it was absolutely necessary offend a large percentage of her readers by linking Islam to terrorism. Classy.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy bits of it. Even if the story lacked direction, a lot of the humour was still good and Mannix was really charming.