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Publisher's Summary

From best-selling author Marian Keyes, a hilarious new novel about an Irish beautician and her unorthodox path to love and fame.

In her own words, Stella Sweeney is just "an ordinary woman living an ordinary life with her husband and two teenage kids", working for her sister in their neighborhood beauty salon. Then one day she is struck by a serious illness that lands her in the hospital for months.

After recovering, Stella finds out that her neurologist, Dr. Mannix Taylor, has compiled and self-published a memoir about her illness. Her discovery comes when she spots a photo of the finished copy in an American tabloid - and it's in the hands of the vice president's wife!

As her relationship with Dr. Taylor gets more complicated, Stella struggles to figure out who she was before her illness, who she is now, and who she wants to be while relocating to New York City to pursue a career as a newly minted self-help memoirist.

Funny, fast-paced, and honest, Keyes's latest novel is full of her trademark charm and wisdom and is sure to delight her many fans.

©2014  Marian Keyes (P)2014  W.F. Howes

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

Marian Keyes is a genius. This book fails to show

As always, in a Marion Keyes book, the dialogue sounds realistic and the characters are well drawn. That said, for me, this book lacked warmth. Possibly because Stella struck me as someone I would never be friends with. I though she treated her boyfriend horribly, and when her life fell apart at the end, I feel guilty to admit I found myself rolling my eyes and thinking, "Well what did you EXPECT, Stella, when you couldn't even tell him you loved him and mb ade c a big deal about a one night stand he had before you were even together?"

I would love to hear what Helen Walsh would say about Stella. Helen has a backbone and real solid presence.

Marion, if you read this, I will always and forever buy anything you write, because I think you are the Jane Austen of time. This was just not my cup of tea. But then, neither was Northranger Abbey and that's survived the test of time, so what do I know?

My favorite character in the book (this one, not Northranger Abbey ) was the petulant yoga-loving teenage son. Hope to see more of him.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Gillian
  • Austin, TX, United States
  • 08-31-17

First Part? Good. Second Part? Ugh!

This is two books in one, really. Keyes does a phenomenal job in the first part with Stella's struggle with her horrific, immobilizing illness. Truly, I enjoyed the first part. It was paced well; it was filled with raw and touching emotion.
Second book? Oh, my. Stella does nothing: zip! nada! It's almost as though she was still paralyzed for all the action she takes. I understand that she's depressed, but come on. Do SOMEthing! Everybody else takes actions, makes choices. All Stella does is whine, cringe, get confused, until those around her blast her with choices to be made.
Worth a Daily Deal, 1/2 credit, for the first book.
The second part? Oi veh!

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

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Just Couldn't Finish It

I just stopped listening at chapter 34. I found it difficult to follow the timeline of the story and I didn't really like or care about any of the characters or what happened to them. I finally just gave up.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Book Stole My Heart

Loved, loved, loved the book and wanted to stay in Stella's life, sad when it ended. Stella is an ordinary wife, mom, daughter, sister, friend, worker as so many of us are. Suddenly struck by a debilitating illness her life changes forever. Stella remains grounded, witty and the exhilarating highs along with devastating lows which follow made me want to be a part of her eclectic circle of family and friends who take life as it is, flaws, mistakes, and joys. Well worth a credit.

7 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Ugh

I kept wondering why people reviewed that they couldn't finish this book. It was plodding and simplistic, but easy, kind of like eating oatmeal. But then the last hour came along and it was absolutely infuriating. The lead character Stella was a complete and utter idiot. I started to wonder if she was brain damaged the way she took insult after insult, injustice after injustice like a pod person.

And even with the happy ending I don't think Stella Sweeney did ANYTHING over the course of the entire novel except respond badly to incursions into her life. She had no drive, no talent, no vision for her future. And everything good that came her way including her relationship with Mannix was a head scratcher. She treated him like crap throughout, though he was only one that even remotely liked her. He was a very two dimensional character we could've gotten his dialogue by shaking a magic 8 ball.

I think the author meant to show this as an exploration of karma. But this novel was about fatalistism and inertia and low self esteem.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Self-Sab Bitter Single Woman Feels Sad

The book drew me in right away, but proved to be incredibly disappointing. The lack of depth and character development as the story developed had me rolling my eyes multiple times. Stella Sweeney is uninspiring and aloof, and at no time in the story did I find myself able to identify with her. At every turn she made terrible decisions and was ungrateful for the level of support around her.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Way too long!

I feel like this was 2 books in one. The flashbacks were inconsistent throughout the book. A bit frustrating.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fun and well written

I am originally from Ireland and read her earlier books in my twenties. This is the best. Loved the characters and she kept the suspense going.

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  • carmel
  • melbourne, Australia
  • 03-26-16

Great easy read

Well defined characters, story line easy to follow, even if predictable. A great weekend read

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Not my cup of tea

I really wanted to like this book, but I just didn't care very much about the characters. I was frustrated with a lot of the situations but I don't want to spoil anything about it for anyone reading my review.