Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Woman Who Stole My Life

In The Woman Who Stole My Life, Marian Keyes delivers a warm and positive--at times hilarious--read about the effects of serious illness.

The story is told by charming and chatty, Stella Sweeney--age "forty-one and a quarter"--and the account of what happened when she was a 37 year-old Irish beautician; the wife of a "successful but creatively unfulfilled" bathroom designer; and mother of two rebellious teenagers. Stella's life was humbly ordinary until a strange illness overtook her, making her paralyzed and mute. The diagnosis, Guillain-Barre syndrome--a rare, yet usually temporary, autoimmune disorder--attacks the nervous system. Stella, mentally attentive, remained confined to an I.C.U. The only way she could communicate was via blinking, and the only person who understood her was her handsome neurologist, Dr. Mannix Taylor. During her long hospital stay, the two bond and share intimate details about their lives.

After her arduous recovery, an American tabloid publishes a photo of the Vice-President's wife reading a self-help book called One Blink at a Time—Stella's story, complete with clever, stoic aphorisms she spouted during her ordeal. Stella is surprised to learn it was self-published, behind her back, by dreamy Dr. Taylor. The exposure brings Stella instant international fame and fortune—and the possibility of new love. But at what price?

Keyes (The Mystery of Mercy Close) depicts the realities of illness for the patient and all involved.  Her comic take on Stella's journey--coupled with her distinctive brand of humor and wit--showcases her imagination in top form.

The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes
Viking, $27.95 Hardcover, 9780525429258, 464 pp
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
To order this book via INDIEBOUND link HERE

Note: This review is a reprint and is being posted (in a slightly different form) with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (7/24/15), link HERE