What on earth is the matter with her? From childhood through to adulthood, Martha is renowned for her spikiness. To be honest, even though there is wit and charm, she is just plain difficult. Even her husband Patrick, who has loved her since he was fourteen, can't seem to make her happy.
Narrated by Martha and laced with a vein of dark humour, this is a poignant story with clever writing that sensitively handles the complex realities of mental illness, from the sorrow to the bliss and everything in between.
This book turned out to be quite beautiful, sad but not depressing, tempered by the author's wonderful ironic humour and understanding of the human spirit. It was amazing how much in-depth discussion and sharing emerged from it.
Sad but also witty, thought-provoking and well-written.
A terrific discussion by our group - most knew of someone who had similar "symptoms". Some humour lifted the novel.
Difference in opinion around the fact that the mental illness was not actually named. Well-written, although most would not recommend it. Really appreciated the different characters and what they brought to the story.
The group was really conflicted about this book! Some really connected with the portrayal of mental health issues and the message around who is a victim of a person's mental illness. Others found the humour jarring and the main character frustrating.
The word "enjoy" didn't arise in our discussion, but most members felt that they gained more understanding about the impacts of mental illness - both on the individual, and also their family and friends. Certainly a thought provoking read.
A mixed reaction to this book, most enjoyed it, some loved it, others were frustrated with the author for failing to resolve one crucial detail. Most enjoyed her writing style and humour, although several found the main character irritating at times - although conceded this might have been a deliberate ploy by the author to highlight the difficulties of coping with people with mental illnesses.
Some struggled to get into this book.
One person in our group loved it. The rest thought it was well-written but depressing.
Slightly mixed reviews. Beautifully written, and a real insight to mental health. Most were impatient with Martha's destructive behaviour.
The whole bookclub LOVED this book and it generated a big discussion about mental health.
Five of our group chose not to finish. Two enjoyed it ( though not 'raving' about it). The other three did not enjoy it.
Some in the group didn't like the book, but it did prompt interesting discussion on depression and mental illness. We all agreed it gave a better insight and perspective from the main character's point of view.
Group thought the book was over-hyped and disappointing.
Our group members are between 55-77. Some found themselves frustrated with the narcissism and self-absorption of Martha. Some were frustrated with the diagnosis name. All enjoyed the prose and writing style. The minority found it funny, but most found it miserable.