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The Day I Died [Paperback]

Polly Courtney
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
RRP: £6.99
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Book Description

14 May 2009

Can you walk away from your own life?

Dark, disturbing and utterly enthralling women’s fiction from a stunning UK talent.

It's 4am, London and a young woman comes to amidst sirens and screams – the result of a bomb that has left utter carnage in its wake. Wearing the remains of a tattered black dress and wrapped in a filthy blanket, she is utterly unaware of where – and more importantly – who she is.

Disorientated by overwhelming feelings of shame and guilt, the woman picks up an abandoned wallet from the gutter and, following her instincts, flees the scene. Escaping on a bus into a remote country village, she adopts the name 'Jo' in place of the identity that still eludes her.

Jo quickly builds herself a new life in the country, finding a job and settling into a new community. But fragmented pieces of her past keep encroaching on her present – from the realisation that she is an alcoholic, to a chance meeting with a man that triggers flashbacks – and Jo is forced to solve the mystery of her own identity.

But as she pieces together her past – and in doing so uncovers some shocking secrets about her old life – can Jo face the truth of who she is really is?

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Product details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (14 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847561500
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847561503
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 17.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 802,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Polly Courtney is author of six novels as well as a regular commentator on TV and radio. She made her name in 2006 with GOLDEN HANDCUFFS, a semi-autobiographical account of life in the Square Mile. Her subsequent page-turners have tackled sexism, racism, lads' mags, fame culture and the wealth divide.

In late 2011, on the publication of her fifth novel, Courtney famously walked out on her publisher, HarperCollins, frustrated by the 'chick lit' covers assigned to her books. She went on to self-publish FERAL YOUTH, a compelling story set during the London riots and told from the perspective of a disenfranchised 15-year-old girl.

Product Description


‘Not your average chick lit!’

About the Author

The publication of Polly Courtney's debut novel, Golden Handcuffs, a fictional exposé of her career in the Square Mile, earned Polly acclaim in the Observer, The Times, Sunday Times, Independent, Guardian, Daily Express, Daily Mail, Evening Standard and many other publications. Aside from writing, Polly works on various sports-related web ventures including Girls in and is a keen footballer who plays for her local team, Old Actonians LFC, in West London. Polly also plays in a semi-professional string quartet, No Strings Attached, an all-girl ensemble that plays all over the UK. She lives in London.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Interesting concept but not based in reality! 18 July 2009
By BusyReader VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Firstly I would not tag this as Chick-Lit.
It is a modern novel with a novel storyline and is engaging with well defined characters, some of whom are quite amusing and likeable, and moves along at a good pace. BUT ... despite an excellent concept, much of what happens is totally unbelievable in the real world.
People that the main character Jo/Rebecca meets are very understanding and trusting and forgive her misdemeanors and rudeness.
Additionally she gains employment without references , is left in charge of cash when she has very recently met people, and, in the case of a job working with children child protection checks.
I think although it is not chick lit it will be a good beach read and despite it's interesting ideas I could not give it more than a 1 for it's implausability .
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good page-turner 10 Aug 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
The premise of this book, a girl wakes up after a blast in London with amnesia, is a fantastic idea and from the beginning I was intrigued to find out about this character and why she felt compelled to run away following the disaster. Inventing a new life, "Jo," finds out via Facebook that her name is Rebecca and slowly begins to piece together her earlier existance. The more she discovers, the more she wonders whether the life she wants is Jo's or Rebecca's.

I found that I read this book really quickly as I wanted to find out more about the protagonist. The main flaw I found is that everything in "The Day I Died" became resolved too easily and everything goes Jo's/Rebecca's way. From housing, jobs, family, friends and love interests, the main character gets her choice and thus it is very unrealistic and implausable. The ups and downs in the plot went of for too long and yet the ending felt abrupt. Although Polly Courtney's novel is far from perfect it was a good light read and I would recommend it to fans of chick-lit who want something with a bit more substance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy read - lacking in depth 26 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book had a great initial lure, can you walk away from your life and start afresh? An idea which must attract a lot of readers. It doesn't however have anything too profound to offer as a conclusion.

I did enjoy it as a page turner, the narrative is fairly unsophisticated and we stay entirely with the main character so that things that happen out of "Jo"s direct experience are presented as events to which she reacts. While this means that the plot is lacking in depth it also means that we go through the slow revelation of Jo's previous life at the same time as she does and this kept me reading. However the final revelations don't live up to the inital promise, Jo is very immature for 24 and the story involves a lot of stunning good luck and unconditional love and forgiveness from at least 3 older female authority figures - with this much love and support freely available when needed its hard to see how she managed to go off the rails in the first place. There are also some very annoying plot servers such as why she has an existing friend's name written on the back of her hand (this serves solely to provide access to her previous life).

Unfortunately this book doesn't entirely deliver either as a thriller or chick lit. The male characters, with the exception of Kyle, are ciphers and provide the usual chick-lit choices, but the minimal romance entirely serves the dramatic development.

Overall an easy, light and disposable holiday read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The 'What if' story that couldnt actually happen 13 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Its 4am and the girl comes too with amnesia at the scene of a bomb in central london in a barely there dress and no shoes being tended to by an ambulance officer, as he get called away to an urgent case the girl makes a break for it, with no idea what shes running from. If the plot hasnt broken plausibility enough for you yet, she luckily finds that the jacket the officer wrapped around her contains a wallet with a large sum of money and a card from which she adopts the identity of 'Jo Simmons', leaving everyone behind her to assume she's dead. Boarding and falling asleep on a night bus she gets off at a town in Oxford and despite her apperance gets mistaken for a new employee in a tea shop and so begins a new life and new identity. As jo struggles to start coming to terms with her the few memories she has and the information that she can aquire though facebook she falls from one place to another, making mistakes and being forgiven relentlessly as she goes. After much (and perhaps the least plausible) deceit she lands a job as an activities worker with venerable children at the home her new and oblivious man interest works at. It starts to look like her new identity could work until her story gets leaked. Not knowing who to trust she continues to stumble between dabbling in her new life and old, torn between wanting to remember and knowing that theres something shes running from. Her two identities are worlds apart and she needs to work out who she wants to be, shes just not doing a very good job of it. The predictable ending therefore doesnt seem quite so much of annoyance as by this point you actually want it to happen that way. Read more ›
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Day I Died
Loved this book would recommend for light reading couldn't put it down. First book I have read from Polly Courtney.
Published 16 months ago by Louise Kingham
1.0 out of 5 stars sorry don't like
Good concept but so full of holes I could not bring myself to give it more than one star. It appears the writer has done little or no research into how things are actually done. Read more
Published 24 months ago by Tracy Sinclair
1.0 out of 5 stars Far too unrealistic
I know that fiction is just that, but this book really pushes it to the limit.

We are supposed to believe firstly that London's night buses spend their days in a depot... Read more
Published on 27 Sep 2012 by Janine Hesp
3.0 out of 5 stars Easy-reading chick lit
I've read a lot of Polly Courtney's books now and have enjoyed them all - she has an easy, pleasing writing style and generally a good handle on what she's writing about. Read more
Published on 24 Sep 2012 by Lavendyr
5.0 out of 5 stars thought provoking
This was a really interesting story, that was incredibly thought provoking for me, I think a lot of poeple at one time or another in their lives wish that they could start all over... Read more
Published on 6 Aug 2012 by Jossie Marie
3.0 out of 5 stars not convinced
I did enjoy the plot hence the 3 stars and had to read it to the end. But the inconsistencies and lack of proper research spoilt it for me. Read more
Published on 12 Mar 2012 by Catherine Byrne
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting if slightly unbelievable
I rather enjoyed this book - I found the idea of having no memories and trying to forge a new life for yourself original, if a little unbelievable. Read more
Published on 26 April 2011 by T. Wahaid
3.0 out of 5 stars Good idea, but let down by the execution
The Day I Died is a story about a woman, Jo, who is knocked unconscious in a bomb explosion and suffers from amnesia when she comes round. Read more
Published on 21 April 2011 by TheLibrarian
2.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a let down!
Having read the blurb to this and the front page, I was really intrigued and really couldn't wait to get stuck in. Read more
Published on 1 April 2011 by Bookworm
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring
I felt like throwing this book accross the room after about the third page but perservered until the end, which felt like several lifetimes. Read more
Published on 8 Sep 2010 by D. Mcmahon
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