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3.7 out of 5 stars18
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 20 February 2009
So the author gets married, gives her husband a hard time about pretty much everything, and then he leaves her.

You think she might then start to examine what she might learn from this E.g. Try not to be cruel; lose your temper; diss his friends however suburban; think the worst of him all the time. However, instead she continues in the same vein as when she was married and somehow blames the whole business on him.

The lack of self-awareness and selfishness that comes across is quite hard to stomach.
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on 30 January 2014
But has she gone too far? After having this book on my shelf since last century I picked it up recently thinking it would be a quick read and found I got hooked by it. It was something of a retro read as I began to think what I was doing back in 1995. As I read through the book I was struck by how honest Kathryn was about her life and her relationship; painfully so. This is Kathryn’s perspective only on meeting, marrying and splitting up with her husband, all in the space of less than three years. It seems clear to me that she simply got swept away by a guy she really didn’t know that well at all and who later on saw her as a complete stranger in their marriage. I can’t help thinking that she was in love with the idea of marriage and rushed into it, particularly after the disasters she recounted before meeting Eric, at the first sign of what looked to be serious intentions. She just wanted to settle down. I wasn’t aware at the beginning that this was a serialised column in the Observer in the same way as Liz Jones’s Diary – which I find very irritating and self-indulgent - and I do have some sympathy for Eric in that he found himself being written about regularly. But far more sympathy is reserved for Kathryn. She was treated very badly by an immature commitment-phobe (though he did go on to remarry and have three children, and is still with the younger wife as far as I am aware). So – did he grow up, or did he simply meet the right woman at last? He seemed to play around with both his first two wives’ emotions. I thought sending dead roses on Valentine’s Day a very odd thing to do, and some of the revelations about Eric were a little embarrassing. It was a very painful story and I felt it was well written, honest and just verging on the side of oversharing.
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on 4 November 2006
So Kathryn Flett is in a relationship for less than 2 years. It breaks down. Big deal. Not content with keeping a very private matter private, the author documents her version of events in her weekly newspaper column. Still not satisfied with this she turns it into a book so we all get to witness her self indulgence.

Am I being too harsh? Yes, quite probably. But no harsher than the writer in question. The fact is, dispite Ms. Flett's "honest" documentation of the breakdown of her marriage I found very little about the writer herself to sympathise with. Throughout the book she constantly reveals petty, middle-class snobberies and pretensions - case in point, her derision of her husband's friends (a married couple) for living a small-town, middle class suburban life style - as opposed to what? Her own cosmopolitan, Harrod's-shopping, label-worshipping, holiday-hopping, therapy-seeking one?

Throughout the book all we get is constant criticisms of a certain life-style and continuous comparisons to her own far more fashionable and therefore far worthier one as she would like to have us believe. It gets tedious after a while. And this is the reason why I found it so difficult to sympathise, let alone empathise, with the writer.

We find out much later in the book that, surprise surprise, there are links to her current circumstances with her childhood upbringing. And, shock horror, she was a product of inadequate parenting (ie her parents were crap at being parents). Welcome to life.

The fact remains that Ms. Flett comes across as shallow and self-absorbed with few likeable qualities. I ended up feeling quite sorry for her husband - who wants to be publically humiliated? And not once but twice. She indicated that writing about the breakup in her newspaper column was one of the things that kept her going. So what was her excuse for publishing a book out of it?

No, I don't like this sort of one-sided, confessional literature of the often over-privileged that serves no purpose other than to wreak revenge by humiliation of a third party. And of course to give us voyeuristic readers something to either empathise with or to loath.

Dispite being urged by several friends to read this "fantastic" book, I found the whole thing rather distasteful and am glad that I can now hand back the book and stop thinking about Kathryn Flett's hideously selfish public display of self-indulgance.
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on 9 October 2008
I found this book an almost entertaining read. I did not expect it to be a fair and un-biased account of a divorce. It wasn't. It turned out to be a pretty run-of-the-mill break-up story. Run of the mill in that Ms Flett seemed to fall into the trap that so many women do, caught up in a impossibly perfect romance, going along with the romantic dream of getting married, tries to change the man, man leaves. Yawn. At times I felt empathy with the author, but it was quickly distinguished whenever she let rip with one of her cringe-worthy snobbish comments. "Can we never do that again?" was her comment to Eric after he had taken her to meet his friends who had committed that most heinous crime of deciding to live in the suburbs. Is it any wonder he had second thoughts? She berates Eric for wanting to live in a trendy part of town, then slags his friends off because they are the opposite! What does this woman want? Maybe someone who has exactly her opinions, mind set, and predjudices, moulded into a male version of herself. I can't imagine why she ever wanted to get married. In the end I found it a bit laughable towards the end. Ironically this was the bit where we were supposed to feel sorry for her I think! Worth reading but not exactly heart rending.
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on 22 June 2011
I read this so long ago but I promised that I would always leave it on my list of books for a desert isalnd. I'm a gentleman in his early to mid 40s (going on age 3-to-anywhere-but-40ish) and this book moved me deeply. Maybe it was where I was at a snapshot of time. But maybe, given all these reviews, it's that the world is just divided between the eternal cynics or the people who have forgotten how to feel anything - and those who still have enough heart left to care - age batters you into closing off everything that makes you feel let alone think (at least if it doesn't suport some antagonistic prejudice or other). Oh God I am rambling and making comments and typos that should be left for late night drinks with those you care about - (which is of course for some of us not born vampyres everyone - Oh Mr Salinger!). So this goes with me in my "selfish story" as an important treasure - and I too wanted to write to Miss Flett just as I look for the ghosts in the baseball field, the House that Beebo Built, the Catcher in the Rye annd Ms Mcgovern in Once Upona Time in America. I belive(d) this story had integrity. And that's the key for loving it and passing it on to others as one albeit tiny but rich piecce of the tapesty of life.
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on 13 August 2000
I had high expectations of this book but found Ms Flett's account of the breakdown of her marriage very self absorbed. She had the benefit of not only a presumably very expensive therapist but also an astrologer. In the real world, people do not have such luxuries. I expected a heart wrenching tale of how one comes to terms with a new life, not a surreal story from a ... girl licking her wounds in Bali and Africa. I wonder how Ms Flett would have fared if she had had to live on £50.00 per week and support a family...
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on 17 August 1999
I cannot begin to imagine as to why Kathryn Flett would want to write this book!!! Unfortunately I was abroad on holidays & had nothing else to read in english, so with each agonising page after page I read this book I found myself wondering as to why poor Eric actually stuck it out for 17 months.
I think she should have spent more time at her therapist rather than writing this book & putting us , the public through the sheer agony of having to read about all her insecurities and emotional baggage and which (even more annoyingly) in the end she figures out what any intelligent mature female with a brain bigger than a pea has known all along -that some men are just not destined for lifelong monogamy & rather than trying to bully some poor bloke into a house / lifestyle, which he is just so obviously ill-suited for, she should have just given up & saved herself the trouble & not to mention saving the poor public parting with their hard earned money.
.. Good luck Ms Flett as you so obviously need it!
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on 8 May 2011
I enjoyed Flett's book from the 1990s very much. Moving in much the same world at that time, though not at such an elevated level (I was having babies) made the context very familiar and I was wondering who everyone was. The rushing to a breakdown at the end after an intense but ultimately unsatisfying rebound relationship was particularly moving, with brief details of several unsatisfactory parenting experiences to explain why some of us see love as so precious, that when it breaks, we break. Now I want to know very much what happened next, and how many more times 'Eric' married and dumped successive women. <goes off to find out>
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on 17 August 2013
I read this book when first published and accidentally threw it out. So this is my second copy and yes I cried again. A very frank account of when love hurts.
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on 19 June 2000
A compelling book- and a tragic story. I literally couldn't put it down until it was finished although I was strangely left wondering what was happening in Kathryn Flett's life now as I felt I had been a fly on the wall through a depressing and very personal account of her marriage breakdown. People have asked why did she write this book-well why shouldn't she if it's an outlet for the grief over a relationship that she hoped would last. When her husband seemed able to move on as if nothing had happened I quite understand her desire to express the hurt she felt. As a true story the book obviously carries more weight than a fictional novel. As I prepare for my wedding this year it has certainly given me some things to think about and as well as being Kathryn Flett's means of ventilating it is certainly a cautionary tale for anyone contemplating serious commitment.
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