on 17 March 2014
Gina Bellamy has been through a lot in her young life and just when things seem to be on the mend her marriage succumbs under the pressure of finding happiness. Ironically, without the struggles and the need for her husband and herself to lean on one another there's little left between the two of them to sustain their relationship. So after years of sharing home and life with another person, Gina suddenly finds herself on her own. Starting from scratch in a tiny apartment she decides to truly start afresh and only keep hold of a hundred important things - a hundred pieces of herself.
While the initial reason behind Gina purging her belongings is a sad moment in her life, it forces her to reflect on all the things she's accumulated over the years and discover what's truly important. Not only that, but by doing so she comes to cherish some items more so than before and she manages to surround herself with what really brings her joy and happiness (that and necessities such as underwear of course - there are some things we are too spoiled to live without!).
Gina is a strong and inspirational woman, who has overcome so much to get where she is now. It was a joy to read about her growing as an individual within the novel, and her unexpected and unlikely friendship with Buzz was a welcome heart-warming addition to what could've otherwise been a desolate and depressing story of a woman struggling to find happiness. The only thing I disliked with a passion is how the novel ended. I can understand from a storytelling point of view that this was where Gina's path would lead her to, but she had already been through so much and she is such a wonderful person that I wanted nothing more for her than find love, health and happiness.
I did however really like the idea behind A Hundred Pieces of Me. Gina's journey, as she was sorting through her belongings one box at a time, was a fascinating one and I learned a lot along the way about myself as well. In my head I started to make a list of the things I would keep were I forced to downsize and whilst doing so I quickly came to realise that even though I am a big hoarder and find it difficult to let go of things, in the end there are few that truly matter. While tough to take the first step to such a big clear-out, I imagine it to be very satisfying and liberating too. After all, if you surround yourself with things that make you happy then logically thinking you would be happy too.
This is a story of starting over and coming closer to yourself. In our life we take a lot of things and luxuries for granted, but not until our eyes are forcibly opened do we usually see what's truly important and where our focus should lie. So imagine yourself in Gina's shoes, what hundred things in your life would you keep?
on 10 April 2014
I received a copy of this book from the publishers via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.
Gina Bellamy is at a crossroads in her life. She has just split from her husband Stu, in addition to recovering from breast cancer. On moving into her new rented flat she becomes overwhelmed by the amount of ‘stuff’ she has in her life – material possessions that, she realises with a jolt, she doesn’t really need. So Gina decides to rid herself off all of her possession apart from a hundred things that actually mean something to her. However as she goes on with her sorting she gains things she wasn’t expecting: a new pet; new friends; and a new outlook on life.
I loved the idea of this book. It made me think that although I am aware of what is important in my life, perhaps I don’t need all the possessions I have accumulated over the years. There were some aspects of Gina that I liked, her determination to shed herself of unnecessary things and to move on. Yet other things annoyed me slightly, the need to move on being tempered by Gina holding on to an incident in the past, and the burden of blame she carried with it, for example.
This is a story of recovery and self discovery. It is a tale that is sad, happy, melancholic and uplifting. It is not a ’love story’ in the usual sense but in truth it is for Gina learns to love her self and the important things around her. Gina, whilst organising the physical aspects of her life also ‘declutters’ her psychological outlook. By letting go of the past she learns to live in the present, a lesson we can all perhaps learn from.
on 12 March 2014
I love Lucy Dillon books and had been eagerly awaiting the new one. I was delighted when my pre-order appeared on my kindle.
As usual the author captures human emotions so cleverly in words. Her characters are really three dimensional and you feel their pain and elation along with them. The novel deals with the main character coping with breast cancer which is a tough subject to tackle, but handled very well without becoming maudlin.
The concept of the 100 objects was an interesting one, although I did find the going backwards and forwards in time affected the flow of the book and I found it a little irritating, although I would agree that it is an effective mechanism for the slow reveal of Gina's life and the understanding of what brought her to this point. It also makes you think about what your own 100 "pieces of you" would be.
I felt that Lucy Dillon's writing had reached a new maturity in this latest work. However I am not sure that I liked it as much as her earlier novels. I felt that Nick's relationship breakdown was a little too convenient and unrealistic nor was Gina's ex-husband as convincing a character as I have come to expect from this author. Without spoiling the storyline, I found that the book suddenly rushed to the ending after it's quite slow pace and, although I can understand why the author chose to leave it at this point, I was left feeling a little let down. Maybe it is me just wanting everything to be neatly packaged when I escape into fiction land.
If you were new to Lucy Dillon's writing, I would suggest that you read one of her other novels like "Walking Back to Happiness" before reading "A Hundred Pieces of Me".
I feel quite ashamed to admit that I have a few of Lucy's books on my bookshelves still waiting to be read. However after this lovely read I shall hunt them out and give them the attention they deserve.
Gina Bellamy has been through an awful lot in her life, including the death of her father when she was only a child, surviving a life threatening illness and now a marriage breakdown. Newly single and having to move into a much smaller flat, she is horrified at the huge amount of boxes of possessions she has and decides to drastically downsize by keeping only 100 items which are precious to her. Throughout the story we are given insight into Gina's memories by way of flashback, including those of her childhood and first love - right up to her marriage. This is a very clever way of including Gina's back story whilst keeping the narrative flowing. There is no particular order to these chapters but it doesn't matter at all as I soon became immersed in Gina's life and her memories.
Gina was wonderfully well drawn with depth and warmth and I took to her immediately. She was surrounded by a supporting cast of very strong and extremely likeable characters, including Nick the co-owner of the house that she was helping to restore, Rachel who ran the charity shop opposite her flat and, in particular, Naomi who was everything that a best friend should be. One of the aspects of this story that I found particularly moving was the affirmation of the value and importance of friendship.
Lucy Dillon has written a story that is both heartwarming and thought provoking. With each box of possessions that Gina clears, she has to face the regret and heartbreak of past events - all are memories which she must deal with in order to be able to move forward with her life. Buzz, the abandoned greyhound was a wonderful addition to the story and I fell in love with him straight away! There was just the lightest touch of romance which helped to make this a moving but uplifting read and one that I highly recommend.
As a bit of a hoarder myself, I envied Gina's willpower to dispose of unnecessary possessions - I think I should take a leaf out of her book and get myself some boxes!
I need to firstly talk about the STUNNING cover for A Hundred Pieces Of Me, it is absolutely beautiful and eye-catching and when I first held the book I could not stop staring at it! I think this is one of my favourite book covers of the year so far!
After going through some very tough times, Gina Bellamy finds that she is starting all over again, but everything that she owns and has treasured for so long doesn’t seem to fit her current life and who she is now. With that in mind, Gina makes a resolution to keep just a hundred special items, and let the rest go. So begins sorting her items, which means both facing the past and learning to embrace her future…
Oh how I LOVED this book, I wish I could pick it up and hold it tight and never let go, this is how much I enjoyed it.
I really liked the idea of selecting a hundred items, in fact after reading this book it made me sit and think and really consider the items that I own and the significance of them to me. I particularly loved how these objects aren’t just items, but as the title of the book suggests, they are PIECES of you, and each item has a memory.
I really liked Gina, she is so likeable and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know her over the course of the book. Gina is such a brave character and after all that she had been through I so desperately wanted her to have the life and happiness that she wanted. And I lobe that she is supporting by a wonderful selection of friends.
Lucy Dillon is an incredible amazing storyteller. Her words are almost like poetry, and she effortlessly weaves these items in with not only Gina’s present, but with her past through the use of flashbacks and memories, and what we get is a truly stunning story full of life, hope, heartbreaking moments, and also love. Ever since I finished A Hundred Pieces Of Me I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it and this story has really touched me. I don’t want to spoil what is a truly brilliant story but I urge anyone reading this to purchase it and lose yourself in this emotional and BEAUTIFULLY written novel.
on 19 April 2014
Review: oh what a gorgeous book. I haven't actually read anything by this author before, despite having a couple of her novels sitting on my shelves but I was recommended this book so many times by other bloggers and other authors that I knew I had to pick it up. I ended up listening to this on audiobook and found myself making excuses to listen at any opportunity it was so compelling and I needed to find out what was going to happen next. It was one of those novels that I really struggled to describe to someone as I was reading it, but I love something like that that doesn't conform to a particular mould or form!
First of all let me rave about Gina because she is such a special character. She has been knocked down again and again and again. She has been in an unhappy marriage, she has a difficult relationship with her mother she is struggling to buck against the stereotype that she has of a survivor and yet that is exactly what she is, a survivor. Someone who makes the very best of herself, by herself, she accepts help from others and yet does things by herself and for herself, she had decided to make herself happy, something which more of us should definitely be trying to do, be happy for ourselves by ourselves!
Her best friend, Naomi is also an amazingly strong female and is a pillar of strength for Gina even if she doesn't realise it. She is written as the kind of best friend that all of us would want to have, just a little bit more outgoing and more straight talking that your average girly girl! Gina's ex is, of course, a character we kind of love to hate, but you also feel sympathy for him and I think Gina did too. Her relationship with her mother develops over the course of the novel and there is a very interesting couple that Gina works with, developing their house and gaining more than just a couple of business clients!
The storyline jumps back and forth between present day and flashbacks to Gina's past but it is so well-written that you never feel confused as to what era you are in. The writing is truly beautiful, full of wonderful descriptive phrases and by the end of the book, i felt as if the house she was developing was actually mine! There's a gorgeous dog for you to fall in love with as well and whilst reading about him, I felt I could actually see him sitting in front of me and see the pain in his eyes-aww!
This is truly a novel to help you appreciate what you have and make you evaluate whether the material possessions in your life are anywhere near as important as the relationships that you have. This book is far from a downer though, it is full of moments of pure joy and will motivate you to seize the day, so to speak. This is a unique book and something which everyone should make space in their reading piles for!
on 27 April 2014
Loved every word of this book about GINA and her life past and present.Her story is told in both the present and flashbacks to different stages of her life.We hear about her first love,her marriage /divorce and her illness.OK she had an unlucky life and some may feel the author pushed too many "emotional" buttons but its still well done.
It is superior chick lit.Thougthful and interesting.I gobbled it up like a huge chocolate bar.
I liked it better than ONE DAY or ME BEFORE YOU--these books are mentioned on the cover of this book to tempt you to read it.
I found it hard to put down.
on 21 March 2014
Having never read a Lucy Dillon book before I wonder how I could have missed out on this superb writer. The main character Gina reminded me of myself in places - wondering when her real life will begin as her current life is full of disappointment (in her opinion). As she moves from a large house to a tiny flat she decides that she need to de-clutter her life by only keeping the 100 items that most fill her with joy. This turns into a mamouth task as each chapter focuses on a specific item and takes her back to different periods in her life.
You realise that her ex-husband was not really the love of her life as she remembers back to her first love when she was at school. As you read, the story of their romace is slowly revealed. Also as Gina throws herself back into work she gets to work on renovating her house of dreams and meets Nick and Amanda the new owners. Her best friend Naomi is a dream and I want her as my best friend too!! Their relationship is full of love and support and this shines through in the writing.
Finally and the little gem of this story is Buzz the greyhound who is a bit like the animal equivalent of Gina at the start of the book (scared, un-sure and un-able to quite trust). Gradually the dog wins Gina over and likewise her affection for this mistreated greyhound gives his life new hope as they bond.
Well I'm not going to give away any spoilers other than to say that you should definately give this book a read and maybe it will help you de-clutter your life and instead live for those precious happy moments.
A Hundred Pieces of Me is my first book by Lucy Dillon. The stunning cover and unique synopsis pulled me in for this one and I’m so glad it did because this was an absolute gem of a book!
A Hundred Pieces of Me is a simple story in plot. It’s about Gina a woman who has been dealt more than her fair share of sadness in life. But being a breast cancer survivor she knows she is luckier than most and looks at the recent separation from her husband as a chance at a fresh start. The book follows Gina’s new beginning as she leaves her old life behind and just keeps one hundred special items to build her new future with.
It’s Gina’s character that keeps you turning the pages. Gina leads a small but precious life. Her life has not turned out quite how she imagined it would with great loves and opportunities lost. I loved how real Gina’s story felt. It isn’t one of whirlwind romances, endless possibilities and joy but it isn’t a bleak and depressing read either. Instead Gina’s story has a quiet happiness to it and a longing for something more which is how I think most of us feel about our lives.
We get to know Gina incredibly well as we follow her in the present day but also get glimpses of her past as she sorts through her belongings and we see the memories attached to them and why they’re important to her. I loved experiencing the highs and lows of Gina’s life from childhood to where she is now. This book really made me think of my own cherished belongings and why they’re important as the book raises the question is it the object itself that we love? Or rather what the item represents and the feeling it gives? In many ways this book is about leaving our mark on the world and how we cling on to happy memories by having physical reminders of them around us.
Beautiful, hopeful, thoughtful and moving A Hundred Pieces of Me is a book about letting go of the past, not worrying about the future and grabbing the present with both hands. I was emotionally rapt from start to finish and believe that this gorgeous novel will propel author Lucy Dillon to new heights.
on 9 March 2014
I found A Hundred Pieces of Me to be a slow burner book. It didn't have me totally and utterly hooked from the first page, but it did interest me and I thought the concept was very clever. It wasn't until quite a way into the book that I became hooked.
Each chapter begins with a flash back to some time in Gina's past. It doesn't really seem to follow any particular pattern, but it moves almost too seamlessly between the past and the present. I did catch myself occasionally thinking "right, which era am I reading about now" but after a while it becomes second nature and it works amazingly well.
I loved Gina (inspirational), I loved Buzz (heartbreakingly cautious), I loved Willow (adorable!) and I loved Nick (why isn't he in my life)!!!
The story is life affirming, it's inspirational and hopefully will make you want to live life to the full. Towards the end of the book, the scene between Gina and her mother had me sobbing!
I'm not entirely honest how I feel about the end. For the book, and the message that the book conveys, it is perfect. But part of me was disappointed not to know more. There are loose ends which are very much not tied up. However, having looked at the other reviews on Amazon, I notice that Lucy Dillon has a habit of revisiting loved characters in her future books to check in on them and see how they're getting on (I hadn't read a Lucy Dillon book previously so didn't know this). I hope more than anything, that Gina features (happily) in a future book!