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310
4.1 out of 5 stars
The Man Who Forgot His Wife
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 18 February 2013
This was chosen for a book group that I attend and I'm so glad that it was because it's not one that I would have chosen for myself. The concept, a man who loses all of his personal memories but can function well in a world that he doesn't remember and who can remember everything that has happened since the onset of his amnesia, is extemely thought provoking. The writing is superb. John O'Farrell has a deceptively laconic style, accurately picking up on our many foibles and failings (as you'd expect from one of the leading lights of 'Spitting Image'). There are many laugh out loud moments as well as poignant ones. A hugely enjoyable read even if only taken at face value.
However, it made me think long and hard about the question of identity, our perception of how others might see us and what effect that has on shaping us as individuals. For example, would we make the same decisions in life if we were free from the expectations and prejudices of others?
Four stars rather than five only because it did have a couple of weak points for me as far as believability was concerned.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2013
I found this story original, thought-provoking and with an underlying message of love, loss and how tedious the petty things in life can be and how they can escalate and destroy the more valuable things in our lives. Thoroughly enjoyable read and sadly it flew by so quickly. I laughed, cried and laughed some more. Great stuff !!!
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109 of 116 people found the following review helpful
VINE VOICEon 28 March 2012
I read this book right after reading Before I Go To Sleep, which if you've read it is the (slightly melodramatic) tale of a woman who loses all her memories each night and has to rely on a journal she writes each day to relearn who to trust. It's a serious thriller and pretty good. This is, in some ways, the opposite. The hero of our tale is Vaughan who awakens on a train in London to find he has no idea who he is. Unlike the protagonist of Before I Go To Sleep, Vaughan doesn't have the annoying habit of forgetting everything each night and the novel is clearly written to entertain. So unlike BIGTS, we don't care about consistency too much - just enjoy the ride.

And it's a great ride. It transpires that Vaughan was just about to get divorced from his wife Maddie. But of course since he can't remember anything about their marriage, he's really attracted to her and can't understand why she hates him. Other characters who help him regain some semblance of normality include his best friend (the useless Gary and his wife Linda), Vaughan's father, parents-in-law and children. As he gradually regains his memories of life with Maddie and her children, he starts to understand why they drifted apart and vows to win her back and be a better man.

What I enjoyed about this book was that it combined some excellent comedy (there are many laugh-out loud moments - for anyone who has read it my favourite was the reaction of the American woman who loses a wall in a car accident - Very clever!) with a caring discourse on middle age, marriage and life in general. When we get to our forties how satisfied are we with what we have? If we had no memory of it all would we think it was great? It raises some serious issues about personality and relationships, but keeps things light enough to enjoy without becoming too depressed. And O'Farrell keeps the plot twisting sufficiently to easily maintain our attention.

This deserves to be read by a lot of people, perhaps not just middle-aged people, but I think anyone who has been or is middle aged will appreciate it most. but don't let me put you younger people off - it's simply an extremely well executed book and I highly recommend it. I'll certainly seek out his other books after reading this. 5 stars, nothing less.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 9 May 2013
Unusual title that draws you in. Immediately likeable main character. Brilliant one-liners and humorous concepts.Ups and downs of plot riveting and you do not know if it it all will pan out by the end. Ending not predictable and it leaves you guessing to the last page. At the same time its emotional roller-coaster rides strike home and involve you deeper and deeper. Extremely worthwhile read - fast and entertaining from beginning to end. This book was bought as a birthday present for a friend because I had to return the original to its owner - what better recommendation can you give than that? Definitely the best of John O'Farrell's books.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 6 July 2012
This was the second book written by John O'Farrell I have read on my Kindle, the first being "May contain Nuts". I found this first book extremely funny and light-hearted and I enjoyed it immensely. The Man who Forgot his Wife however dealt with a far more serious subject and highlighted the courage and humour that the principal character displayed in the face of great adversity in losing his memory, and although the situation he found himself in was far from amusing, the subject matter was dealt with great delicacy and humour throughout. I would certainly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 26 February 2014
An excellent book. Easy to read, Humorous in parts yet has depth and meaning. One is drawn in to Vaughn's life and his situation. It presents an interesting perspective on something we take for granted and the changes that can occur in life and relationships without our knowing nor understanding.
Not only is this about a man, Vaughn , who forgot his wife, and everything else personal to him, but the story makes you realise how we forget ourselves and those around us. It helps us to reflect upon who we were before we became who we are, and why we are who we are.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A man on a train realises that he has absolutely no idea who he is, where he is, where he was going or why, or where he came from. What to do? After panicking for a while, he ends up at a hospital where they study him as an intriguing specimen for a week until a random name triggers a memory of someone, who turns out to be his best friend. Said best friend (Gary) turns up at the hospital and rescues said hospital specimen (Vaughan) and takes him home. There, Vaughan finds out that he was apparently in the process of being about to divorce his wife; in fact, their final hearing for divorce was this week.

An amusing light read, this book discovers what happens when a man believes he has been given another chance to create his life; this time, can he get it right, and will he end up with the woman? There’s some wit in this story, and it’s not a difficult read by any means; a light, engaging and gently humourous read about a slice of (arguably a rather unlikely) life of one man and his search for his own identity.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2013
..humorous and thought provoking, I've enjoyed every chapter! Most couples should relate to these experiences...and take note, or at least laugh about the journey!
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 8 November 2012
Im not very good with reviews. Just wanted to say that I loved this book, I couldn't put it down. I read it in two days as I was so desperate to find out what had happened and why.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 14 November 2013
touchingly and amusingly written. I will look for more by this author. A good style and pace to the story
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