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on 21 February 2010
This book is just brillant. Bought it on Wednesday, finished it 12 hrs later. Perfectly captures the misery of daily life at 302 lbs. Well written, a page-turner, you just have to keep reading to see if Gooch comes back. Read it!
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 15 March 2010
Lori Lansens story of a woman from Ontario - an obese woman, childless in her mid-forties, whose husband has left her on the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary - is an unflinching look at how people can endure heartbreak and emerge altered on the other side. Mary Gooch has eaten her way through her life, piling on the pounds along with the disappoints that have come her way. Two miscarriages, a hysterectomy, the death and illness of her parents, and the passionless marriage to her handsome husband. Her husband's not a wretched brute but rather a man who's disappointed with the limitations of his life. He yearns to see the world outside his small Ontario town, but is constrained by his wife, who doesn't want to leave the relative comfort of that town. Both live in quiet desperation, loving each other but unwilling and unable to communicate their pain.

Jim Gooch just up and leaves Ontario one day. He sends his devastated wife Mary a short note, saying he'd won some money in the lottery, and is off to try to discover just what he does want. Mary traces him to his estranged mother's house in suburban Los Angeles and she gets on a plane - for the first time in her life - to see if she can find him. He has deposited $25,000 in her bank account, so she has some money. Alone in the San Fernando Valley, Mary makes friends and begins to live her own life. She also loses the voracious appetite that has dogged her her entire life. As Mary makes the transition - both in body and spirit - we follow along.

Lansens is such a good writer that no one comes out the villain in the story. She works with the nuances in her characters' lives and they are all flawed, but interesting people. This story is really good.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 14 March 2011
Set in the same location as her popular novel "the girls" this is a story about a journey one woman takes to find her missing husband and discover her own inner strengths.

Mary is greatly overweight, having spent life battling the "Obeast" her rather obsessive personality makes her real and easy to realte to for those of us who aren't perfect. Having found friendhsips difficult and life a battle, she finds the sudden freedom of having her husband walk out on her with no warning, a terrifying event and one to which she has little idea of how to react.

Journey with her and enjoy the fabulously real characters Lansens creates, including the eponymous Mary who is, in many ways, larger than life.
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on 14 March 2010
I loved this book. It takes a few pages to work out where this story might go but I couldn't put it down. Well written and quite different from my usual choice of novel. Anyone who's been there will empathise and anyone who hasn't will gain an insight into the life of someone with an unhealthy obsession with food. I would definitely look for more novels by Lori Lansens
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on 13 August 2013
I love all Lori Lansen's books. The characters are well written and you can believe in them. i didn't want to put this down. Her will to self destruct is totally in character with someone who has eaten themselves to this size and you can only feel sympathy with someone who is destroying their life in this way. It is very understandable why her husband left her. You know he didn't want to and he lover her but he could not get on with life while she refused to do anything or to believe he loved her. A book with a lot to think about.
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on 16 August 2011
I know it's got good reviews here but I thought it was the most mind numbingly dreary read i have had in a long time! I have read 'The Girls' by the same author and enjoyed it and expected this to be fun from the picture on the cover but I found it boring, dull and the main character Mary annoying and would have loved to give her a shake out of her reverie. There is no depth to the story and flits over issues in a shallow manner. Even when she decides to take off after her husband the people she meets along the way are all a bit unreal and just don't ring true for me. It was one of those books that i should have given up half way through but even though I found it boring then i persevered to the end and I really wish i hadnt wasted my time.
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on 2 June 2013
I absolutely loved this book. I wasn't sure that I would from the blurb and the first few pages, but I was soon sucked into the tale of Mary's life. The writing is remarkable in that it is so well done you it is no effort at all to be taken through some tough issues including obesity, drug addiction, terminal illness... It is a very uplifting book and I found myself thinking about it for some time after finishing it. I read The Girls some time ago but did not find it quite as absorbing as this tale.

Yes, I can see why some people found Mary to be frustrating, but I found her to be sympathetically written and one of life's true gentle souls. Her emergence as her own person as she steps out of the shadow of her husband and marriage is fascinating and I couldn't put the book down towards the end. I enjoyed it so much that I have already lined up Rush Home Road to read next. Definitely recommended.
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on 1 November 2010
I loved this book from the first page. While there was no mystery how this tale would end up, it was beautifully written and I really enjoyed the journey!
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on 3 September 2010
Gosh,Ive read so many contemporary literature books and, it`s hard for the storyline to be new.Well this storyline,isnt unique but i really enjoyed it.If you understand and like books that are about feelings/reflections but nothing else much happens ,you will love this,just like i did,as it is well observered .
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on 22 April 2013
I had read 'The Girls' before and thought the story was wonderful so well written on such an unusual subject. I am only half way through this but am really enjoying the story, again clever writing on a somewhat sensitive subject, I would definately buy another of Lori Lansens books as I love her style of writing, she doesn't pull any punches but you can connect with the characters and really care what happens to them. Not to give too much away - the story is of a very overwieght lady who's been married to her handsome husband for 25 years who 'seems' to have left her although the mystery of why and how she has yet to discover, I can't wait to find out.
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