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A Life in Men: A Novel Paperback – February 4, 2014
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“A Life in Men is a terrific book, a tender story of friendship, and a frank story of a young woman's adventures with an assortment of oddly funny, violent, and quirky men. It's intense and beautifully written.” ―Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveler's Wife
“Original and fearless . . . A powerful portrait of human connection and individual triumph.” ―People, 3.5 stars out of 4
“Ambitious, heartfelt." ―Nylon
“A beautifully written, fiercely intelligent, and psychologically nuanced portrayal of a friendship cut tragically short, the delicate balance of fate and choice, and the many varieties of love and family that create meaning . . . A Life in Men is a sort of joyous call to action. It will make you look more carefully at the time you have left.” ―The Oregonian
“Frangello’s powerful novel is ambitious, relentless, and entirely unsentimental . . . A work of art.” ―The Boston Globe
“Frangello writes with a clarity into the human condition that allows her to lay bare the countless ways our lives are connected, between us and other people, but more importantly between ourselves and who we were and who we’re becoming . . . The book’s heartbreaking conclusion will leave you feeling you’ve been on the journey with these characters, and all the better for it.” ―The Kansas City Star
“Frangello writes with epic ferocity. She inhabits many countries brilliantly, many characters seamlessly, and a carousel of points of view . . . It takes courage to write a book like this.” ―Chicago Tribune, Printers Row
“A joyful, ambitious novel that is also an adventure traversing three continents, a meditation on love, sex, and, most important, friendship, which can overcome time, distance, and even death.” ―Bonnie Jo Campbell, author of Once Upon a River
“A stunning novel--Frangello’s broken characters live in a world of terror and redemption, of magnificent sadness and beauty.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“In this bravura performance, a quantum creative leap . . . Frangello astutely dissects the quandaries of female sexuality, adoption, terminal illness, and compound heartbreak in a torrent of tough-minded observations, audacious candor, and storytelling moxie.” ―Booklist
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Top Customer Reviews
From the very start I wasn't too wild about the book, to be honest. I found it confusing, and just had a dirty feel to it. Lots of talk of sex, drugs, and foul language. I almost quit reading. For some reason I kept going though, and ended up glad I did.
I don't remember at what point the book really started to click for me, but once I finally got to that point, I didn't want to put the book down. The bouncing back and forth to different times in Mary & Nix's lives stopped being confusing to me and really added to the story.
I don't know what it's like to be Mary -- knowing you aren't going to live a long life. However, I really didn't agree with a lot of the things she did and things she thought. I felt bad for Geoff towards the end of the book. Even though I felt bad for him, I ended up feeling for Kenneth as well. It's complicated -- as it was for her too.
This author writes in a way that seems very real yet smooth. I very much enjoyed the WAY she wrote, even when I didn't like WHAT she wrote.
If I could rate this 3 1/2 stars I think I would -- just because the beginning was hard to get into and at times things seemed really drawn out. (It's 402 pages with fairly small type -- lots of lines per page so I felt like it took a long time to read. I feel like a few parts could have been shortened or even left out). I'm bumping it up to 4 though since Amazon doesn't do half stars, and I think it's more deserving than just 3.
Mary and Nix are the typical opposites-attract, childhood best friends - Mary is a sensible, sweet, loyal; Nix has a wandering spirit with a hunger for the unknown, may it be small town Ohio Friday night or a trek across the Atlantic, nothing is too small for her to make it an adventure. When Mary is diagnosed with an ultimately terminal illness at 17, neither of them can foresee the effect it will have the worldviews of them both, and how these changes will manifest themselves and shape each of their entire futures. When Nix convinces Mary to join her on a summer trip to the Greek Isles, meant to bring them closer together and show Mary a world that neither of them believes she will have much time to see, unthinkable events transpire that drive a wedge between them. They part at the end of their trip, Mary back to college and medical treatments in Ohio, Nix to her study abroad in London, not knowing it will be last time they ever see each other.
Flying on the tails of her lost friend, Mary embarks on her own journey to London, seeking things she does not yet know, and for a time even becoming her friend – assuming her name, and living vicariously through how she thinks Nix would have done. Mary’s journey beyond a boarding house in London takes her throughout the world and all walks of life, from rural New England to the wilds of Africa and beyond, and through the series of men who come in and out of her life and help shape not only her path but both who she is and who she thinks she is.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
i absolutely loved this book! I loved how it was written and how it would give you the background info a little at a time. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Lisa
A brave, fierce novel about Mary, a girl who seems to have it all until, at seventeen she receives a diagnosis of cystic fibrosis that to is expected to kill her in six years. Read morePublished 9 months ago by M. Gregerson
Well written, but not entertaining or enjoyable. The constant shifting in place and time was annoying. Not sure what the writer was trying to say or accomplish. Depressing.Published 13 months ago by Kaysie
A lot of depth in this book, and the story and characters stayed with me for a long time. Mary was a great character, fighting against the odds living with cystic fibrosis, trying... Read morePublished 14 months ago by bzobell
Not what I expected. Halfway through this book I probably would have rated it as 2 stars. The story is full of long drawn out descriptions and inner monologues, almost to the point... Read morePublished 15 months ago by dressagegrl11