My Pear-Shaped Life is the story of Greta Gale. Greta is overweight and knows it. She is unhappy with her life but tries to hide it behind a bubbly, larger than life persona, which many women will identify with I’m sure. She also has an addiction which she tries to hide from her family. When her secret is uncovered, she has to face up to her shame and the fact that she feels she has let her family down.
Carmel Harrington writes about Greta’s feelings so convincingly and there is so much that many people will recognise in Greta. Her feelings of shame, failure and inadequacy will resonate with so many. And yet there is hope and optimism too, particularly in the latter part of the book when Greta goes on a road trip to America with her uncle. This trip is partly to attend a talk given by Greta’s namesake, Dr Greta Gale. Dr Gale is Greta’s idol. She follows her avidly on Instagram and often feels that her positive comments are directed at her, they fit her feelings so perfectly. Dr Gale has one of those perfect Instagram lives and is so inspirational to Greta. I was so hoping that Dr Gale wouldn’t disappoint Greta but would encourage her, just like the wizard did for Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. You’ll need to read the book yourself to find out how that goes.
I loved all the Wizard of Oz references scattered throughout the book from the names of some of the characters, to places they visited and even some of the things which happened. I’m sure I didn’t spot all of them, but the Wizard of Oz’s values of recognising and appreciating the important things and people in your life and having the courage to believe in yourself come through strongly.
Although it was difficult to read about Greta’s unhappiness in the early stages of the book, it was so lovely to watch her begin to grow in self-esteem and blossom as the book went on. And what was clear was that what we all need to grow is love and encouragement, and just like Dorothy in Oz, some faithful companions to support you along the road. There are some important messages we can learn from Greta about being positive, about believing in ourselves and about making the best of the opportunities which come our way.
Life’s a bit pear-shaped for all of us right now but we can take heart that there will be better times ahead. My Pear-Shaped Life is another heart-warming story from Carmel Harrington and just the kind of uplifting read we need just now.
My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to take part in the blogtour and to the publishers Harper Collins for my copy of the book which I won in a giveaway! In these challenging times for everyone, please order your copy for a local or independent bookshop if possible. Otherwise, you will find buying for various retailers on the publisher’s website here: My Pear Shaped Life
From the back of the book
She’s hiding so much behind her big smile she’s forgotten who she is.
But Greta is about to discover that the key to being happy is…being yourself.
Greta Gale has played the part of the funny fat one her entire life, hiding her insecurities behind a big smile. But size doesn’t matter when you can laugh at yourself, right?
Until Greta realises she’s the only one not laughing. And deep down, she’s not sure if she’ll ever laugh again.
But Greta is about to discover that sometimes the best moments in life come when it’s all gone a bit pear-shaped…
About the author
International bestseller CARMEL HARRINGTON writes uplifting and inspiring books that have captured the hearts of readers worldwide. They have been translated into eight languages and published in eleven countries to date. Her latest novel, My Pear-Shaped Life is available now. Previous novels include A Thousand Roads Home, The Woman at 72 Derry Lane and Cold Feet, The Lost Years, the official ITV original novel to accompany the hit TV series. Carmel was shortlisted for an Irish Book Award in 2016 and 2017 and won the Kindle Book of the Year and Romantic eBook of the Year in 2014 for her debut novel, Beyond Grace’s Rainbow. Carmel is also a regular on Irish TV as a panellist on Virgin Media’s Elaine show. She lives with her family and rescue dog in a small village in Wexford.
Carmel loves hearing from readers, so please feel free to connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram, @HappyMrsH. You can sign up for Carmel’s newsletter on her website http://www.carmelharrington.com or join The Carmel Harrington Reading Room on Facebook, where readers discuss their favourite reads and take part in bookish challenges.