Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"So Much For That" by Lionel Shriver (TLC Book Stop Review)

Synopsis (TLC website):
Shep Knacker has long saved for “the Afterlife,” an idyllic retreat in the Third World where his nest egg can last forever. Exasperated that his wife, Glynis, has concocted endless excuses why it’s never the right time to go, Shep finally announces he’s leaving for a Tanzanian island, with or without her. Yet Glynis has some news of her own: she’s deathly ill. Shep numbly puts his dream aside, while his nest egg is steadily devastated by staggering bills that their health insurance only partially covers. Astonishingly, illness not only strains their marriage but saves it.

My Thoughts:

I'm sure others have read this and had plenty to say.  I could, but I won't for a few reasons:
  • too political
  • too personal
There are so many things going on in this book and Shriver does a great job of presenting both sides of the story and giving you much to ponder and certainly a lot to discuss. This book would be excellent for a book group. I think you may have to be careful though, because this is one story that has the potential to bring out the worst in people. Here are some of the hot button topics that are encompassed within the pages......
  • healthcare costs/ insurance companies
  • medicare
  • welfare
  • hospitals
  • Republican
  • Democrat
  • drains on society
  • Wall Street
  • Government 
  • Capitalism
  • Socialism (socialized medicine)
This list is a hotbed of issues that Shriver tackles in her book and she really goes all out on each one. In fact, no one is safe and that is why I think this could be a book that would certainly inspire 'lively' debates!! 

Recommend? Yes. This one gives you a lot to think about and wonder what would you do if you found yourself in the situation of the main characters. Heck, some of you may have or currently are in that situation. Shriver has a way of being blunt and getting down to the nitty gritty of life. She's not afraid to pull punches and to knock you off your feet!

Rating: 7.5/10

Published: 2010
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Pages: 433
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 9780061458590

About Lionel Shriver

Lionel Shriver is a novelist whose previous books include Orange Prize–winner We Need to Talk About Kevin, The Post-Birthday World, A Perfectly Good Family, Game Control, Double Fault, The Female of the Species, Checker and the Derailleurs, and Ordinary Decent Criminals. She is widely published as a journalist, writing features, columns, op-eds, and book reviews for the Guardian, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, the Economist, Marie Claire, and many other publications. She is frequently interviewed on television, radio, and in print media. She lives in London and Brooklyn, NY.

Disclaimer:Thank you to TLC Book Tours for sending me a review copy. I was not compensated for my review. My thoughts on this book were in no way influenced by the author or publicist.They are my personal reflections based solely on MY experience while reading this novel

© 2011, Staci of Life in the Thumb. All Rights Reserved. If you reading this on a site other than, Life in the Thumb or Staci's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. Wow, this sounds very powerful but very depressing too!

  2. Yeahhhhhhhhh... probably NOT a good book for me! lol! :):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):)

  3. Sounds very depressing and way to close to things I am dealing with now with my father and my friends. Getting old is not what it is cracked up to be.

  4. Wow, that covers a lot! Not sure if this is one for me though - I didn't get very far with one of her previous books..

  5. This sounds really good to me, but I don't think I'd ever recommend it to my book club. We have one member who loves to discuss politics, rather heatedly and this would just egg her on.

  6. Sounds like a book covering a lot of issues to think about. Nice review.

    Great tease. Book Dilettante

  7. I'm not sure if I want to read this one or not. I love to sink my teeth into a meaty read, and there seems to be plenty to ponder with this one, but I didn't care for Post Birthday World. It seemed very disjointed to me, so I'm not sure I want to pick this one up.

  8. Really must read her one of these days. I keep getting her books from the library and then taking them back unread!

  9. Ooh, I can see this one exploding like a BOMB at my book club - thanks for the heads up!

  10. I really enjoy Shriver's writing and have read all her other books but I've held off reading So Much For That because I'm nervous it will be too much controversy for me.

  11. I always thought Lionel S was a guy o_O the things I learn

  12. As I read the issues covered in the book my jaw clenched. I read to relax and escape not get all riled up. Some people like it.

  13. Huh. It would be a great discussion book if you could get people to actually discuss with indoor voices and not talk over each other with raised ones. Probably too much for me. I'm pretty clear on where I fall on these issues :)

  14. Now if we could just get someone to get going on our bookclub!

  15. I'm with Bermudaonion on this one. It might become too heated for a book club but maybe this is not the case for Canadian readers.

  16. While it sounds interesting, I have a hunch it will cause me a ton of anger. I know this story via family and friends.

  17. I'll keep it in mind and suggest it to my book club. Thanks for stopping by while I was gone.

  18. I can understand not wanting to get into personal opinions about politics. :) I'm the odd one out in my book club (everyone else agreeing in their political opinions) so it makes discussions interesting. Sometimes I don't want to say anything because it's not fun always being the only voice of dissent.

  19. I was a little hesitatn on this book until I read your review. Now I really want to read it. If anyone read the post I did during the health care debate, I made my feelings pretty clear on the need for insurance reform. I would love to read a book that tackles both sides of the issue.

    This sounds like a book I would find myself nodding along with and yelling at (in my head) all at the same time. I like those books because they challenge me to think outside my comfort zone.

    The fact that I'm a political junkie and enjoy those types of discussions is a plus for me. Thankfully, neither I or the vast majority of my friends take them too seriously. We can argue all we want but once the conversation is over, it's over. No name calling or hard feelings.

    I just wrote way more that I was planning on. Especially since all I wanted to say was, great review and now I need to read it.

  20. Do you think it would make for a good audio book? I have been on the fence to read this one but your review has me wanting to read it. I have enjoyed everything I have read by Shriver so I need to read this book.

    Great review!

  21. Oh my! That certainly is a laundry list of topics, and I am intimately famailiar with a few of them. Great review without being on a soapbox :) kudos!

  22. Am within two chapters of the end, and I am exhausted, cynical, depressed, etc. One of those "can't put it down" books, after which comes "what a tedious waste of mental resources.". Lin

  23. The book club that Mari and I are in is full of intelligent, well-read women and I'm thinking this might just be a great book to get them going. Plus I think we are all good enough friends to know not to take it too far.


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