Cover Image: My Pear-Shaped Life

My Pear-Shaped Life

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Member Reviews

This was my first book by Carmel Harrington and it's safe to say that I will definitely read more. The story grabbed me right from the start and I enjoyed getting to know the characters.
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Brilliant. I loved this story. This is a story about learning to love yourself and learning to appreciate your friends and family. It is beautifully written and a pleasure to read,

Thank you to Netgalley for my copy.
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In most novels which feature a character who is overweight and unhappy about it the character in question is only very slightly overweight and due to her unhappiness reverts to a size 10 with practically no effort and finds her life transformed for the better as a result. The subliminal message is usually that happiness can only be achieved by thin people.
This novel shows a more realistic picture of weight issues and is more uplifting as a result. It reminded me a bit of a Marian Keyes novel. 
Thanks to NetGalley and Harper Collins for the ARC.
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This book had mixed feelings for me, I liked Greta ( the main character) and found her believable along with her family and friends. But the plot and storyline were just so unbelievable, so many random scenarios and as though a ticklist of impossible things to happen was found and the author couldn’t decide which one so put all of them in. I liked the Wizard of Oz references and keep reading only because it was almost funny. 

Thank you Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book.
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Such a lovely book. So real life.. another well written book by Carmel Harrington. This book is about the lovely Greta. I really want to be friends with Greta and was rooting for her success and happiness throughout the book. Greta is going through a tough time in her life. It's a book about relationships, family, addiction, struggles with body weight/ image, love and friendship. It's a beautiful mix of emotions and the second half is fun and uplifting. We all deserve to be happy and I wanted nothing more for Greta.. it wouldn't be a book by Carmel Harrington if it didn't make me cry... highly recommend this book.
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My Pear Shaped Life by Carmel Harrington 
I initially got this book on netgalley,  but then spotted that Amy McAllister is the narrator and I just had to have the audiobook.  
I loved every bit of it, especially Greta and I would love if there was a sequel in the future. This book is the perfect summer read. Light hearted, fun and with a touch of romance. 
Amy is the perfect narrator for this book, and I loved her accents, she can read me anything! 
I loved this book.
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I found this book really refreshing and fun.
It was about an ordinary girl struggling with problems that many people struggle with. I enjoyed Greta's adventure both in her physical travels and in discovering who she is and that she is loved despite what she might think of herself. 
I think I'm going to be searching out some of Carmel Harrington's other titles.
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC to review.
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‘My Pear Shaped Life’ is the latest book by Irish author Carmel Harrington.

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…

This was the first book by Carmel Harrington that I have I read and once I started this story, I found it hard to put down.

Greta Gale is an aspiring actress who has a bit of an addition to sleeping pills, after taking one too many Greta finds herself in rehab confronting her demons and trying to figure out why life has taken on this particular journey. Once she’s released home to her tentative family, Greta finds herself at a standstill unsure of what to do next. But, help comes in the shape of her favourite uncle, Ray when he decides that she and he are going to go to America and do a road trip so that he can confront the woman who stole his heart many years ago as well as seeing Dr Greta Gale, who is Greta’s namesake and hero, an outspoken and inspirational life coach.

I absolutely adored this book, Set in Ireland, there is a warm and familiar feel to the characters, as they chatted about the Irish channels and television shows that I occasionally watched. I loved Greta, she’s warm and kind and has never felt comfortable or welcome in own her family, as she didn’t fit in with the norm of their slender forms, so she finds escapism in the shape of sleeping pills. Even though, she is an extremely talented actress who’s loved by all who meet her, she is always belittling her and comparing herself to others. This book is wholeheartedly like ‘Rachel’s Holiday’ by Marian Keyes, about a woman who accidently overdoses and loved this book just as much.

The adventure across America with Ray and Greta makes for warm and entertaining reading, as the pair embark on their Wizard of Oz inspired trip with drama and humour along the way.

Wonderfully written with humorous and relatable characters, ‘My Pear Shaped Life’ pulls the reader right in from the very beginning like a warm hug. Focusing on the pressures of appearance, society and social media, this charming Irish tale is perfect for fans of life affirming stories with an injection of magic and wit.

You can buy ‘My Pear Shaped Life’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.
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Tackling some hard issues (self worth, addiction, loneliness, body image and trust), #MyPearShapedLife is a hopeful novel full to the brim with some cracking one liners and a leading lady you really root for. I think most people will be able to relate to this novel in one way or another. I know I did, and will be desperately rooting for Uncle Ray to find his happy ending!
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Greta Gale is a very likeable character and I can totally identify with her weight issues. And I liked how the author dealt with these issues all the way through the book. I loved all the references to the Wizard of Oz throughout as it is a favourite of mine also. Interesting story and characters apart from the character of Billie- I didn’t like her and the bodybuilding competition idea was ridiculous. But on the whole #mypearshapedlife was a good read.
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Totally loved this book. Who could fail to love Greta with all her hang ups? I think most could relate to this story and the moral of the tale is something we should all heed.

A perfect summer read.
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I don't think I have a big enough vocabulary to do this book justice! 

Everything about Greta's story is beautiful. Yes, it broke my heart. Yes, it's hard to read in some parts. Yes, I cried bucket loads. But. BUT. This book is incredible! It's so inspiring and powerful. It makes you think and dream and hope. It made me WANT. 

It's just ao brilliant. It will change your life if you let it.
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I feel so incredibly lucky when I get my hands on a book by author Carmel Harrington.
Her books, while dealing with important issues, are enormously enjoyable and so very heartwarming.
You feel you know her characters almost, when reading one of her books.
Having completed Carmel's writing course, I know she puts so much time and effort into building her characters.
In My Pear Shaped Life, we meet the lovely Greta Gale.
Known in her family as "Big G", an endearment she doesn't find too endearing only she can't seem to find the courage to tell them.
Greta is struggling with her life and feels she doesn't fit in anywhere or with anyone.
Her life has slowly come off it's tracks and she doesn't know how to fix it.
Her shining light, her uncle Ray is her constant support along with her namesake and celebrity Dr Greta Gale.
When Greta hits rock bottom, her uncle Ray decides to take them both on a road trip to Las Vegas to meet Dr Gale...
Somewhat excited, both embark on a journey of self discovery and realise in different ways that they really do matter and life is for living.
I adored Carmel's love of Dorothy & The Wizard of Oz and it shines through her novel regularly which is just wonderful.
A beautiful read that showed me how important it is to love yourself as a person...
I laughed, I cried but most importantly, I closed the last page thinking that we all matter 💕
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Quite an inspirational novel showing us that how we see ourselves is not necessarily how others see us. A nicely described journey.
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At first glance this book may appear to be another chick lit about a girl not happy with her size.  But this book is so much more than that. There are so many relatable parts for many readers within the story, as it tackles a whole range of topics. This is one of those books to just read for yourself and form your own opinion.
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Every mention I have seen so far on social media, or any review I have read of Carmel Harrington's new book My Pear Shaped Life, heaps praise upon it and deservedly so. This new character that Carmel has created, Greta Gale, is one who will live on in your heart and mind long after you have read the final page. Without question this is the best book that the author has written and I think everyone that reads it will identify with it hugely as I believe we can all identify with Greta in some way be it big or small. Right from the opening line My Pear Shaped Life is a book that gets under your skin and forces you to think about your own life situation and any problems that you may be facing.

Greta quickly becomes a character that has you rooting for a positive outcome for her. In the Dear Reader section at the beginning of the book Carmel spoke volumes about what was to come with Greta's story. The words said so much as she conveyed her raw and honest thoughts which gave the reader plenty to ponder before you had even begun to read Greta's story. She mentioned how The Wizard of Oz was a huge inspiration for her and to keep an eye out as to how the themes and certain characters wove their way into My Pear Shaped Life. I kept this in mind as I was reading and I thought it was wonderful how elements of such a famous book worked their way into what became an incredible story.

This book was so expertly written and crafted and numerous times I found myself nodding along with what Greta was saying and thinking yes there are plenty of times where I feel that way myself. So I was keen to see how Greta would deal with what life was about to throw at her. Would she be able to overcome the serious problems she has until this point buried deep down and tried to ignore? Or will things just prove too much for her that she goes down a route that will be very challenging to claw her way back to the top from.

Greta is an inspirational character, although she doesn't see herself in that manner at all. In her mind all the good qualities the reader can see she possesses simply do not exist for her and the emotional and physical turmoil that she is experiencing continue to increase and weigh her down day by day. She travels to some very dark places but you hope that with a little bit of guidance and support and some tough love that she can find the light in her life again and be the true Greta she has always been destined to be.

The story is split into three parts and I have seen some other people mention that it was like there were two stories within the one book and I tend to agree with this opinion. Some felt this left the overall book feeling a bit disjointed, and I can see where they are coming from, but to me part three was like the new Greta emerging and finding her place in the world. It was as if parts one and two were the darkness, trauma, anger and trouble and then in part three it was as if the good times started to roll, although not without a lot of soul searching occurring, in order to seek the ultimate final resolution which would hopefully see Greta through the rest of her life. Parts one and two were very emotional and at times a difficult read but part three is like reading of Greta coming out the other side as she embarks on the trip of a lifetime accompanied by her Uncle Ray in a bid to reach Las Vegas and find her name sake, Greta Gale, a self help guru in which Greta puts so much trust in even though she has never met her.

Greta is an aspiring actress who struggles with her weight, body image and her own self worth. Life is not easy for her and she believes thin is in and fat is not all that. There is a voice in her head that continuously compels her to feel that she is not enough. She follows Dr. Greta Gale, a life coach, for inspiration. She is a woman who epitomises everything that our Greta wishes she could be. Every day is a battle for her and things are going from bad to worse as a reliance upon sleeping tablets will prove to be the pivotal turning point in her life. It's make or break time and Greta is the only person who can do something about turning her life around. Her emotional well being and health are suffering and it doesn't help that she is under constant pressure from her family to get out there and get fit and lose the weight that is dragging her down. The regular judgements, shame, humiliation lead to fear, anxiety, stress, over eating and over reliance on a substance that will led to a stark wake up call for Greta and boy does she need it.

But to say she needs a sharp shock and wake up call, well we could say that about all of us because let's face it there is a piece of Greta in all of us. Not to say we reach the lengths of addiction that she does but the issues surrounding body image, eating and weight we can all relate to because who is truly happy with our bodies. Are we not all faced with images of picture perfect celebrities and influencers who in turn make us question ourselves? Are we not all under pressure to eat the right thing and get out and exercise as much as possible? All these issues we face on a daily basis in our own personal lives, well Greta exemplifies them and the way she is forced to go about confronting and dealing with them is an important and vital lesson for us all. She truly is an inspiration who will broaden many people's perspectives and make you stop, think and take stock of where you are right now in your life and maybe when this lock down finally finishes you will have the tools to go out and be a bit more Greta Gale, as in the Greta that emerges in the later half of the book as opposed to the first.

I found myself absolutely glued to the pages as we journeyed with Greta in the first half of the book. The writing became ever more expressive, emotional and remarkable and it was clear Carmel had poured her absolute everything into writing this story and I am so glad she did because it is such an important read and for many people it will be life changing. Everyone can take something from Greta's story and apply it to their own lives to make small changes for the better and I know myself I will do this. We are too hard on ourselves but Greta's situation showed that she had reached the very bottom and things need to be altered. A life changing situation is the spark she needed and I desperately hoped that she could claw her way back to some sense of normality in order to move forward with her life and find the happiness and contentment she so richly deserved.

Greta's family members didn't really do much for me as I felt they never backed her up or understood where she was coming from. Instead of seeing the battle she was going through their comments and lack of understanding did nothing at all for her instead they only aggravated the situation and made her feel a million times worse. All except for her Uncle Ray, and boy does everyone need an Uncle Ray in their lives. In the latter half he is the glue that holds Greta together and helps her continue her journey as he surprises her with the trip of a lifetime to attend Dr. Greta Gale's show in Las Vegas. Here the book took on a distinctly different tone and this is why I think a lot of people felt the story was like two books. The first half I would say was very intense and at times difficult to read about what Greta was going through but it needed to be in order for us to see her challenges but also the potential she had.

It seems wrong to say this but I preferred the first half, not that the second wasn't very well written, but at times it just lost its way ever so slightly before getting back on track. The attention shifted to the road trip that Ray and Greta set off on and I remember when Carmel was writing this book seeing pictures of the road trip she undertook with her husband just like Greta does and it was brilliant to see some of these places feature and how they tied in with the story. Greta along with Ray both want to find themselves and live their best lives and I loved how Ray stepped into the spotlight and his storyline was touching and endearing. It showed how we all have things to deal with and although we may present a front where everything is all good, deep down we are trying to accept and resolve what has been eating away at us for a long time. There were plenty of laughs along the way as the pair come across some unusual sights throughout the American landscape but then a more tender storyline emerged and one in which you hoped long sought happiness could be found.

My Pear Shaped Life was an amazing read and one which would be perfect for a book club. It provides the reader with such a broad, balanced perspective on so many issues and at the same time gives us a strong clear message to take with us through our own lives. It's funny, uplifting, expressive, heart-rending and a gripping read. Carmel Harrington takes you on an incredible journey and the more you read the more you are willing to follow whatever path she is taking you on. Definitely it's one to read as soon as possible.
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Having struggled with my weight since having children, I approach books that deal with overweight characters with a certain amount of caution. I have no desire to read anything that insinuates that life can only be good if you are a certain size. I’m trying to live a more healthy life, physically and mentally by accepting my body and learning to celebrate it, rather than living a half life in shame simply because my bits happen to wobble a fair bit more than I’d like. This has become even more important to me now I have a daughter, I want to teach her by example to have a healthy, confident attitude towards her own body and towards food. Happily, as I read about this book, it seemed to be the perfect accompaniment to my own journey.

And I was right.

My Pear-Shaped Life is a beautifully written story about Greta Gale, an aspiring actress whose life has run completely off track. At the heart of this novel is a strong message of self acceptance. It’s not about shedding the pounds, but instead it advocates that you love yourself enough to fight your demons and live your best life.

There was so much of Greta I could relate to. From the way she hid herself away with tricks, the reluctance to put her real self out there, and the way in which the hatred of herself was so deeply ingrained that she was missing out on living her life. I’ve done that. I’ve been there. Greta’s story is told with real sensitivity and understanding. Her downward spiral is utterly believable and I shed tears at the thought of this talented woman thinking so little of herself. The journey the author takes her on is a wonderful one of self discovery, and it gave me a huge amount to think about. In a world so dominated with images of unattainable perfection, it’s too easy to compare, and too easy to be sucked in to feeling less.

Alongside Greta are a fantastic cast of characters. From her supportive Uncle Ray, whose own story ran perfectly alongside Greta’s journey, to her friendship with Dylan, through to her immediate family and the complexities of those relationships and the effects of the events of the novel on them. I felt that the family dynamic was a refreshing one. Very often these types of books focus wholly on romantic relationships, whereas this clear focus felt like a great way of getting to know Greta on a grassroots level and really helped to cement her as a character.

The thing that struck me the most was how real this felt. Not only in terms of the relevance of the subject matter, but also in that Greta didn’t feel like a intangible being in the pages of a book; when reading she came to life. Her journey was grounded in reality. Her progress is not a single light bulb moment coming at a climactic moment in the book, but is instead the culmination of lots of little moments, hard work and understanding. In the end, her weight is not the thing that defines her, and I think that is a lesson so many of us battling with our weight need to learn. We are so much more than our dress size.

This is a book I have been very enthusiastically recommending to friends and family! Despite the dark places the character visits, it is one of the most hope-filled, joyful books I’ve read this year. Without a doubt, it is one I will return to in the future. I adore Greta Gale, and I will be checking out more novels by Carmel Harrington – she may just have found a new fan in me!
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Greta Gale is an inspiring actress. She's a bit overweight, is funny and is always laughing, even at herself. What people don't know is that Greta is hiding a lot, is dying inside and is addicted to sleeping pills. The sleeping pills are really a problem, though Greta doesn't want to see it, that is, until one day her life truly spirals out of control and her family forces her to go to rehab centre. Being there, she has time to reflect on her life. Her beloved Uncle Ray surprises her with a road - trip to Las Vegas to meet Greta's greatest inspiration, her namesake Greta Gale. With Ray, Greta's family and her friend Dylan's support nothing can go wrong now, right?

This book touches upon such important issues like accepting yourself, drug addiction, family dynamics and all the ups and downs of life, showing how important the support of family and friends is and that the pear - shaped moments in life can make us stronger!

I loved being able to accompany Greta on her journey to accepting herself, to cheer her on this bumpy, twisty and hard road to happiness - without a guarantee that she's going to find her happy end. Her character shows perfectly clearly that it is not losing weight or finding the perfect job or partner that changes our lives for better, that it is in fact the self - acceptation and the other things are just nice extras. However, I couldn't completely warm to Greta but it's probably my own problem - I, like many, many other women out there don't like my body, don't treat it with the due respect, so am like Greta in this matter but I also don't look at things in such a narrow way like she did. I mean, I am a woman, I look like I look and I don't spend sleepless nights thinking about it, and in my opinion she shouldn't as well, she should have realise earlier that she's worth so much even if she doesn't look like a sex - goddess. I've learnt that it's not looks that make you special and I think it is because of this fact, that I've matured in that matter, that I simply can't find patience and accept such excuses. But Greta is also me and you: open, friendly and happy with life on the outside and uncertain and full of doubts inside, beating herself up, thinking she's not good enough - sounds familiar, no?

Somehow, for me, "My Pear - Shaped Life" didn't feel like a book and as much as I appreciated it, and the super important message the author has managed to smuggle in her wise words, I had a feeling I am floating on the surface, that I can't reach into the depth, and the whole story seemed unstructured and it dragged a bit sometimes, and the change between the first and second part of the book was so sudden, it truly felt like reading a different story. I am sure that many other readers will find it inspiring, and I am incredibly sad that it didn't work for me, but I still love Carmel Harrington and her books, no worries :)

Nevertheless, it is a book that will make you think when you're reading it, the whole time. You will reflect on your own body image and start to think and see yourself differently. But the story is so relatable in so many ways, and even if you don't struggle with your image, you will find things you can relate to, with life knocking you sideways.
It is warm and easily written, the story - telling is flowing, with colourful and vivid descriptions, it feels unique and fresh. Sometimes it's very poignant and heart - breaking, sometimes it's light - hearted and funny but on top of this it is important, wise and full of compassion. It shows the importance of loving and accepting yourself, of having support, and it feels very real.
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I’ve been a large and outwardly jolly girl for most of my life, and knew as soon as I saw this book’s synopsis that it was one I’d love. While Greta is Big G the “funny fat one” on the surface, the exceptional insight into her issues – a dependence on prescription drugs in addition to her size – really made me want to cry. I got distinctly teary about moments I recognised – yes, I’ve had to ask for a seatbelt extension on the plane too, and I’ll never forget that overwhelming feeling of shame and embarrassment. And by the time she gives in and sobs at the sight of the pear in the fruit bowl “lying toppled on its side, wobbling on a round body” because she doesn’t want to be a pear any more, I’ll admit I was pretty inconsolable.

Now I know that might make it all sound a touch dark and depressing – particularly if I tell you that the first part of the book tracks Greta’s downward spiral and follows her through a spell in a mental hospital for rehabilitation. But this is a book by Carmel Harrington, and I’d quite forgotten the perfect touch she has with such matters. This book is seriously funny, with a quite perfect balance between those darker times and a fair few others of sheer joy unbounded.

Many of those joyful moments are found through her wonderfully drawn family. Let’s face it, we should all have an Uncle Ray – other than Greta herself who won my heart, he was my favourite character in the book, and I thoroughly enjoyed the story of his personal search for happiness. Greta’s less than easy relationship with her father was quite beautifully handled, the ever-strong love sometimes clouded by the apparent impatience and criticism: and I totally fell for her mother, their wonderful exchanges, choosing the right clothes for the family visit to the mental hospital (and the hat) as well as dressing up for FaceTime calls when Greta is rather further way.

I’ve noticed that some people have been less enthusiastic about the road trip that takes up the second half of the book, but must say that I loved every single moment. They’re on their way to see Greta’s namesake and idol, Dr Greta Gale, an inspirational social media and TV personality whose posts have been such a source of support through the darker days. Our Greta is still struggling with her demons, and every member of the group that assembles has their own challenges to face and mountains to climb, supporting each other while discovering their own true selves.

The way the Oz story is used – each individual has a character they can entirely be identified with, and the references to the story abound – is so very cleverly done, and I totally adored it. I also loved so many of the encounters and exchanges along the way… but I’m in severe danger of telling you about every one that moved or entertained me, so I’ll let you read it yourself.

This book broke my heart and made me cry buckets, but it also made me laugh and cheer, and left me immeasurably happier: this is one for anyone who sometimes feels they might not be quite enough, because it will leave you reassured that every one of us most certainly is. Greta, I so loved you and hope you have the best life – and Carmel Harrington, I most certainly love you too, this book was just wonderful.
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*Book provided by the publisher on NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*
 
I have always like Carmel harrington’s books and writing style. I haevn’t read one of her books for a while and I’m so happy I decided to read this one. 
 
It tells the story of Greta Gale, who doesn’t have an easy life. She is overweight and has an addiction to sleeping pills. The rest of her famiyl ist hin and fit and it’s not easy tob e around them. She also tries to becaome a successful actress, which is not easy. 
 
We see Great in different stages of her life and of her additicton. One person that is always there for her is her uncle Ray. I absolutely adored him, probably my fave characters oft he book. He understands Greta and really hold the whole family together. 
 
Greta also likes following Dr. Greta Gale, her namesake and a  successful TV persononality in the US. Well, Ray decide to surprise Greta with a trip to Vegas to go see her. Greta’s parents don’t like that, but they go anywy. It’s all connected with a road trip starting in Kansas City. There are a lot of Wizard of Oz references in this book, which make the storyline very special. I also really enjoyed the road trip aspect, I felt like being with them and experiencing America through them. Carmel Harrington’s writing captured everything beautifully, it’s detailed and emotional. 
 
Ray gets to tell his story as well, which I really liked. Greta is on a journey to find herself again, it’s great to see her change thorughout the book. 
 
The story is very uplifting and inspring, but it also shows the hard parts and it’s connected to a lot of deep feelings. 
 
I enjoyed this book very much, I was hooked and just couldn’t stop reading anymore. 
 
BRILLIANT!!!
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