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Arms Wide Open

3.62  ·  Rating Details ·  93 Ratings  ·  29 Reviews
Jack and Meredith are non-identical twins. Their father died before they were born and now they both have to watch as their mother sinks further in to the grip of early-onset dementia.

Jack s career has crashed and burned, all that remains is a Maserati and a nervous disposition. Meredith s world is also crumbling the decomposing yogurt in her fridge a symbol of her newly-e
Paperback, 352 pages
Published April 18th 2014 by Corsair (first published April 17th 2014)
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Mar 09, 2014 Karen rated it it was amazing
Tom Winter is a new author to me but this, his second book, was a delight to read. It was both poignant and funny and had a main cast of wonderful characters that, possibly with the exception of the downright eccentric, you could identify and engage with.

Jack and Meredith are 43 year old twins. Meredith’s life hasn’t turned out as she expected. She feels a failure because her husband has left her for another woman and seeks solace in plants and gardening. She diligently visits their ailing mothe
Sep 20, 2014 Joodith rated it it was ok
Meredith’s ineffectual husband, Alistair, has left her for another woman half his age. Her children couldn’t care less about his absence; fifteen year old Jemima cares only about her fictitious online life, and eleven year old Luke is trying to cope with being bullied at school, leaving Meredith in a state of unhappy limbo for much of the time. Meanwhile Jack, Meredith’s twin brother, is in a state of flux his career having gone down the tubes leaving nothing to show but his sexy sports car and ...more
Aug 27, 2014 Deanne rated it really liked it
This second novel by Tom Winter is cleverly written being both moving and in parts very, very funny. Ironically, quite serious themes such as early onset dementia, the risks of Internet dating and bullying all form part of the plot. But it is the dialogue that the quite quirky characters use when communicating with each other that turns this into a very enjoyable and entertaining reading experience. The writer’s wry observations are witty and his language is colourful and very playful. The main ...more
Carol Peace
Mar 03, 2014 Carol Peace rated it really liked it
I was given this book by for an honest review.
This was the second book of Tom Winters I have read and the previous one Lost and Found was such a good read I was worried this would be a let down but no this was equally as good.
The book centres around Meredith who is the mother of twins Luke and Jemima and also her twin brother Jack. Merediths husband has left for a younger model and she can't move on. Jemima has many 'boyfriends' over the internet and she has some in
Aug 13, 2014 Lainy rated it it was ok
Time taken to read - 4 days

Publisher - Corsair

Pages - 353

Blurb from Goodreads

Jack and Meredith are non-identical twins. Their father died before they were born and now they both have to watch as their mother sinks further in to the grip of early-onset dementia.

Jack s career has crashed and burned, all that remains is a Maserati and a nervous disposition. Meredith s world is also crumbling the decomposing yogurt in her fridge a symbol of her newly-expired marriage. Her children, Jemima and Luke,
Apr 18, 2014 Lindsay rated it it was amazing
Having read Tom Winter's first novel Lost & Found (review here) I was really looking forward to reading this and I wasn't disappointed. Thanks so much to Grace at Constable & Robinson for sending me a copy for review.

There were lots of characters to familiarise myself with and I did get a bit lost of who's who at the start. On the outside we see what seems to be a normal family which could have had the potential to be a bit boring but because its so heartfeltly written as you read on you
May 02, 2014 quizqueen rated it it was ok
Shelves: rubbish
This is the first book I have been sent to review. The burb made it sound really interesting but I struggled to complete it and would not have bothered to do so had I not committed myself to read and review it!! The whole storyline of the novel was so highly improbable and over descriptive e.g. 'she shovels some Brussels sprouts onto his plate, their flesh yielding a little too much to the spoon'- Oh please, does the author need to throw in phrases like that for effect in almost every paragraph? ...more
Aug 11, 2014 Kim rated it liked it
I had a hard time with this book. I liked the stories premise but the book seemed to fall a little short. The emotions in the book at times seemed to be lacking. It also felt long. The story wasn't horrible, and it was interesting enough to keep me reading. I also liked the twins, for me it felt that their characters were the most developed.
Feb 12, 2015 Jade rated it liked it
Shelves: 2015, library-reading
The Plot
If you're looking for a book that dissects the illness that is dementia and that takes a look at it in a forthright manner, Arms Wide Open is not for you. That's not to say that Tom Winter doesn't take the illness seriously, because he does, it just isn't front and centre of the book; it isn't the main focus.

Saying that, I don't think there is a main focus, other than the lives of twins Jack and Meredith falling apart at the seams.

There is a fair bit going on within the storyline - I w
Girl with her Head in a Book
Arms Wide Open is a poignant and surprisingly sweet story of a family 'in a cyclone of turmoil', searching for meaning and connection in a world of confusion. I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review, so thank you to Corsair Books. Jack and Meredith are twins who have reached middle-age and find themselves flailing. Their mother is in a stage of advanced dementia and their father died before they were born, so that when Meredith's son offers to take a picture of Jack 'wit ...more
Rachel Hall
Apr 13, 2014 Rachel Hall rated it it was amazing
Arms Wide Open is a wonderful read which continues with all the trademark black humour, irony and wit that the reader came to associate with Tom Winter through his first novel, Lost and Found. It tells the story of two non-identical twins - Meredith and Jack - with a mother in the grip of early-onset dementia, a father who died before they were born and their own individual coping mechanisms for dealing with the difficult upbringing and childhood they have had, and the places they currently find ...more
Apr 03, 2014 Zarina rated it really liked it
Review originally published here:

In January of last year I read Tom Winter's memorable debut novel Lost and Found, a poignant story of ordinary people whose stories become extraordinary through Winter's excellent writing and I was excited when I heard he had a new novel coming out this year, let alone the opportunity to read it early. Once again Winter takes seemingly average people and with a flair for great storytelling he pulls the reader in and gets th
Apr 07, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it
Arms Wide Open
I was very pleased to receive this book from First Reads.
It is a very acutely observed story of a family with problems. It is written very humorously, but there is a deeper, darker undercurrent.
I particularly loved the scenes involving either one or both of the children, and found myself getting rather worried about Jemima's online activities. However, Uncle Jack came to the rescue.
I wasn't too sure, however, what to make of Meredith.
All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable
Apr 08, 2014 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I received this book as p[art of Good Reads First Reads

Jack and meridith are non identical twins - different in every possible way

Meridith has taken to gardening after her husband left her for another woman and Jack has a posh car and seems to have sailed though life thus far

However, at 43 it seems life is about to change for both of them. They will both need to confront their pasts in order to change their futures

A book that keeps you turning the pages to see what happens to Jack and Meridith -
Jun 11, 2014 LindyLouMac rated it it was amazing

I had never come across Tom Winter before being offered this title to review by a readers panel that I am on. In fact I doubt I would have chosen to read this book myself so I am grateful I was given this opportunity because it is an extremely poignant read. Dementia is at the heart of this novel and it is dealt with through humour as well as sensitivity. Written in language that is clear, succinct and so expressive that even though it is a traumatic subject the author is writing about he manage
May 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Tom Winter delights with a deadpan turn of phrase.One family, one monumental storm. I loved this story because it is so different from the most serious family drama that I normally read. This story from start to finish is very moving and very funny. Jack and Meredith are non-identical twins. Their father died before they born and now they both have to watch as their mother sinks further in to the grip of early-onset dementia. Jack's career has crashed and burned, all that remains is a Maserati a ...more
Diane Will
May 08, 2014 Diane Will rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I was sent a copy of this through Goodreads as a giveaway. It is not an author that I was familiar with, but was willing to give it a read. I am grateful to have been given the chance to read it.

I felt it was very slow to start and was finding the characters a bit difficult to like, however I persevered and the second half of the book was more enjoyable. Going back and forth between past and present was a bit annoying but it was necessary to understand what the past had to do with the present ci
Jill Lamond
Mar 25, 2015 Jill Lamond rated it really liked it
A surprisingly good read considering the rather dark topics of early onset dementia, bullying and online sexual predators. This novel had some great characters and was written with a light and skilful hand. Although not a roaringly "funny" book there were some very amusing little scenes and one-liners.
Kathy Shuker
Oct 04, 2015 Kathy Shuker rated it really liked it
This is a surprising book. It's wry and witty and sometimes very funny but it also deals with some serious issues such as dementia, bullying and the dangers of the internet. I found it very funny at times and quite moving at others. The serious issues are treated sensitively, with a lightness of touch which never seems flippant. It was a very enjoyable read.
Spencer Broadley
Apr 06, 2014 Spencer Broadley rated it really liked it
I found the book to be a slow start, but once "up and running" it was an enjoyable read. I am grateful to Goodreads for sending me a proof copy.
There is a lot of emotion involved within the family, but occasional humour.
I would recommend the book to anyone, as long as you persevere through the opening pages
Jun 14, 2014 Claire rated it it was amazing
A family in crisis, nothing too serious to start with but then Tom picks up the pace and packs in some great lines to make you laugh while dealing with family troubles. A very good read.
Nyika Suttie
Aug 11, 2014 Nyika Suttie rated it liked it
An interesting study of family life which is all but falling apart. Gave it three stars because I forgot the plot and had to look it up though...
Apr 09, 2014 Mr rated it really liked it
Not read any of tom winter's books before I found it to be a well written story about family life there’s plenty of turmoil and humorous moments, it was a bit slow to get starting but it worth while holding out as it soon picks up
Apr 04, 2015 Victoria rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sent-for-review
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Arms Wide Open by Tom Winter. It does deal with the delicate subject matter of dementia but it is very sensitively done. It could very easily be a depressing read but it is not, and in parts I found it to be very funny. I did find the section about the American exchange students to be a little slow, but on the whole it moved along at a good pace. I liked the characters, particularly Meredith’s son Luke who was wise beyond his young years. All in all an excellent read ...more
Jill Donaldson
Apr 07, 2014 Jill Donaldson rated it really liked it
I loved this book a great read
Sharon Cant
May 24, 2014 Sharon Cant rated it it was amazing
This is a great read, Im on the last few chapters and really keen to see where it all ends,

Its a very well written book as well. Chapters aren't too long and that keeps it interesting.

Love the characters and have laughed and despaired for them.

Cant recommended highly enough and I'm going to see what else Tom Winter has written and buy them.

Excellent !
Sep 23, 2015 Pingvingirl rated it liked it
Shelves: scanned
Easy-reading and enjoyable. I have a feeling it'll stay with me longer than I'd think.
Aug 08, 2015 Claire rated it really liked it
A family grappling with dementia - enjoyable read
Debbie Masson
Debbie Masson rated it liked it
Sep 26, 2016
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Tom Winter is a British writer living in Berlin. His debut novel, Lost & Found, was published in five languages, with an English audio book to follow. His second book, Arms Wide Open, was published in April 2014. He's currently working on a third title.

"Witty, off-beat and moving ... Tom Winter delights with a deadpan turn of phrase." Daily Mail

"[Arms Wide Open] is a bittersweet joy of a book.
More about Tom Winter...

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