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A Scattered Life

3.3 of 5 stars 3.30  ·  rating details  ·  4,890 ratings  ·  495 reviews
When free-spirited Skyla marries proper and predictable Thomas Plinka, she finally finds the love and stability she’s craved since childhood. She also acquires a new family: mother-in-law Audrey, disapproving and suspicious of Skyla’s nomadic past; father-in-law Walt, gruff but kind; and Thomas’s brothers, sofa-bound Jeffrey, and Dennis, who moved across the country seemin ...more
Paperback, 267 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Mariner Books (first published August 10th 2010)
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Community Reviews

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Misty Baker
There was a period in my life where I felt the need to be detached. Not physically… being AROUND people was not the issue for me, the “emotional connection” is what I feared. I had been forced to face a string of emotional torture and as a result I was (almost) irrevocably damaged. I did not like to talk, I did not form attachments of any kind. I avoided social situations, and more importantly convinced myself that not caring was the easiest path that life had to offer. Thankfully I recognized m ...more
Sep 05, 2010 Barbara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: lovers of women's relational fiction
Recommended to Barbara by: AmazonEncore - many positive reviews
A book I stumbled upon. I just bought my first kindle and was online looking for an inexpensive or even free book to try out. I found AmazonEncore, which I had never heard of before. I liked the concept so loaded this book on my kindle. Yesterday. I read the entire book in one sitting.

The story is mostly told from the perspective of Skyla who lost her mother at a young age and traveled the country with an unsettled father. She meets Thomas and marries him, and a good portion of the book is also
I enjoyed reading this book. Great literature? No. Deep philosophical impact? No.
Fascinating character study? No. Enjoyable and affecting read? Absolutely!

Generally, I found the characters to be more flesh and blood than one-dimensional -- they were a bit of a type, but then it was necessary to create the tensions in the book. Not everyone was likable or even understandable -- which is what made them so believable.

I wanted to find the book trite and pedestrian, but little things tugged at me -
I bought this book because it was one listed on AmazonEncore as a good review. This is a program designed to let new authors have a spotlight. I had read a previous book by her and dubbed it was pure trashy chick lit, so I'm gonna be honest and say that I was dreading reading this book, which I had purchased prior. I wanted to get it over with..and let me tell you, BLECH!!! Skyla is married to Thomas, who is a real jerk. Her mother in law is also a jerk. She befriends the very trashy Roxanne who ...more
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Like other reviewers, I also wanted to like this independently published novel. I actually purchased it thinking I might identify with a character - seemingly my age - who found herself in a marriage and life that wasn't what she had envisioned for herself.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Without the occasional pop culture references to Nickelodeon, I would have thought this novel was set in the 50s with all the “Mercy me”, “Heaven only knows” and “Any normal family” phrases that permea
Karen McQuestion writes for those of us women who need to identify with other women who don't talk about how much they make, women who didn't set aside their promising editorial careers for family and whine about it, women who don't have summer homes "in the Cape", women who spy on their overky successful but gloriously egocentric cheating husbands, and so on. When you search high and low for a book that you can identify with, laugh with, cry, dream, and become a part of, Karen McQuestion is the ...more
Skyla - that's the name of the main character, and hers was a scattered life (until she got married that is). I looked up this rather unique name and learned that its meaning is "fugitive". How appropriate!

Skyla lost her mother when she was a little girl, and she was swept from one place to another while her father always tried to adjust to, but always didn't get the hang of things. She was completely orphaned when she was 19, and was given a stable life only after she married Thomas, a man who
I read all the reviews for A Scattered Life before I bought it and I was a little anxious. There are some extremely negative reviews, but most failed to say why they didn't like the book, so I bought it anyway.

I sat down to read it and couldn't put it down. The prose is amazing, the characters are well-developed and believeable with all their very human frailties. The author managed to take a storyline and present it from three different points of view and didn't falter once.

Skyla, a rootless
I almost gave this book a 3-star ("average") rating, but decided against it because I felt that there was a great deal missing from it. The characters could have been more fully developed, and over all it was just lacking something. There were wonderful, descriptive narratives that led nowhere, too. Also, the story often progressed without the reader knowing what amount of time had passed - a week? Six months? It was a good story, an excellent message, but I was left with a void; everything coul ...more
I really wanted to like this book. I wanted it to be a shining example of all the potential that e-books have opened up for independent authors and readers alike.

I didn't. It felt....uncomfortable. I've read novels where the characters were small town narrow-minded people that felt comfortable. They were either still sympathetic characters or clearly not. These were... not sympathetic but felt as if the author thought they might be. And while there was some attempt at a redemption near the end,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I wanted to like this book, but I didn't. The characters were likeable, but lacked the depth needed to tell a story -- as this one set out to do -- about relationships. Not a lot happens in this book until the end, so it relies almost solely on the characters. which as I've said, fall flat. The author shows potential, though, because although I didn't like it I kept reading to the end.
This is a very disjointed story. Few, if any, of the characters are particularly likeable and their situations don't seem very realistic. I spent most of the book WAITING for something to happen and when it finally pulled you in and picked up steam, it was simply to wrap up.
Katie O'Rourke
Karen McQuestion's debut novel was the first self-published Kindle book to be optioned for a movie. And here's why: her characters are like real people.

The plot of A Scattered Life moves a bit slowly. I got the impression that nothing was really happening. But the characters are so believable and likable that I didn't really mind. I was content just to be in their company, listening to their conversations and finding truth and familiarity in the more mundane dramas of real life: A husband who do
Laura Belgrave
There's something in Karen McQuestion's novel that's reminiscent in both the style and family drama found in some of Anne Tyler's novels and Judith Guest's Ordinary People.

A Scattered Life brings together people looking for stability — or at least that's what they initially believe — and those who live fully, and damned what the neighbors think.

Not a one of the characters is without flaw. There's Skyla, resentfully suppressing her own nature to accommodate her husband's practical side. There's
Barbara Sissel
Sep 04, 2011 Barbara Sissel added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All fans of fiction about women, mothers & daughters, friendships, love and relationships
I so admire this for an opening sentence: Skyla’s earliest memory of Thomas was linked with the smell of beer and the taste of blood. This is how Karen McQuestion begins her e-novel, A Scattered Life. I was hooked from the start. Skyla ends up marrying Thomas and within a few years, they have a daughter Nora and settle into regular life. But life is never regular and neither are people and Skyla and Thomas are no exception. They watch with interest, and a good deal of consternation on Thomas’s p ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I'm going to give this book an "E" for effort. I felt a bit more respect for it when I learned the author had published it herself as an eBook and was the first of such picked up by Kindle (or something like that). Learning that also answered some of my questions, mainly "How the hell did this thing get published??" and "Where was the editor???" I think there was a good, sweet story line that had very little substance to back it up. There is not much character development, and several (ok, almos ...more
Read ages ago, just trying to get old Kindle books onto Goodreads so I remember that I actually read them at some point.
With A Scattered Life I have discovered a new favorite author. Can't wait to read all the other of her novels. This book was purely a joy to read. From the first chapter I realized Skyla was a character I wanted to spend some time with, and all the other characters as well were well-drawn and interesting. Roxanne and the goings-on in her household was a special delight to me, having 8 boys of my own. I did at least get 2 daughters, however. I wanted so much for Roxanne to have a little girl! Thi ...more
Three stars for being brave enough to self-publish your book. I thought the story started out very well. The characters and their relationships were intriguing (especially the mother-in-law). I also enjoyed all the Wisconsin references. I did not like the ending. It seemed rushed and overly melodramatic. I am a big fan of editors and I think this book could have been better if it had been professionally edited.
I wonder how this book came on my radar...and I'm thinking I should have read the reviews on goodreads before downloading it. I'm only about 1/4 through the book right now and so far have not found a character that I like or can relate to...and thus have to convince myself to pick it up and continue reading. I'll finish it because it is a quick easy read...but here's hoping that it gets a little more enjoyable.

ETA: well I finished it but had to force my way through it. There were a couple charac
The basic story is interesting (sort of) but the work is so underdeveloped and the characters are so anemic that I can't give it more than one star. This author needs an firm handed editor in the worst way--someone who can hand her work back with the comment "nice outline, now make a novel out of it..."
I loved the intensity of the characters- obsessively tidy Thomas, open-minded Skyla, the in-laws in all their bourgeois coceitedness, the wonderfully quirky Madame of the occult book shop- it is a plot covering a wide spectrum of events, some so unlikely to happen it is almost like real life itself invented it. And Karen Mc Question describes each scene in so much detail it is like a film running simultaneously in your brain while you read it. The description of the bookstore alone is brilliant. ...more
I'm too overcome with emotion to write a review right now. I'll just say flawless tearjerker. Ok, next day thoughts. If opposites attract, then Thomas and Skyla make sense as a couple. Thomas likes order and routine and is usually very practical. Skyla is quite a bit younger than Thomas and more of a free spirit, having moved around a lot as a child. They meet by accident. The characters in this book are all very well done, but not all of them are instantly likable. Take Audrey, for instance, sh ...more
wow... what a GREAT free kindle book. i am SOOOO glad i got this one!! toward the end i could relate to the book very much so and well...
just a really great story about women/friendship/relationships
I read this book in one sitting and really enjoyed the story and the characters. There were several topics that were introduced that I don't feel received enough attention but overall, I liked it.
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Karen McQuestion is the bestselling author of books for all ages. Some of her titles include Hello Love, Life on Hold, The Long Way Home, and the Edgewood series. Her publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and the national NPR show, The Story with Dick Gordon. She has also appeared on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning. McQuestion lives with ...more
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The Long Way Home Easily Amused Hello Love Favorite Edgewood (Edgewood, #1)

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“It's good to plan, but don't let the planning take the place of doing.” 6 likes
“Seems like sometimes life gives you what you need instead of what you want, if you know what I mean” 5 likes
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