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A Scattered Life

3.36  ·  Rating Details ·  6,174 Ratings  ·  551 Reviews

“McQuestion writes with a sharp eye and a sure voice, and as a reader, I was willing to go wherever she wanted to take me.â€â€”Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel

Free-spirit Skyla Plinka has found the love and stability she always wanted in her reliable husband, Thomas. Settling into her new family and roles as wife and mother, Skyla finds life in rural Wiscon

Paperback, 272 pages
Published August 23rd 2011 by Mariner Books (first published August 10th 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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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 Barb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of women's relational fiction
Recommended to Barb 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 -
May 14, 2011 Brian rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 03, 2011 Alicia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
May 12, 2010 Amanda rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
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,
Aug 13, 2010 Deanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 30, 2010 Nenette rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 09, 2011 dina rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 22, 2010 Brooke rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 18, 2010 Loida rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: never-again
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 19, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Nov 01, 2010 Jennifer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
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.
Feb 20, 2017 Knitcrit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't normally like "sweet stories," but this was written so beautifully that it kept my interest. The character development was done well. The simplicity of the story made it possible to emphasize the relationships between just a few characters. I really enjoyed this light read.
Maddie B
An okay read

I enjoyed this book, but not as much as her other books she has as of this one her books.
Feb 27, 2016 Lorrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kindle
There were so many things that I liked about this book. I first downloaded it onto my kindle because I knew the main character had moved into an old house. Old houses, my hook. Well, there was very little about the old house. Even the main character's friend moved into a big, old house. Not much about that house either.

There was quite a bit about Skyla and her husband, Thomas, and their odd relationship. They were opposites and it often hurt to read about their life together. Skyla grew up witho
Jul 16, 2012 Michele rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
Laura Belgrave
Sep 26, 2010 Laura Belgrave rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-version
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
Feb 14, 2017 Jodie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy, straight forward read. Enjoyed the way the characters came together and especially how in the end, the relationships and their importance on each of the characters lives worked out.
Katie O'Rourke
Jan 19, 2012 Katie O'Rourke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Kelly Brown
Jun 06, 2016 Kelly Brown rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that ending wasn't what I was expecting! This was one of those endings that found me reading until 2 am sobbing my eyes out. The main character is Skyla (pretty awesome name). The reader finds out about her upbringing and her current life, married to Thomas with a young daughter, Nora. Skyla is so multifaceted. I feel she can be relatable to many. She ends up becoming besties with a new neighbor, Roxanne. Roxanne is the mother of 5 boys with hopes of reaching 12 children. They are so opposi ...more
Sep 03, 2010 Pirate rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 09, 2012 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 04, 2011 Alexis rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: umm, book-club
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
Apr 19, 2011 Karin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 04, 2010 Kathi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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..."
Aug 21, 2010 Mich rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Read ages ago, just trying to get old Kindle books onto Goodreads so I remember that I actually read them at some point.
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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 NPR. She has also appeared on ABC’s World News Now and America This Morning. McQuestion lives with family in Hartland, Wisconsin.

Her website:www.
More about Karen McQuestion...

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“It's good to plan, but don't let the planning take the place of doing.” 9 likes
“Seems like sometimes life gives you what you need instead of what you want, if you know what I mean” 8 likes
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