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The Strange Year of Vanessa M.

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  245 ratings  ·  49 reviews
When Vanessa got into her car that winter's afternoon, she had no idea she was setting off on a journey with no return. An inner journey that would call into question a whole life spent living up to other people's expectations.

With tragic and comic episodes that bring together a domineering mother, a hippie aunt, a boring marriage, an insufferable boss and a friend who nev
Paperback, 224 pages
Published May 31st 2013 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform (first published May 18th 2013)
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  245 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Maria Carmo
Apr 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
This book is written in a very "monthly" way - the strange evolution of Vanessa during one year of her life, from the moment she leaves home in search of meaning and of herself, till the moment when, after a lot of events and mistakes, she finaly discovers where she wants to be and who she really is.

Maria Carmo,

Lisbon, 7 June 2015.
Mar 01, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle-ebook
This was a likable albeit somewhat predictable story about a wife and mother trying to determine what she really wants from life. Kind of a midlife crisis scenario. Vanessa's year-long journey to self-realization was entertaining enough, but the ending, while not a surprise, was disappointingly too neat and tidy. 3 stars.
Kobby Gyampoh
Aug 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This Review is by Http://

...So Flirting with Forty, minus a vacation-though there's an appearance of a surfing loving hunk who is ten years younger-and an irritating husband.

I am getting pissed at myself for commencing my reviews with: I love, love this book. But I can't help it, I really loved, loved this book (Apologies Niecey for the repetition. Still your unalloyed fan.) If not for the blog work, I would spend another week doing this all over again.

When I say, this
Jul 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So it's my turn to make a review of ONE of my favorite books.
This book is an easy-reading, and a can't stop reading type.
I think that in some point of our life we have the same questions that Vanessa has, and we start to think about our lives and "what could have happened if we do or we don't something..."
It's the second book of the author, and a more serious side of her, showing that mature and delicate topics can be addressed in an easy and fun way.

Now, for the HATERS that FOR NO REASON rated
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The Strange Year of Vanessa M. starts with Vanessa appearing to have the perfect life with a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a good job and a nice home. Appearances are often very deceptive and Vanessa soon finds herself questioning her choices and making changes. With the help of her hippie Aunt, the interference of her bossy mother and the unwanted advise of her self-proclaimed best friend, she makes changes one by one and comes to a conclusion at the end and finds what she is looking fo ...more
Kris Richards
Jul 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a delightful book, - it took me completely by surprise. The cover is simple and eye-catching, and yet looks incredibly professional.

The content is exceptional, a literary fiction tale of identity and belonging, it guides the reader along at a lovely pace. The writing is exquisite, and definitely breaks the literary mould of ‘slow and purple prose filled’. This is a book of clean language, each word has purpose and it paints the picture of Vanessa’s life, her journey, and ultimately her
Liz Keegans
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
An early mid life crisis? A true personal awakening? A little bit of both? What a year Vanessa.....and her husband, and her daughter, and her mother, and her aunt, and her co-workers.....had! Some for the better, some not. It's crazy to think we can end up living a life simply to please others or, at least, not upset someone else's apple cart. Although prompted into therapy because of a court ordered issue, Vanessa truly challenges herself, makes tough decisions and does the hard work to rebuild ...more
Ana Gama
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved the book, and I highly recommend it: it's simple, exciting (I read the book in 2 days), about the real life.
It's a very current story, which could have been experienced by anyone in our society. I think we all have a bit of "Vanessa" inside us, but read and confirm for yourself!
I've read the book before (Thirty Something: Nothing's How We Dreamed It Would Be) and also enjoyed a lot.

Congratulations and best wishes / much success to Filipa Fonseca Silva, who is an excellent writer!
W.S. Haggard
Oct 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
In spite of the sometimes awkward translation, I really liked this book. Vanessa is a woman struggling to find her own happiness in a world that has dictated her happiness until her 30's. She wrestles with issues that strike close to home while at the same time prove difficult for some people to understand: ambiguous feelings toward her child, dissatisfaction with her (by all accounts) adoring husband, conflicted feelings towards her cold mother. The story starts a bit slowly, but it is a great ...more
Jun 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The strange year of Vanessa M. is the story of a wife and mother that finds herself in a kind of non diagnosed depression/ general unsatisfaction about several aspects of her life. She decides it's never too late to seek happiness and starts a sometimes comic other times very serious journey to find it. I don't want to reveal more, but the author has a writing style that puts me "in the zone", as if I was watching the movie based on the book:)
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely a great read!

Definitely a great read!

it's easy to see women in Vanessa's same situation. what I couldn't foresee was how she would change her life. I truly enjoyed this book.
Deborah Judah
Oct 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
An easy read which explored the difficulty of just letting life run away with you. Very likeable characters.
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Strange Year of Vanessa M. is a somewhat strange book. I think Vanessa had a bit of a breakdown, or maybe delayed postnatal depression, but she eventually found herself back where she belongs.
Nov 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fácil de ler, mas bem escrito; uma história simples, mas cativante! Aconselho!
Easy to read, but well written. A simple story, but impossible to put down. I recommend it!
Nov 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
its been a while since i read a book without stopping. i completely fell in love with the humanity of the vanessa. a amazing, real read from which you can learn a thing or two. awesome!
Cristina Nóbrega
Dec 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I loved it!! I read this book only in one day becausa i was wonderfull with.the story! I recommend this book!!!
Little Red Readinghood
Oct 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: contempary
I enjoyed this story of a woman finding herself and realizing what is really important.
Mar 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not a bad book, although it wasn't what I was expecting. It is written in a way that makes it a little harder to read; very wordy descriptions and longer words that aren't really necessary. And honestly, some words are just over used in this book! If I never read the word "tedium" again it'll be too soon. I lost count of the number of times it occurred. On the positive side, the chapters are short so you can get through them quickly.
Sandy Samuel
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So sad

Vanessa starts out not knowing what she really wants out of life. Through every day experiences she finally understands what is truly important.
Sandra Lopez
Jul 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Is life really that much easier for men?...As long as he's got that just-out-the-shower smell about him, a man with disheveled hair and unshaven chin is sexy. A woman with disheveled hair, with no time to wax her legs, is a slattern who ought to be ashamed to show her face in the street." (LOC 27)

Vanessa is just plain bored of the tedium of everyday life. With work, family, chores, and the spectacle of the people around her, she wonders if jail would've been a lot better. I like her already!

the Kindle edition has some annoying typos and errors. The story was easy to get into, and the author does a great job of getting the reader to feel the anxiety & frustration that Vanessa is experiencing. The problem is that the supporting characters are very one-dimensional. I enjoyed reading this story and couldn't wait to get back to it whenever I put it down, but the end left me... just flat. It felt like the journey Vanessa had taken was the result of selfish navel-gazing and immaturity ...more
Nov 04, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
What an odd little book.not much happens but a lot happens. Don't really see the point of the story. The major incident gets significantly glossed over and the rest of the story is frankly rather pedestrian. It is translated from Portuguese but doesn't feel like a translation until you stumble over a couple of really poor grammar instances or horrendous typos. It reads like a pre-teen book.

Granted, having just read Nearest Thing to crazy and Into the Darkest Corner, any book would struggle but
Oct 26, 2014 rated it liked it
In this rather short book (after all it is one year in Vanessa's life), Silva brings forth thoughts that I truly believe most women experience in their lives, both personal and professional. It isn't about what shoes or lipstick to buy, but it is about choices. I don't think this specific book could be a Hallmark movie but I'm sure one has been produced on the same premises. An easy read that certainly could impact readers differently depending on where they are in their own lives and decision m ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick read - enjoyable enough to finish in an afternoon, but it could have been 100 pages longer. The book covers a year in the life of Vanessa after she's arrested and forced to endure 60 sessions of court-ordered therapy. It's an interesting ride of ups and downs, but it feels like we finally get to the meat of the story -- her relationship with her (ex)husband -- and it ends up in a few pages, tied up with a neat bow on top. A side note that caught my eye: the significant men in her life are ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own
What a difference a year makes

What a well written, interesting book! Just when Vanessa thought her life could not get any worse, she decides to leave it all. This book is the classic, "the grass is always greener...", but it really isn't tale. We spend a year inside Vanessa's life and mind, the deep sadness and eventually true happiness that she finds, makes this book an enjoyable read.
Liz Barton
Jan 06, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I got this as a Kindle freebie, and I'm glad I did not pay for it. Although the general story line had a lot of potential for drama, the whole thing fell very flat. Most characters were one-dimensional at best, cliche at worst. There was so much telling instead of showing in this book that it felt more like an outline of a novel than like an actual novel. Writing and editing were amateurish.
Nov 17, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: uk
Easy read and predictable. A woman leaves her marriage and her child to "find herself" because she is bored and unhappy. She makes self discoveries along the way, but nothing profound. She enjoys her freedom, but it's short lived because she gives it up again. The ending is predictable and disappointing.
Summer Peterson
2.5 stars.

I have mixed feelings for this book. I hated the main character at first. thought she was so selfish but I kept reading to see what she will learn. I'm glad she learned from her mistakes and became a better person all around. there are a couple "F" words.
Nov 06, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
Fairly good, although very predictable. Also, I think the main character touches on the sensitive subject of "how did I get here? What happened to my life? Is this it?" that goes thru a married individual's mind after so many years.
Jul 04, 2013 rated it it was ok
Awkward and neurotic writing, left me feeling ready for something else other than being stuck with a heroine that is hard to like.
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Filipa Fonseca Silva was born in a small town called Barreiro, just across Lisbon, in 1979.

She graduated in Communication from Universidade Católica, but ended up in advertising, working as a copywriter until 2017.

Her debut novel, “Thirty Something – Nothing’s How We Dreamed it Would Be” (2011) turned her into the first Portuguese author to reach Amazon Top100 and gave her international projection
“We spend our lives in such a hurry, so self-centred, that we forget the simple act of observing the life that’s simmering all around us. Looking others in the eye, seeing more than faces. Maybe that’s why we feel so lonely.” 0 likes
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