On My Life

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Aug 2019

Member Reviews

Brilliant. I’ve worked in prisons, and this book definitely gives a real feel and insight into the system, the failings and the daily structures. Jenna’s story is a difficult read, and for me slipped into the background compared to the day to day prison life, which became the real story for me. 

A brilliant read.
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Without a doubt, one of the best books I’ve read this year! I don’t want to spoil it too much but... really insightful view into prison life, heartbreaking, with an ending I definitely didn’t see coming! Twist upon twist. I keep recommending this book to everyone.
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Fantastic novel that explores what goes on within a prison environment. Didn’t see the twist coming at all.
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A fascinating story of Jenna who is accused of killing her boyfriend's daughter. It moves between "then" - the time leading up to the incident and "now" when she is on remand in prison awaiting a date for the trial.
The time in prison appears scarily realistic and I was really hoping she could be found innocent and released.
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Superb book. Really uses the setting to build up a sense of claustrophobic tension, not knowing who has set her up or why. I think there’s also a very poignant theme in here though about the challenges faced by pregnant women and bow stretched the resources are that they can access!
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For quite a lot of this book, my heart felt like it was in my mouth and I had total goosebumps in moments of revelation. This book was so easy to read and enticing. 

If I had to describe this book in three words it would be brutal, brilliant & breathtaking. I would honestly love a sequel to this novel to find out exactly what happens next; the writing style and the warmth of Jenna was really quite comforting. 

Being both chilling and thrilling, I was kept guessing for most of the story; following along with Jenna for every clue she uncovers and detail she examines.
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# On My Life # Netgalley 
A welll written book with a great storyline, it’s one that you can not ignore it just draws you in without you realising it’s so compelling. I struggled to put this book down. I can only imagine it being a nightmare, when you know deep down your not responsible for something yet people just do not believe you. It’s twisty and a surprising twist unexpected  at the end. Leaving you just wondering how you yourself didn’t see the end coming. After the end of this book I literally had to sit back half hour and put my head into thinking mode,  running through the book again with undeniable shock. Genuinely not to have seen the ending coming at all. Quite often some books just are not what we expected at the ending, yet it’s not often I am baffled to the point I was with this book. I definitely recommend this book as a must read if you by pass this book all I can say it’s a shame because it’s a cracker of a book
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On My Life has an excellent premise, I was so excited to be accepted for my request to review this.  Unfortunately the execution did not reach my expectations.  I have to say I still believe that this is a great idea for a thriller, I do think that maybe if the narrative hadn't been in this kind of "stream of consciousness" first person style it could have been a lot better.  As it stands it is confusing and often irritating to be living inside Jenna's though process for the whole novel.  She is not believable as a character who has achieved a good career and place in life as she demonstrates herself to be fairly unintelligent throughout.
As well as the story idea, which was great, another really good aspect to this novel was the portrayal of pregnancy for incarcerated women.  The character of Kelly was well placed and a really good plot driver, she was sympathetic and I found myself wanting to know much more of her background and story.
This is a difficult review as there were some parts of the novel I loved and some parts that I found not to my taste, such as the narrative.  Overall these good points have tipped the scale for me regarding the rating I have chosen to give as I feel there were some important issues touched upon that I have not come across in other works.
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I started this book thinking it would be about solving the puzzle as to what happened and exoneration. However pretty quickly it became apparent that this book was more about  life in a women’s prison.  Don’t get me wrong, I thought the writing was good but I felt I hadn’t got the story I signed up for.  There were parts of the plot that seemed a little too contrived and not realistic. I’m sure not all wardens are sex fiends, sadistic and/or lazy cba types.  The finale felt rushed and incredibly unbelievable.  I also felt there was too much repetition about the boyfriend and stepdaughter’s fate and while I’m sure a real life prisoner will keep thinking the same things over and over again, it isn’t necessary in a book.  The relationships were a little two dimensional except the relationship between the two girls in their cell, which I found quite touching.
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When I first started reading this it was thrashing my head because it reminded me of a Quentin Tarantino film, a bit all over the place. However it soon had me utterly gripped and I just couldn't put it down. This is one of those books that gets the cogs turning while your reading and trying to work out what had happened and who done it. I usually feel a bit let down by the ’who done it’ part because I find it's usually pretty lame excuse but this we an absolute shocker! I didn't suspect the real killer at all so was absolutely gobsmacked by the identity and by the reason. So very cleverly written and very addictive once you get into it. Thank you NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read this little corker that got me on the edge of my seat.
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This was an incredibly tense, exciting and thrilling read, it kept me on the edge of my seat and it really kept me guessing until the end. 
Set mainly in a women’s prison, this well written and detailed book absolutely blew me away. 

Thank you
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Ooooh, this was such a gripping read! I hadn't previously read any Angela Clarke, but this was a cracking introduction, and one that forced me to buy the Clarke back catalogue! I really enjoyed the character development and twists, and particularly the narrator's character arc.
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"On My Life" was a real rollercoaster ride of a read! It was full of pace and also hugely thought-provoking and I found myself with lots to think about whilst reading this thriller. It was a riveting page-turner that I just wanted to carry on reading to find out what happened next.

Though parts of "On My Life" were horrifying, this was emotionally charged storytelling at its best, complete with plenty of unpredictability and some truth-telling about life behind bars. I think that there are parts in this brilliant novel by Angela Clarke that will remain in my mind for a while to come.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Mulholland Books via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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A great read - the first book I have read by Angela Clarke.
Jenna has a great life, a nice job a great new boyfriend. But then a terrible incident takes place and the police think she has killed her stepdaughter and her boyfriend is missing.
She is remanded is custody. Finds out she is pregnant. What will happen? Will the truth come out? Are the police just mistaken or has someone tried to frame her and if so who would be so cruel?
Thanks to NetGalley for a Kindle copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Absolutely brilliant, I devoured this book in one sitting, had me hooked from the first page, the twists were amazing, I'll certainly be recommending this one to everyone.
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I've heard so many great things about this book, so I was super keen to pick it up. We are introduced to the framed, imprisoned, pregnant Jenna, who is in prison for killing her stepdaughter and potentially her fiancé, who is missing. Did she do it? Can she find out who did? And can she and her unborn baby survive the terrors of the prison where she's being held? 

On My Life is not just a brilliant crime thriller, which throws curveballs and twists at you at every turn, but it is also a poignant discussion of current affairs. There are mentions of Grenfell, Porridge, and the role the media plays in influencing people's judgements. An excellent read.
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A great read. Interesting and a very different sort of plot.
Jenna has the perfect life until she comes home and her stepdaughter is murdered and she gets arrested for it

Really enjoyed it
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This is a gripping story even though I did feel that some of it was very unfair. I did not expect that ending !!!
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Framed………in prison……….pregnant.

Jennifer Burns is charged with the murder of her fourteen-year-old stepdaughter and sent to HMP Fallenbrook to await her trial. Her stepdaughter is dead, her fiancé is missing, and all the evidence points to her. Jenna swears that she is innocent, but nobody is listening because all the prisoners claim innocence. She now has to adapt to the fragile ecosystem of prison life, cut off from everything and everyone she knows. It is like stepping back in time, no mobile, no Internet, no privileges, no privacy, male guards in a female prison, locked up for 23 out of 24 hours – the tiny, cold room is now her home. And then she finds out that she is pregnant.

The book vividly explores the issues expectant and new mothers face in prisons and shows how all the movies made about prisons are nothing like reality. There are many misconceptions as to the type of people who are in jail, the types of crimes they have committed and exactly what the prisons are like. In reality, eighty-four percent of women are in prison for non-violent offences. There are fewer staff looking after more prisoners in jails that are poorly maintained in ageing buildings. The officers are human, half of them barely out of school, and most of them not staying for long. If you are in prison you are dead to those on the outside, they are embarrassed by you because you have tainted everyone's lives. The treatment of the prisoners by the prison authorities is deplorable, and the treatment of expectant and new mothers is inhumane – how can you take a baby from a mother and offer her no counselling, no support? 
 
The book is gripping and has a shocking ending that I definitely did not expect. It shows prison life in its naked, visceral state, and I do NOT ever want to end up there! This book is about the prison system in England, but I think the conditions are the same in most other countries and worse in many others. Governments should all review their policies about prisons, the treatment of inmates and especially the provision of facilities for mothers and pregnant women.

Saphira

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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‘On my Life’ has a particularly claustrophobic feel to it, but there is an exuberant lively pace to the writing,
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