Cover Image: All's Well

All's Well

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Member Reviews

Miranda Fitch is a professor at a small college. Once a promising theatre actor Miranda had a bad fall during a performance. Now despite surgeries, therapy and drugs Miranda suffers chronic pain. As part of her professorial responsibilities Miranda oversees the annual production of a Shakespeare play. As director Miranda has chosen All’s Well. The students are dead set against the play and are lobbying strongly for the Scottish play. Brianna is assigned the lead role in All’s Well but is leading the campaign to make the switch to Macbeth. Fortunately for Brianna her parents support the school financially so her desire to switch plays poses a real threat to Miranda’s vision of staging All’s Well.
During an evening at a local bar, Miranda riddled with pain meets three strange men who appear to know a lot about Miranda’s past and present day struggles. They claim they can help Miranda achieve her goals and indeed they do. With the strangers influence Miranda wins the battle to stage the play she wants and overcomes her chronic pain issues.
All’s Well is an intriguing and strange book. The storyline feels surreal and a magical or fantastical element is present. The description of Miranda’s chronic pain is vivid. 
I did like the book even though at times I wondered how the story would resolve itself.
Miranda and the supporting characters are memorable.
I would recommend All’s Well to a reader who is looking for an unconventional literary read. 
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advanced digital edition of All’s Well by Mona Awad.
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This was my first Mona Awad book. I have to say it took me ages to read as I found the storyline so odd and depressing. I know it was supposed to be a dark comedy but it did not resonate with me at all. While I did empathize with Miranda’s chronic pain, I felt she was a very negative character and it grated on my nerves. I too suffer from chronic pain from an autoimmune disease, so maybe the story of her health struggles was a little to close to home for me. 

While I was not a fan of All’s Well, I am extremely appreciated to NetGalley and Simon and schuster for my electronic arc.
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3.5 stars
Well that was weird, AM I RIGHT?!
Honestly I can’t say I’ve been more entertained by a book I could not figure out in my life. I barely had any idea what the heck was going on for the last 15% of the book, and I seriously enjoyed it lol. I needed more with the turn of every page. A super bizarre ending, but I’m not even mad that I haven’t the foggiest what the heck happened. 
Miranda made a great leading lady. She was funny and sad, and kept me coming back for more throughout. I was saddened by the way things happened to her when things were dark, and thrilled for her when things went her way. I was right there with her in her hatred of Fauve, as she was simply a weasel trying to make Miranda’s life hell. Also, Puffy Nipples was the funniest nickname I’ve ever heard, and that says a lot! 
A great read if you’re looking for entertainment and solid strangeness. 

Thank you to Netgalley for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
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I recently read ALL'S WELL by Mona Awad. Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for my #gifted copy in exchange for an honest review. Official publication date was August 3rd, 2021.

As a huge fan of BUNNY 🐇 , I knew I had to get my hands on a copy of this one as soon as possible. Awad knows how to write a story that sticks in your head, and is unlike anything you have read before. She's done it again with ALL'S WELL.

I am still trying to figure out what the heck I read, and how the hell Awad comes up with these stories. All I have to say is you won't soon forget any of her works, and her writing.

I would recommend this one to fans of theatre, Shakespeare, and dark fever dream magic!?! This is a story of woman overcoming her demons 😈...I think 🤔. 

Have you ever read a book that you can't stop thinking about, but are still not sure if you liked it or not?
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This is a tough book to review! Much like her previous book, Bunny, I did not love it, yet I was still oddly fascinated. Mona Awad is definitely a highly skilled writer, somehow mixing really dark, twisted, satire with observational humour. In this book her description of marking a paper, and of neighbours in a cycle of laugh-sex-laugh were both so vivid and on point. And yet, I felt obligated to keep reading rather than genuinely engaged. I am very curious to see what others say.  Thank you NetGalley for the ARC.
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I might have enjoyed this book more if I hadn’t found it annoyingly repetitive, ad nauseam in fact. Miranda Fitch is a former gloriously promising theatre actress whose career ended abruptly when she fell off the stage, injuring herself badly. Since then, her life has become little more than a hell of crippling chronic pain and a round of visits to surgeons, doctors, physiatrists, therapists, alternative therapists, none of whom have been able to bring her any relief, nor do the prescription drugs and drink she over-indulges in. Her husband finally gave up on her and left, and she’s heard from more than one practitioner that it’s all in her head. Even her best friend has lost patience with her. Does it seem that I’ve gone on too long about this? Well, try reading this  book! The first 100 pages or so are almost entirely devoted to exhaustive description of the exact nature of Miranda’s pain and the many therapies she’s tried. I very nearly gave up but kept plowing through because the book was so well reviewed. I thought, “This has to get better soon, right?” Not.

Miranda drags herself painfully (of course) through her days teaching theatre arts at a third-rate small college; one of her duties involves mounting the annual Shakespeare production. She’s insisting on presenting All’s Well That Ends Well, but her fractious students want to do Macbeth instead. Abandoned by husband and friend, contending with treacherous students and fellow academics, not to mention fatuous administrators, Miranda goes to a local watering hole, The Canny Man, to drown her sorrows, and then things get seriously weird. She has a—what?—vision or encounter with three weird men (from this point on, the plot stirs in a pastiche of elements from Macbeth and All’s Well, as well as other Shakespeare allusions) who seemingly put a spell on her or at least magic her in some way, because not only is her pain miraculously gone but she’s rejuvenated. Heck, she even has trouble keeping herself from levitating. Has she sold her soul to the devil? Can she really transfer her (former) pain to other people? You’ll have to read this to find out. I do feel it could have used heavy pruning.
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I received an eARC from Netgalley.  This was a strange book.  A theatre teacher with a chronic pain condition has her theatre group putting on "Alls Well that Ends Well".  She makes a strange pact and is able to give away her pain to other people.  The books was kind of nutty and weird but I did keep going and finish it.  I'd say overall it was ok.
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Mona Awad book All’s Well did not sit so well with me. The bottom line is I was not a fan. It took me time to complete this book and I could not fully appreciate it. The book is advertised as a dark comedy, I found it dark but not funny. The main character just complained, I get why… but could not connect to it. I wonder if Shakespeare fans liked it better? 
All’s Well novel is definitely uniquely creative!
 
Thank you #netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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Based on the Shakespeare play All’s Well That Ends Well, this novel explores the idea of what happens when you get everything you have ever wanted, and if it is truly worth it in the end. Since I haven’t read the original play, I can’t speak on how it parallels this story in great detail, however, after doing some research, it seems as though we get a good over view of the original story throughout the novel. But in my opinion it didn’t feel necessary to have read the Shakespeare play before reading All’s Well.

The character of Miranda was interesting to me. In some ways I empathized with her internal struggle of getting older and realizing that life didn’t turn out the way she envisioned due to circumstances outside of her control. Miranda’s internal chaos is highlighted through the story by the addition of fever dream like sequences that are par for the course in a Mona Awad novel, and something I enjoy reading.

There were were some parts of the story that I thought were a bit dull, and sometimes the main storyline of the play was not my favourite setting, but overall I liked this novel quite a bit, and I’m left thinking about this book days after finishing it. If you like weird fiction, and enjoy the type of stories that leave you wondering what the heck you just read, then you should check this book out.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC. This review was posted on NetGalley, Goodreads, Instagram and a more detailed review is on my personal blog (chaptersxthepage.ca).
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I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Bunny and was hoping that I would enjoy All’s Well  just as much, despite the fact that I have little to no interest in theatre and have no knowledge of Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well.” The beginning of the book was promising – it was refreshing to read from the perspective of a woman with chronic pain and I enjoyed the surreal elements at first – but the second half lost me. I can’t pinpoint what exactly didn’t work for me, but I was left feeling very meh about the book.
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This was a compelling and strange reading experience. Miranda, in constant chronic pain, is hell-bent on putting on Shakespeare’s All’s Well that Ends Well, contrary to her students and faculty’s wishes. 
When her pain suddenly disappears it’s impossible to determine what is real and what is imagined through the remainder of the novel. Is she imagining three men who have given her power to transfer her pain to others? Is the understudy for the main role a witch who can wish pain on and undone for those around her? 
It’s a rollercoaster whirlwind of a novel that is truly a joy to read. I’m still not sure what happened entirely but I enjoyed the ride!
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Mona Awad does some things very, very well.  For instance, describing chronic pain, filling her book with Shakespearean allusions without hitting all the same exact plot beats as any of his plays, and writing very intense scenes that have you on the edge of your seat.  What she does less well, in my opinion, is combining all three into one book.  <u>All's Well</u> is split into three separate parts and very distinctive parts that were enjoyable on their own but caused some tonal whiplash when read one after another.  I am not entirely convinced that the combination of theatre, magic realism and horror worked.

An interesting, yet odd novel, I went back and forth on whether to rate it 3 or 4 stars.  Definitely imaginative and very evocatively written, it ultimately just wasn't right for me.

With thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a copy of the book.
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3.5/5 

Disclaimer: I have not read Shakespeare’s All’s Well That Ends Well, and I have yet to read Bunny. I’m still excited to read Bunny because I genuinely liked the writing and humour, but I wish I read Shakespeare’s play prior to reading this book because I think more things would have clicked for me and I would have understood the brilliance of this book more. The book explains the plot of the play enough to grasp the parallels, but I still felt like something was missing in my own ability to make those connections. 

I’m going to keep this short:

Things I liked:
• the portrayal of disability, pain, and ableism and how despite Miranda’s unreliability, it never crosses my mind that she’s exaggerating or fabricating her pain, though most characters dismiss her pain 
• the writing along with the unreliability of Miranda’s narration from her pain, anxiety, depression, and insecurities that she projects onto others 
• the melodrama—to a certain extent because it is quite over the top theatrical and performative, but it’s also a novel about a play inspired by a play 

Things I didn’t like 
• the degree of melodrama—it’s a lot 
• the repetitive nature of Miranda’s daily activities and thoughts 
• the way it drags—I understand building up to the performance, but I think 50 pages could have been cut 

Thank you to @netgalley and @penguinrandomca for this ARC in exchange for an honest review!
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This book had great reviews and I really wanted to enjoy.

I read about 30% of the book and unfortunately, I think I will put it way for another time to read.
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This book came out August 3rd! If you’ve read and enjoyed Bunny by Mona Awad, then I recommend you pick this up. This book is definitely just as weird. Mona Awad writes so beautifully and her writing really sucked me in.

This book follows Miranda, who is a college professor and runs the schools theatre production every year, when they put on a Shakespeare play. Miranda has chronic pain and no doctor has been able to help her and no one really believes her pain. Mona Awad really makes you feel Miranda’s pain through her writing. 

Miranda wants to put on the play All’s Well That Ends Well, but her students want to put on Macbeth. When Miranda meets three strange men in a bar, things start to change for her. 

This book was weird, especially near the end and left me questioning what the heck just happened. But I ended up really enjoying it. I could not put this book down for the last ~100 pages. This book is labelled as horror but it’s more like a dark magical realism.
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Once I got into this book, which was challenging as I hated the main character right from page one, I couldn't put it down. I would generally assume that is the sign of a good book: I had strong emotional feelings about the characters and the story. I couldn't stop reading. I couldn't stop thinking about the book once it was finished. But, to be honest, I actually don't think I liked All's Well at all. I would certainly not read it again and I would not go out of my way to recommend it to a friend. But wow, I would absolutely agree that it was very well written. 

So if you love a well written book, and you love to hate a books characters (basically, all of them), then this is definitely a read you would enjoy. 

Thanks to NetGalley for an advanced reader copy.
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I appreciate flawed characters. I appreciate stories that are not always handed to me on a silver platter. I appreciate dark, ugly, messy realities. And All’s Well by Mona Awad delivers it all in spades.

At moments reading like a fever dream, a stream of conscience narrative that is choppy and abrupt and beautifully written, All’s Well is the story of Miranda, a disillusioned theater professor. She suffers with chronic pain, and is frustrated by the lack of answers that is offered to her by all nature of health care practitioners. In a haze of painkillers and alcohol, she moves through each day one very slow, painful step at a time. Until she meets three men who radically change her life.

Awad has written the realities of a life with chronic pain, offering the reader a visceral experience of the daily realities and frustrations. She has also depicted well the darker aspects of ambition and power, the drive to find satisfaction in relationships, and the grim humor of the theater world. This book will leave you questioning everything… what do the three men represent? Is there addictions issues here? Is Miranda experiencing a psychotic break? Am I having a psychotic break? But if Awad doesn’t leave you unsettled, then you’re not reading her right.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for the advance reading copy in exchange for my honest review.
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OH MAN!! What a ride! I absolutely LOVED this book by Canadian talent Mona Awad! Set on a university campus and featuring Miranda, a tenured theatre professor who lives with chronic pain from an accident long ago. This was one of the best books I've read showing how exhausting and frustrating it is for someone who has chronic pain and has to deal with disbelieving doctors and friends. Miranda's marriage dissolves because of her accident, friendships fall apart and even her job comes under attack. When she stages All's well that ends well for the Shakespeare production her class revolts leading to an epic fight between her and her students as well as a adjunct professor who is out for her job. 

This book was a bit fantastical and read like its own mini play but I was totally there for all the bizarre Shakespearean references and elements. I HIGHLY recommend this book for theatre lovers, Shakespeare lovers and anyone who wants to try to understand what life with chronic pain is like. This one far exceeded all my expectations and was excellent on audio too! Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy!
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Hey book lovers! I apologize for not posting for a while. I've been enjoying summer, including a long-awaited trip to Newfoundland to see my family. I'm here with a book review for All's Well by Mona Awad, a Netgalley arc inspired by All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare.

Here's a short video with a summary of All's Well That Ends Well https://youtu.be/XuC8FNrWLFk

Title: All's Well

Author: Mona Awad

Publication Date: August 3, 2021

Publisher: Penguin Random House Canada

Suggested Reader Age: Adult

Genre: General Fiction, Fantasy (Magical Realism), Horror

Triggers: chronic illness

›" 'All's Well That Ends Well,' the dean repeats, winking at me again. 'Just great. That one of the comedies or tragedies, Professor Fitch?' 'Both,' I say. And my own voice sounds richer, deeper to my ear. 'It's both.' "

All's Well truly is a comedy and a tragedy. AND a horror, and a mystery. Miranda Fitch is a 37 year-old who had a happy marriage to Paul until her hip injury after falling off the stage during a performance. She believes the bad recovery following surgery led to her chronic leg and back pain. The accident led to their divorce and her taking a job as a theatre professor in a high school. Her "enemy" is Fauve, the music professor who wants Miranda's job. This year's play will be All's Well That Ends Well. Briana is the leading actress playing Helen (Miranda doesn't like her), her boyfriend Trevor is playing Bertram, and shy Ellie (Miranda's favourite student) is playing the King. Miranda has a crush on the school handyman, Hugo. He's an an ex-con who fell in love with Shakespeare while in prison and now helps design and build the sets. Miranda swings by the pub after rehearsal where she meets a strange man. The bartender gives her a drink called "the golden remedy".

"He's still a fuzzy blur even though I've wiped my eyes."

Ellie offers Miranda a bath bomb/bag mixture of natural ingredients to help Miranda's pain, just like Helen offered to the King in the play. The next time Miranda visits the pub, the strange man is there with two other men. They somehow know her name, and they ask her if she'd like to see a trick.

"Blue skies in my blood blacken. Great weight on my chest. Spinal cord a column of fire. Can't breathe. Can't speak. On the floor. Cheek resting now on the cold floorboards. Three pairs of shiny black shoes pointed toward me, tapping. Tapping along to music. Music somewhere. Familiar. Old movie music. Making the floor shake beneath my temple. What's happening?"

What's happening indeed!

The three strange men are in a band called "The Weird Brethren", which is an interesting name...The weird religious member...Hmmm...and Miranda talks about hearing the song "Get Happy" and "Me and My Shadow" by Judy Garland.

Get Happy Lyrics:
Forget your troubles, c'mon get happy
You better chase all your cares away
Shout "hallelujah", c'mon get happy
Get ready for the judgement day

Me and My Shadow Lyrics:
And when it's twelve o'clock, we climb the stair
We never knock, cause nobody's there
Just me and my shadow
All alone and feeling blue
Me and my shadow
Strolling down the avenue

"Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,
Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky"
- All's Well That Ends Well, Act One, Scene One

From here, it's a wild ride that barely makes any sense at all. Are Ellie's bath mixtures helping? Does magic exist? We don't know if Miranda is losing her mind, and we don't know what's real or fantasy. Embrace the madness.

› I use the CAWPILE method to rate books.
0-3 Really bad
4-6 Mediocre
7-9 Really good
10 Outstanding

› Characters: 8

› Atmosphere: 9

› Writing Style: 10

› Plot: 9

› Intrigue: 10

› Logic: 8

› Enjoyment: 9

Average 9

1.1-2.2 = ★
2.3-4.5 = ★★
4.6-6.9 = ★★★
7-8.9 = ★★★★
9-10 = ★★★★★

My Rating ★★★★★

› Final Thoughts
• All's Well is one of the best books I've read in 2021. Even after reading the book TWICE I'm still not sure I understand what was real or fantasy and I don't understand the ending at all, and I don't care. LOVED THIS!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the complimentary copy in exchange for my honest review.


*Quotes taken from an ARC copy and subject to change*
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This is a strange but interesting read.  Awad's distinctive, immersive writing style shone through in descriptions her protagonist Miranda's all-consuming struggle with chronic pain and her challenges staging a student production of Shakespeare's "All's Well that Ends Well".  Unfortunately, I found the storyline to be a bit slow and tedious, and ultimately DNF.
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