The Life and Loves of a She Devil

The Life and Loves of a She Devil

Fay Weldon / Jul 15, 2019

The Life and Loves of a She Devil Ruth Patchett never thought of herself as particularly devilish Rather the opposite in fact simply a tall not terribly attractive woman living a quiet life as a wife and mother in a respectable subur

  • Title: The Life and Loves of a She Devil
  • Author: Fay Weldon
  • ISBN: null
  • Page: 399
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Ruth Patchett never thought of herself as particularly devilish Rather the opposite in fact simply a tall, not terribly attractive woman living a quiet life as a wife and mother in a respectable suburb But when she discovers that her husband is having a passionate affair with the lovely romantic novelist Mary Fisher, she is so seized by envy that she becomes truly diaRuth Patchett never thought of herself as particularly devilish Rather the opposite in fact simply a tall, not terribly attractive woman living a quiet life as a wife and mother in a respectable suburb But when she discovers that her husband is having a passionate affair with the lovely romantic novelist Mary Fisher, she is so seized by envy that she becomes truly diabolic Within weeks she has burnt down the family home, collected the insurance, made love to the local drunk and embarked on a course of destruction and revenge A blackly comic satire of the war of the sexes, LIFE AND LOVES OF A SHE DEVIL is the fantasy of the wronged woman made real.

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    About "Fay Weldon"

      • Fay Weldon

        Fay Weldon CBE is an English author, essayist and playwright, whose work has been associated with feminism In her fiction, Weldon typically portrays contemporary women who find themselves trapped in oppressive situations caused by the patriarchal structure of British society.enpedia wiki Fay_Weldon


    572 Comments

    1. "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned", said William Congreve and that was the starting point for this story of envy, jealousy and revenge brought to life.The film, with Meryl Streep, was predictably good, but Streep has a particular style to her acting, it's very good, but it's acting and the woman in the book is far more passionate and emotion-driven than Streep's always-intellectual approach.Fay Weldon is a feminist but doesn't let her political beliefs get in the way of her understanding o [...]


    2. bbc/programmes/b0713vvtDescription:A darkly comic fairy tale about revenge, sex and power. 'The Life and Loves of a She Devil', written in 1983, is a gleefully bawdy satire on the war of the sexes, and a fable about the rewards and dangers of our capacity for transformation. When Ruth discovers her husband is sleeping with a prettier, richer woman, she makes ingenious and diabolical plans to punish them both. Ruth's campaign to punish her husband and his mistress is well-advanced, and now she wi [...]


    3. My favourite extreme-feminist novel. Being male and reading this was somewhat uncomfortable at first, but after a chapter or so I decided that for the duration of the book I was really a woman - then I could settle down and enjoy it. It's very funny and insightful.


    4. Fay Weldon was in the zone when she penned this masterpiece, and that pen of hers cuts like a knife. The movie made from this book is the worst butchering of a story I've ever been unfortunate enough to encounter. On the other hand the BBC did an excellent adaptation as a mini-series by remaining quite faithful to the book. This novel could be quite dangerous in the hands of the wrong woman. :-)


    5. This is a special book. It is disturbing, but not in the way you're probably expecting. It would not be inaccurate to call it a horror story. It's gritty and unapologetic storytelling suits the subject matter. It holds no bars and takes no prisoners. If you think this is a funny story about a woman's evil plot for revenge on her cheating husband, well, you are both right, wrong, and in for a surpriseor great confusion, depending on your capacity to perceive subtlety and metaphor. You will watch [...]


    6. I am pleased to say that my enemies compare me about equally often to both the women in this book, which I interpret as meaning that I'm as attractive as Mary and as smart as Ruth. Balance. That's what life's all about.


    7. When I say this book is brilliant, I do not mean it in the British sense, as in casually cool, nice job, well done I mean it is insightful, creative, well-written, highly developed characters and an incredible story line. Just when you think it cannot get any better, it does! And, which I love, is it makes you really think about thinks like societal expectations of women, good versus evil, and right/wrong. I haven't ripped through a book like this in years, and I loved every second of this book. [...]


    8. 4 StarsThis is one of those books for me - like Robin McKinley's Beauty. It has a special place on my book shelves and I come back to it again and again. Yes, believe it or not this feminist manifesto, revenge fantasy, social satire sits on the same shelf as Robin McKinley. This is a significant book for me; and that is all the connection that these two books need for me to keep them side by side on my bookshelf.In a nutshell - and I will try not to bore too much with plot synopsis or all of the [...]


    9. As a child, I stumbled upon a British mini-series airing on A&E in America based on this series and I was absolutely fascinated. It's been forever since I've seen it, but at the time I felt like I was getting away with something. It seemed rather racy to me at the time because it had some Adult Themes. It was also as though I were consuming some very high quality, decadent sweet that had no major nutritional value, but nourished me nonetheless. Several years later I indulged in another inter [...]


    10. I expect that many people who read this will have seen the film, Lives and Loves of a She-Devil. The film is a lot of fun, but it doesn’t really do justice to the Fay Weldon novel on which it’s based. The film with Roseanne Barr and her rival in life and love played by Meryl Streep is really very funny, but the book is much, much darker, and while like the film version, this is a tale of revenge, the book is much more subversive and its humour is black. You’ll laugh at the film but chances [...]


    11. From BBC Radio 4 - Riot Girlsby Fay Weldon, adapted by Joy Wilkinson. A darkly comic fairy tale about revenge, sex and power.When Ruth discovers her husband is sleeping with a prettier, richer woman, she makes ingenious and diabolical plans to punish them both.'The Life and Loves of a She Devil', written in 1983, is a gleefully bawdy satire on the war of the sexes, and a fable about the rewards and dangers of our capacity for transformation.It is part of Riot Girls on Radio 4, a series of no-hol [...]


    12. I picked up this book from my local library thinking it would be the literary equivalent of the 1989 movie with Meryl Streep and Roseanne Barr. I love the movie with inexcusable glee - - it's a guilty pleasure, the revenge is wonderfully satisfying and Meryl Streep is incredible, as always. Unfortunately I was sorely mistaken.First, the book is quite different from the movie. Or perhaps I should say that the movie is quite different from the book, since the book came first. I felt sympathy for t [...]


    13. This novel is something of a cultural artifact, from a time when feminism had won most of its legal victories but the idea of equality hadn't become socially or culturally entrenched. Consequently, although the book depicts the complete triumph of a scorned woman over her cheating husband and his mistress, this victory is mostly won on anti-feminist terms. Ruth shows herself capable of building a successful business (albeit, one partially based on the exploitation of other working women), and he [...]


    14. Hah! Well, this is a wild and wonderful book if you are fond of the idea of revenge or have ever day dreamed of it.Ruth is a ponderous creature of gargantuan proportions who is married to Bobbo, an accountant who happens to be in love with Mary Fisher, a writer of romance novels who lives in a lighthouse overlooking the California coastline.Bobbo, being a modern man, feels free to tell Ruth of his love for Mary Fisher and his excursions into her bedroom, while reminding Ruth of how inept, unlova [...]


    15. This is a subversive revenge tale because the desire for revenge is shown for the twisted envy that can develop for the target of the revenge. This is touted as a feminist revenge tale, but it is more of a subtle critique than the bludgeon I have seen it reviewed as. Feminism is critiqued. Men are critiqued. Religion is critiqued. Government, plastic surgeons, feminist communes, the poor -- no one comes out unscathed. Not to mention romance novels. The interesting thing is I didn't fully realize [...]


    16. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! Hmm, whoever said that obviously never ran into Ruth Patchett. She makes that statement pale in comparison! Imagine being born an ugly looking person--too tall, ugly moles with hair growing out of them on your face, wide set jaw and a passive personality and having to go through life with everyone looking at you as if you were a freak of nature. Yes, this was the life Ruth came to know all too well and it began to wear on her nerves, but nothing wore her d [...]


    17. I first read this book when I was in seventh grade, and loved it so much that I kept a notebook full of quotes from the book (such things as "I sing a hymn to the death of love and the end of pain"). When I reread it, I found it to be a lot more inherently disturbing than I had remembered. Ruth is a large, ugly housewife whose husband, Bobbo, feels justified in having affairs with more attractive, daintier women. He feels that Ruth should be happy that he married her and gave her children and a [...]


    18. This is the story of Ruth, a large, clumsy, ugly woman, married to unappreciative and philandering Bobbo and living as a suburban housewife. When Bobbo leaves Ruth for his mistress, Mary Fisher, a delicate-looking and wealthy writer of romance novels, Ruth begins her transformation from docile, long-suffering hausfrau to diabolical and courageous "she-devil," stopping at nothing to get her elaborately plotted revenge on her husband's mistress and to eventually take over her life.Initially, Ruth' [...]


    19. Yuck. That Ruth should get angry and rebel against the fact that only pretty women get any love, or that men are able to take love from whomever at their convenience is completely relatable. That she would use this anger to transform herself into someone prettier, and shallower, and ultimately become those she so resented, is not.The fact that this book has been so championed as a feminist novel, when its premise seems only to be power over men, selfish sexual practices, and making yourself "bea [...]


    20. This book was unbelievably shallow, mean, and petty, and I did not enjoy it at all. At first you sort of feel sorry for the main character, Ruth, because her husband cheats on her and essentially blames her for all of their problems. But her idea of revenge is to not only destroy the life of her husband's mistress, but to then take over that life. She becomes a horrible person who does far worse things than the mistress ever did, and we're supposed to still care about her and empathize with her? [...]


    21. Det här är en lika elegant som halvgalen liten klassiker, som jag läser med ett leende på läpparna. Jag vet inte om det var Weldons mening att man bara ska ta Ruths parti, men jag finner mig sympatisera minst lika mycket med Mary Fisher. Fjanten Bobbo (vad ÄR det för ett namn?) har jag dock inte mycket till övers för. Jag läser Nina Björks förord i den pocketupplaga jag har. Hon påpekar att Ruth i sin hämndodyssé mot Bobbo inte är tillräckligt feministisk. I dare to disagree! Ru [...]


    22. What a fun book. I remember seeing the movie several years ago, with Merle Streep as the ethereal romance writer, Roseanne Barr as the spurned wife, and Ed Begley Jr. as the adulterous husband.When the husband, an accountant, leaves his lumpish wife for the beautiful romance writer, the wife decides to get revenge. Little by little she destroys his job, steals all his money, burns her house down. and proceeds to the next level. She turns her eyes to the writer, dumps her children on her, starts [...]


    23. This was way more entertaining than anticipated! I've never seen the series or the film so I went into The Life and Loves of a She Devil completely blind and, as a result, ended up being blown away. It was incredibly gripping and well-written and I loved most of it. I ended up giving this four instead of five stars because the ending really creeped me out - ew ew ew ew to the last part of Ruth's revenge. But apart from that, I don't have much to criticise :)


    24. Compulsively readable. This dark (and often funny) gothic fairytale is a meditation on revenge, exploring what happens when a woman, pushed to breaking point, decides to rise above her "station". Diabolical!


    25. I really loved this up until, oh say maybe about page 200 or so. And then I hated the end. But overall I still liked it four stars enough.Down with the isolated, taken for granted role of the suburban housewife and mother! Down with being overlooked just for the accident of being born unattractive! Burn all the houses! Get revenge. Cold, cold vengeance.A bit of hell-hath-no-fury-like-a-woman-scorned with a dash of i-am-woman-hear-me-roar thrown in.I do love a good vengeance story, and this on fe [...]


    26. The plot of this book was genius. I often felt as though I was reading the screenplay for a psychological thriller and found myself unable to put the book down—I read it cover-to-cover in one day, clinging to each page. I found myself constantly surprised at the turns the plot took and unable to predict what would happen next. However, what is truly special about this book is that it goes beyond being a mere page-turner and presents a quite brilliant commentary on the balance (or imbalance) of [...]


    27. I was swept up and enchanted by this book almost from the first page, although towards the end the enchantment wore off. Ruth is described as a large, lumbering, plain, not pretty or attractive at all woman married to Bobbo, whom she loves. Bobbo is having a not secret affair with Mary Fisher, who is Ruth's opposite in every way imaginable, and whom he loves. After a family dinner with his parents goes horribly wrong, Bobbo decides he's had enough, tells Ruth she's a she devil, packs his bags, a [...]


    28. I saw the movie first. I know the movie so well, it hurts. It hurts, because I found the movie to be more entertaining, funny, and worth my time than the book. It found a way to take this story and flesh it out in a commercial way.The book encompasses the film, yes, but it continues and becomes sad. ***SPOILER*** Ruth undergoes a lot of plastic surgery to take on Mary Fisher's body and, basically, enslave her husband. Is it necessary? She really isn't the heroine, and I feel so sorry that she is [...]


    29. I moved to Amsterdam and went through a mad Fay Weldon phase because I lived next door to a junk shop that had almost her entire works for a few euros (it was a Godsend, that junk shop - English language books were expensive new and I read a lot of novels that I might otherwise have missed). It's a coming-of-age thing, reading Ms. Weldon. I briefly decided to hell with everyone else and I'll live my life any way I damn well please, inspired by her characters and her stories, and for some reason [...]


    30. This was a re-read for me, actually--I read it the first time when I was 19, and I still love it just as much. ANYONE who's ever been jilted and ill-used by a lover/spouse/partner and fantasized about getting the ultimate revenge, this book tells the (fictional, of course) story of one woman who actually goes for it. Some of her actions are cringe-worthye steps over a lot of lines, and makes unthinkable sacrifices. Many of the things she does would be impossible in today's tech-savvy world, wher [...]


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