All's Well




Miranda Fitch's life is a waking nightmare. The accident that ended her burgeoning acting career left her with excruciating, chronic back pain, a failed marriage, and a deepening dependence on painkillers.

And now she's on the verge of losing her job as a college theater director. Determined to put on Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, the play that promised, and cost, her everything, she faces a mutinous cast hellbent on staging Macbeth instead. Miranda sees her chance at redemption slip through her fingers.

That's when she meets three strange benefactors who have an eerie knowledge of Miranda's past and a tantalizing promise for her future: one where the show goes on, her rebellious students get what's coming to them, and the invisible, doubted pain that's kept her from the spotlight is made known.


Miranda is the definition of feminine rage. Her loss of body autonomy has manifested in her feeling defeated, powerless, and pessimistic. We experience her grief, her sadness, and her rage. Her anger at her powerlessness, that she struggles with simple things like walking and sitting, not to even mention she is a college theatre director with a group of entitled students who don’t respect her. All of this frustration is crammed into the body of a woman, and yet Miranda cannot let her emotions be seen for fear of people dismissing them again.

It’s not only just her not surviving the fall, but her marriage and her friendships didn’t survive. Her chronic pain is harrowing and you feel Miranda’s frustration. Miranda’s life is now just doctors, pain, pills, and theatre. She is stuck in a memory of the past, of her greatest performance ever- Shakespeare’s ‘All’s well that ends well’. Because of this, she intends to stage the same play and go back to a place where she shone. She clings to her past- the play that represented a time before her pain because she feels she has been robbed of her happinesses by that pain. Her injury overwhelms her life. Everyone ignores her pain, her husband, her doctors, her friends, her coworkers, and even medical professionals. She feels broken and unwanted, that she is no longer desirable though she longs to be.

Miranda is not likeable and it makes sense. She is hurting and unhappy, and her misery seeps through the pages. She is crass and spiteful. She goes from the depths of despair to a euphoric mania.

This book deals with illness very well, whether it be visible or invisible. Miranda feels a need to ‘perform’ her pain to convince others that her pain is real, as quoted by Awad herself, ‘And that act of performing inherently causes you to second-guess yourself, which is so scary: the pain is a reality that you’re living but because of the performance element of sharing it, your reality immediately becomes suspect

Miranda is an unreliable narrator who as the book progresses, absolutely loses it. Miranda meets three strange benefactors who once they enter her life, tilt it on an axis, and Miranda’s world of suffering changes.

The freedom from pain makes her delirious, and suddenly she gains back confidence and embraces her femininity. It is not pretty though, as in exchange for her physical pain, her mental coherency has crumbled. She begins hallucinating and no longer uses any logic.

All’s Well also touches on complex relationships, specifically relationships between women. The women in this story are cruel to each other, stemming from internalised misogyny. They find joy in each other’s failure in an attempt to succeed them.

An example would be the relationship between Grace and Miranda. Grace is a no-nonsense, straight-laced colleague who has never known sickness, and that makes Miranda feel resentful because Grace would never understand her agony. And it is true, Grace can never understand Miranda’s pain because she has never felt it before, thus she does not believe Miranda’s pain. She is dismissive and indifferent to Miranda’s struggles despite helping her- its cruelty in small doses that shape the final ending of the duo.

It is a challenging read, with it getting more unhinged as the story progressed. Much like Bunny, there is no real resolution or neat conclusion that answers any of our questions.

Mona Awad is the queen of fever dreams and chaotic literature. Her style of writing is really unique, with it being character-focused, a blend of reality and fantasy and her characters being a little insane.

Now for some gripes, I have with this book!

Literally, how did this play go? Like, I understand that we are in the head of Miranda who is a whole other thing, but the play itself is the foundation of the story and yet we don’t even know what the play is even like. The cast seems so unprepared and Miranda is literally working them to exhaustion but the play goes well? I was expecting the climax would hit with Miranda going completely insane and the play to be a disaster. It was kind of a letdown that it didn’t hit the peak of chaos and that Miranda didn’t go batshit crazy when she found out the play was a failure, mirroring her emotional state. The play she loved so much that eventually began to mirror herself, exposed her self-destruction.

But regardless of that, it was a really enjoyable read that I will definitely revisit.

Book Details

Published: 03 August 2021
Page Count: 368 pages


Content Warning Summary

  • Chronic illness
  • Medical trauma
  • Drug abuse