Included with a Kindle Unlimited membership.
Get Fast, Free Shipping with Amazon Prime & FREE Returns
Return this item for free
  • Free returns are available for the shipping address you chose. You can return the item for any reason in new and unused condition: no shipping charges
  • Learn more about free returns.
FREE delivery Wednesday, July 6 if you spend $25 on items shipped by Amazon. Order within 12 hrs 4 mins
In Stock.
As an alternative, the Kindle eBook is available now and can be read on any device with the free Kindle app. Want to listen? Try Audible.
$$14.95 () Includes selected options. Includes initial monthly payment and selected options. Details
Initial payment breakdown
Shipping cost, delivery date, and order total (including tax) shown at checkout.
Your transaction is secure
We work hard to protect your security and privacy. Our payment security system encrypts your information during transmission. We don’t share your credit card details with third-party sellers, and we don’t sell your information to others. Learn more
Ships from
Sold by
Ships from
Sold by
Return policy: Eligible for Return, Refund or Replacement within 30 days of receipt
This item can be returned in its original condition for a full refund or replacement within 30 days of receipt.
A Scattered Life has been added to your Cart
Get Fast, Free Shipping with Amazon Prime
FREE delivery Wednesday, July 6 if you spend $25 on items shipped by Amazon. Order within 12 hrs 4 mins
Used: Acceptable | Details
Condition: Used: Acceptable
Share <Embed>
Have one to sell?
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.
Kindle app logo image

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle Cloud Reader.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

A Scattered Life Paperback – August 10, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 2,587 ratings

New from Used from
$10.55 $1.35

Enhance your purchase

Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more

Frequently bought together

  • A Scattered Life
  • +
  • The Long Way Home
  • +
  • Half a Heart
Total price:
To see our price, add these items to your cart.
Choose items to buy together.
Popular Highlights in this book

Editorial Reviews Review

Book Description: “Most people have everything they need to be happy.” The words latched onto some part of Skyla’s brain. She repeated the phrase to herself while she rang up books and stocked shelves. It had a certain resonance to it, but she doubted it was true.

Free-spirit Skyla Plinka has found the love and stability she always wanted in her reliable husband Thomas. Settling into her new family and roles as wife and mother, life in rural Wisconsin is satisfying, but can’t seem to quell Skyla’s growing sense of restlessness. Her only reprieve is her growing friendship with neighbor Roxanne, who has five kids (and counting) and a life in constant disarray – but also a life filled with laughter and love.

Much to the dismay of her intrusive mother-in-law, Audrey, Skyla takes a part-time job at the local bookstore and slowly begins to rediscover her voice, independence and confidence. Throughout one pivotal year in the life of Skyla, Audrey and Roxanne, all three very different women will learn what it means to love unconditionally. With the storytelling ingenuity of Anne Tyler, the writing talent of Jodi Picoult, and the subtlty of Alice Munro, McQuestion offers a satisfying debut that proves she is a gifted portraitist, a natural storyteller and an author to watch.
Amazon Exclusive: Carolyn Parkhurst Reviews A Scattered Life

Carolyn Parkhurst is the author of the bestselling novels The Dogs of Babel and Lost and Found, and recently published the acclaimed novel The Nobodies Album. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and their two children. Read her exclusive guest review of Karen McQuestion's A Scattered Life:

A Scattered Life is the kind of novel you’ll want to recommend to a friend without quite knowing how: as soon as you begin to say what the book is "about," all of the possible descriptions seem either too small or too big for the story contained in those pages.

You might say, "It’s about friendship and family dynamics and the unexpected ways our actions influence the trajectories of other people’s lives." Or "It’s about a woman who’s doing her best to make the life she has into the life she wants to live." And it’s your 7th grade book report on The Red Pony all over again: your description isn’t inaccurate, but it doesn’t come close to conveying the book’s gravity and substance, the particular pleasure you get from immersing yourself in this novel, as opposed to any other.

So you might try getting more specific: "Okay, the main character is a woman named Skyla Plinka. She’s married and lives in the suburbs and has a little girl, and her life is all very ordered and predictable, which she likes, because her childhood was tough and she’s always craved stability. She clashes a little bit with her mother-in-law, Audrey, who has different ideas about how a wife and mother should run her home and who would like to be more involved in her life than Skyla is comfortable with. But then a new family moves in next door, and Skyla strikes up a friendship with her new neighbor Roxanne, who’s brash and charismatic and has five kids and just loves living in the kind of messy chaos that they create..." And you realize you’ve gone too far in the other direction, zooming in on the details of an individual tree, while ignoring the vastness and beauty of the forest.

So here’s how I’m going to recommend A Scattered Life: From the very first sentence--"Skyla’s earliest memory of Thomas was linked with the smell of beer and the taste of blood"--Karen McQuestion had me right where she wanted me. Right away, I was there with Skyla, curious about who she was and what choices she’d made, and ready to live her life for a while, instead of my own.

McQuestion has a talent for creating characters who are layered and subtle, flawed and ordinary and exceptional, in the way we all are. The book alternates between the viewpoints of the three women--Skyla, Roxanne and Audrey--and their incomplete and refracted perspectives come together to form a narrative that’s fuller and more complex than the story any one of them might tell on her own.

McQuestion writes with a sharp eye and a sure voice, and as a reader, I was willing to go wherever she wanted to take me. After I finished the book, I thought about how I might describe it to a friend, and I settled on a phrase that says a lot without saying very much at all. It’s the way these conversations usually end: "You should read this. It’s good." --Carolyn Parkhurst

From Booklist

McQuestion’s debut novel focuses on three women in a peaceful Wisconsin suburb. Young mother Skyla found stability when she married staid math teacher Thomas, but with their four-year-old daughter, Nora, starting school, Skyla is yearning for friendship and purpose. She finds the latter in a job at a small local bookstore and the former in her new neighbor Roxanne Bear. Roxanne, a boisterous woman in her early thirties who has five children, yearns to expand her brood despite the reservations of her husband, Ted. Skyla’s mother-in-law, Audrey, longs to be a bigger part of her granddaughter’s life, but Skyla and Thomas hold her at a distance. Pushed to the point of desperation, Audrey starts spying on her daughter-in-law, and finds herself envious of Skyla’s friendship with Roxanne, which causes her to commit a serious transgression. A late-in-the-game tragedy feels engineered to invoke tears, but readers looking for a quiet tale about women learning to manage their expectations and find joy in unexpected places will enjoy this sweet read. --Kristine Huntley

Shop for global treasures with live virtual tours
Amazon Explore Browse now

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ AmazonEncore (August 10, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 255 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 193559706X
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1935597063
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 11.5 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5.5 x 1 x 8.25 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 2,587 ratings

About the author

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Click on the Follow link to be notified of Karen's new releases!

Karen McQuestion is an Amazon Charts bestselling author who's written more than twenty novels and has sold over two million books worldwide. She's also the co-host, (along with USA Today bestselling author Tess Thompson), of the popular podcast, BEHIND THE BOOK.

Her publishing story has been covered by the Wall Street Journal, Entertainment Weekly, and NPR and she has appeared on ABC's World News Now and America This Morning. McQuestion’s books share common themes of connection and kindness. She lives in Hartland, Wisconsin.

From Karen: To be notified of giveaways and book news, please sign up for my email newsletter at

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
2,587 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on September 2, 2021
8 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on May 16, 2015
17 people found this helpful
Report abuse
Reviewed in the United States on June 5, 2022
Reviewed in the United States on October 28, 2021
Reviewed in the United States on April 15, 2022
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2010
Reviewed in the United States on May 20, 2021
Reviewed in the United States on June 1, 2014
One person found this helpful
Report abuse

Top reviews from other countries

Alison Marie
3.0 out of 5 stars A scattering of dispapointment amongst a nice enough story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 27, 2011
3.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 19, 2013
Beechnut Fairy
4.0 out of 5 stars Relationships.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 16, 2019
Kindle CustomerDiane
5.0 out of 5 stars Again wonderful read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 28, 2016
Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars A Scattered Life
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 26, 2014