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Between a Mother and Her Child

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For Maggie and Bill it was love at first sight. One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning!


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For Maggie and Bill it was love at first sight. One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning!

30 review for Between a Mother and Her Child

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ruth Booth

    I really wish I could give 4.5 stars. 4 was just not high enough, but this wasn't quite a 5 star book for me This is a beautiful, emotional journey through the lives of the Barrett family. And how a horrendously tragic event in 2004 changed their lives forever. We are also introduced to Kate, and for a while her story runs parallel, but in no way linked to the Barrett's. The book is written in third person, with the PoV switching between all the main characters seamlessly. I have to admire the w I really wish I could give 4.5 stars. 4 was just not high enough, but this wasn't quite a 5 star book for me This is a beautiful, emotional journey through the lives of the Barrett family. And how a horrendously tragic event in 2004 changed their lives forever. We are also introduced to Kate, and for a while her story runs parallel, but in no way linked to the Barrett's. The book is written in third person, with the PoV switching between all the main characters seamlessly. I have to admire the writer for her skill in doing this so incredibly well, at no time was I confused or lost amongst the characters. This is not a book of twists and turns and high drama, although there are back story developments that help you to understand the characters more deeply, some of which I didn't see coming. It's a book that is tinged with sadness throughout, but as the pages keep turning, there develops a feeling of hope, of new beginnings. I believed in the characters, and I liked them all. Not because they were perfect, but because they were real. And the relationship between sisters Maggie and Liv reminded me in many ways of my relationship with my sister. I have only knocked off one star (half really) because the ending was a little too tidy for me. I am not proud of myself for doing this, and I don't want to give too much away about how the book ends, but needless to say, I have discovered a layer of cynicism in me that I didn't know existed I highly recommend this book to readers who enjoy a story about relationships and families and the web of fine threads that hold everything together. It's not a fast paced psychological thriller, it's not a book about distant war torn lands. It's a book about how tragedy and normal life can come crashing together - and how a family deal with the fallout. Enjoy.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jo

    I loved this book from start to finish - and didn't want it to end. I had read a few reviews which described it as over long and long winded. I thought it was beautifully written - as good as Things I Want my Daughters To Know - highly recommended. I loved this book from start to finish - and didn't want it to end. I had read a few reviews which described it as over long and long winded. I thought it was beautifully written - as good as Things I Want my Daughters To Know - highly recommended.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning. When Jake dies suddenly, they're swept away on a tide of grief that fractures Maggie and Bill's marriage. She and the children are left clinging to the wreckage of their family. And they need help, because in her grief Maggie is in danger of losing Aly and Stan too. Enter Kate, housekeeper, companion and shoulder to cry on. One impulsive wedding later and with the arrival of three perfect children, Jake, Aly and Stan, the Barrett family seem to have it all. Until the day their world stops turning. When Jake dies suddenly, they're swept away on a tide of grief that fractures Maggie and Bill's marriage. She and the children are left clinging to the wreckage of their family. And they need help, because in her grief Maggie is in danger of losing Aly and Stan too. Enter Kate, housekeeper, companion and shoulder to cry on. She's here to pick up the pieces and fix what isn't completely broken. But can Maggie trust Kate? And why is Kate so keen to help? When Bill falls for another woman, Maggie realizes she will have to fight to put her family back together - but will they still want her? I know it's said that you can't really understand the depth of grief unless you experience it but I really didn't understand some of Elizabeth Noble's characters. I didn't like Bill's new girlfriend at all and it seemed so strange that Bill and Maggie stayed apart and seemed to accept the permanent split in their marriage so easily. The only character I really liked was Aly, their daughter. She seemed real and to react in a 'normal' way to events. Their younger son was just too unbelievably happy and cheerful considering that he had special needs and had had to move schools with all the struggle that must entail. (view spoiler)[The end was completely unrealistic! The fact that Bill was OK about his surviving son being taken to the other side of the world, the implication was that his new child would now be his family despite all his protestations to the contrary. Also, if Maggie was such a devoted mother how could she bear to leave her daughter in the UK? (hide spoiler)] I had intended to give the book 3 stars but it's annoying me so much thinking about all the anomalies that I've reduced it to 2! Oh yes, and another thing, what about Kate? Would she really leave her home, take on a load of responsibilties and work just for the 'joy' of living with a family loaded down with grief????

  4. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I was terribly disappointed by Between A Mother and Her Child after really enjoying a couple of the authors other books. I have to agree that the book is far too long, with passages that just go on and on and on, yet don't actually seem to get anywhere and hardly add anything to the storyline. There is no doubt that underneath the pages of stilted conversation and analysis of every single emotion there is a great story line trying to get out. By the time the reader has been informed, yet again, I was terribly disappointed by Between A Mother and Her Child after really enjoying a couple of the authors other books. I have to agree that the book is far too long, with passages that just go on and on and on, yet don't actually seem to get anywhere and hardly add anything to the storyline. There is no doubt that underneath the pages of stilted conversation and analysis of every single emotion there is a great story line trying to get out. By the time the reader has been informed, yet again, of how X and Y are looking, feeling, talking,standing, the enthusiasm for the story has died. The story flitted from one character to the next; Kate was introduced very early on in the story, quite randomly and then not mentioned again for ages. One paragraph would be about Kate, the next would be about Liv - with no flow, this only added to my frustration, and in the end, I'm afraid I had to give up.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Crang

    I loved this book. I didn't think it was too long, as other reviews mentioned. Such a lovely story, I'm so glad my friend recommended this after my son had finished his gap year! Ok it was a bit schmaltzy, but it tore at my heart strings and I cried a few times, which means it really got to me. The story of how this family dealt with tragedy in different ways just reiterates that there are no rights or wrongs, but that it's good to talk!!! I loved this book. I didn't think it was too long, as other reviews mentioned. Such a lovely story, I'm so glad my friend recommended this after my son had finished his gap year! Ok it was a bit schmaltzy, but it tore at my heart strings and I cried a few times, which means it really got to me. The story of how this family dealt with tragedy in different ways just reiterates that there are no rights or wrongs, but that it's good to talk!!!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Felicity Terry

    Review to follow soon

  7. 5 out of 5

    Cynthia Baaklini

    Absolutely love it, I recommend it to girls don't think guys would enjoy it that much. Have 4 pages left, can't wait to see how it ends. The book revolves around a mother trying to cope after the loose of her child. Although it book was very long and could have been made shorter with more depth I still enjoyed it a lot. This book takes on an emotional rollercoaster, even though I am not a mother I was still able to relate to Maggie (the mother in the book) In the beginning of the book you see Ma Absolutely love it, I recommend it to girls don't think guys would enjoy it that much. Have 4 pages left, can't wait to see how it ends. The book revolves around a mother trying to cope after the loose of her child. Although it book was very long and could have been made shorter with more depth I still enjoyed it a lot. This book takes on an emotional rollercoaster, even though I am not a mother I was still able to relate to Maggie (the mother in the book) In the beginning of the book you see Maggie and Bill living happily together and it seems to be that they have a good life. The have money and are quite privileged, still love eachother after 20 years. They seem to be living a perfect life, then their eldest son, Jake, dies. Maggie gave up on her career as an Australian Olympic swimmer for Bill when she became pregnant. She moved to London with him and settled into her new role as becoming a mother. She never regretted it. But after their son’s death, Maggie becomes confused and distressed. Later we see Maggie shutting down on everyone when she asks her husband Bill to leave her alone. He agrees because he knows that that is what she wants. Her sister then comes in from Australia for Christmas and she helps Maggie to cope through this hard time. Elizabeth Noble was able to go through the layers of grief bit by bit. She breaks down the worst thing for a parent, the loose of a child. You feel extremely emotional after reading this book but you also feel truth in her writing.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Maria Nakayama

    I enjoyed it at the start, as I got to know the characters. A little into the book you realise what the issue they have to deal with, which is an emotional issue. You have to follow them on their journey to finding a way to deal with their emotions and move on. But, I couldn't really see the point of a lot of the dialogue and narrative. I had to skip several chapters, reading only one sentence a page. I still felt like I didn't miss any of the story. At the end, I didn't really feel like it prov I enjoyed it at the start, as I got to know the characters. A little into the book you realise what the issue they have to deal with, which is an emotional issue. You have to follow them on their journey to finding a way to deal with their emotions and move on. But, I couldn't really see the point of a lot of the dialogue and narrative. I had to skip several chapters, reading only one sentence a page. I still felt like I didn't miss any of the story. At the end, I didn't really feel like it provided a satisfying closure. If you think of this novel, instead of a story about these particular middle-class characters, who have no money worries at all, and the women mostly have no jobs except as being stay at home wives and mothers, then it will not really prove a very interesting read. But if you think about it being a sort of metaphorical exploration of what being a woman, a wife, a mother, truly is, and what it means to fill these roles during your life (if you're a woman), then it becomes a little more interesting. I felt, towards the end, it really was about the main character's triumph despite the problems she had, that she somehow still came out of it happy and loved, and cherished, and still financially supported by a man, but looking to maybe get a job in the future and earn her own way. I don't really know what the point of this whole book was. I can see the title suggests that it has to do with the bond between a mother and her child, but I found that, even though it dealt with mother-child connections, it also dealt with the main character's insecurity and sense of self-worth. I didn't really feel like there was a very close connection between her and her children. If anything, her interaction with her children felt a bit robotic, emotionless, kind of like "going through the motions", well-rehearshed kind of: have you eaten, how is school, and so on... okay, there are some things that seem a bit empty and emotionless. On the other hand, most of her emotion is shown in the anger she feels that her husband is cheating on her. I can expand more on this because it would be a spoiler. But there is a strong currenct of jealousy, especially directed at a younger woman. So, I can't really say that I feel very convinced that the main character is a model of motherhood, but I can tell she is going through a really difficult period of her life, like a sort of woman's mid-life-crisis. There's an event which triggered it but I don't want to mention it, because it would be a spoiler. In short, I would say it's a story of a woman whose life has been turned upside down, and how she, slowly, gets used to this new normal, and finds a way out of it that she thinks will bring some happiness in her life. It's esentially a long novel full of dialogue - not much happens except regular family meetings and visits. If you enjoy that sort of family drama, it's great. If not, you might want to let it go and pick up a suspense, mystery or thriller. To say it's a bit slow at times, is an understatement. Like I said, it's more to do with the theme of womanhood and motherhood, than action-packed scenes. I mostly enjoyed it, though some parts could have been skipped and it could have been shorter.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    I'm a fan of Elizabeth Noble's work, and have read a couple of her books before. Her writing style may not be to everybody's taste, but for me, the story she writes about ticks along nicely and you find yourself wrapped up in the characters. This story follows a family who have split following the death of their eldest son. Each family member has dealt with their grief in their own way (or not dealt with it) and each is moving on in their own way. Bill & Maggie, the parents have split following th I'm a fan of Elizabeth Noble's work, and have read a couple of her books before. Her writing style may not be to everybody's taste, but for me, the story she writes about ticks along nicely and you find yourself wrapped up in the characters. This story follows a family who have split following the death of their eldest son. Each family member has dealt with their grief in their own way (or not dealt with it) and each is moving on in their own way. Bill & Maggie, the parents have split following the death and different manner in which they dealt with their grief. Ally, their daughter is confused and troubled and the youngest son almost became a project to sort for Maggie. This book is a good lesson in how events can change people. Maggie and Bill still love each other but there was already a thread of doubt in their marriage which became too big a chasm when their son died. It does make you think about your own marriage and if it could survive such an event. Noble writes beautifully and this book made me cry in a few places, it is superbly written and very poignant in places. For me, another winner by Elizabeth Noble.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    This book would have been so very much better if it hadn't been 457 pages long. Up to a point, it's very good - as well written as you'd expect from Elizabeth Noble (although my ARC was so poorly edited that it did jar at times, including changing the names of characters at one point) and explores incredibly well the death of a child and how it impacts on the family. The characters are well drawn and likeable, the children real, and we get the opportunity to see things through all their eyes as This book would have been so very much better if it hadn't been 457 pages long. Up to a point, it's very good - as well written as you'd expect from Elizabeth Noble (although my ARC was so poorly edited that it did jar at times, including changing the names of characters at one point) and explores incredibly well the death of a child and how it impacts on the family. The characters are well drawn and likeable, the children real, and we get the opportunity to see things through all their eyes as they try to move on through their grief. The introduction of Kate doesn't happen till halfway through the book, and the addition of her story lifts the book a bit - up to that point, to be honest, it wallows a little, but very nicely. I really wanted to like it more, but it's really far too long for such a story and would benefit from the lopping off of 100 pages. Would I recommend it? Not really, I didn't think it was one of her best - but I do suspect that mothers might like it more than I did.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Dale Harcombe

    Four and a half stars. I was totally and emotionally invested in this story and the characters. Unlike some others I did not have a problem with the length as I was totally there with Maggie and Bill and the others. The death of anyone affects people in different ways and I found the way Maggie and Bill reacted after the death of their son Jake believable.Their children and in particular Aly are also affected. Enter into this family Kate - a catalyst for change. Kate is the type of person most pe Four and a half stars. I was totally and emotionally invested in this story and the characters. Unlike some others I did not have a problem with the length as I was totally there with Maggie and Bill and the others. The death of anyone affects people in different ways and I found the way Maggie and Bill reacted after the death of their son Jake believable.Their children and in particular Aly are also affected. Enter into this family Kate - a catalyst for change. Kate is the type of person most people would like to know. But she is not without her own problems and guilt. I loved this book and thought it was a good exploration of the complexities of people and relationships.Thankfully I have never had a child die but could empathise. Maybe only those who have lost someone close to them can understand the effect it could have. An involving and emotional read. Be prepared for a few tears.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Maggie Barrett's life is falling apart. After twenty years of marriage, Maggie finds herself alone raising her three children. Her husband has left Maggie informing her that he has found someone else. Maggie finds a friend in an unlikely person. The hew housekeeper, Kate. Kate has a secret of her own. Sadly this book and I did not make a connection. I say this greatly because for this type of story that intertwines so many different characters with each other I am expecting to make friends with Maggie Barrett's life is falling apart. After twenty years of marriage, Maggie finds herself alone raising her three children. Her husband has left Maggie informing her that he has found someone else. Maggie finds a friend in an unlikely person. The hew housekeeper, Kate. Kate has a secret of her own. Sadly this book and I did not make a connection. I say this greatly because for this type of story that intertwines so many different characters with each other I am expecting to make friends with the characters and not just connections. So when I don't find that in a book than the next thing I try to look for is the story line. Is it thrilling enough to pull me in and make me want to stick with the book. In this case I found neither. So I could not finish this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Steph Hall

    Having read all of Elizabeth Noble's books and loved them, I was totally disappointed with this one. It is ridiculously long waffle in most places, has very little "meat" to the story, and its like the author has lost her way and just drummed out something mediocre. It was a real let down, and nothing like her previous writing (The Way We Were, The Girl Next Door, being two of the best). What a disappointment. Hope she reads these sort of sites as she really needs a bit of a kick up the rear to Having read all of Elizabeth Noble's books and loved them, I was totally disappointed with this one. It is ridiculously long waffle in most places, has very little "meat" to the story, and its like the author has lost her way and just drummed out something mediocre. It was a real let down, and nothing like her previous writing (The Way We Were, The Girl Next Door, being two of the best). What a disappointment. Hope she reads these sort of sites as she really needs a bit of a kick up the rear to produce something back on her usual par next time or I shall stop buying her books!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kerri Jones

    The title of this book is really apt and is a snapshot into what this book is all about. I loved how the author explored the relationship/s from two different angles (Maggie and Kate). It is bittersweet but wholly acceptable ending.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Beth (bibliobeth)

    Easy to read and full of emotion, my first foray into Elizabeth Noble's world was a thoroughly pleasant one. There are a lot of characters, but I found this enriched the story rather than hindering it. I will definitely pick up another book by this author. Easy to read and full of emotion, my first foray into Elizabeth Noble's world was a thoroughly pleasant one. There are a lot of characters, but I found this enriched the story rather than hindering it. I will definitely pick up another book by this author.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kimberly Whitty

    I adored this book. I loved each of the characters and could see what was happening from everyone's point of view. I was cheering for them even when I knew they should be taking a different path because I felt it was all they could handle at the time. I cried all the way through as I learnt of their heartbreak, coping mechanisms and eventual breakthroughs. Reading some of the other reviews makes me wonder whether those who didn't like it have experienced real grief. It's my only explanation for u I adored this book. I loved each of the characters and could see what was happening from everyone's point of view. I was cheering for them even when I knew they should be taking a different path because I felt it was all they could handle at the time. I cried all the way through as I learnt of their heartbreak, coping mechanisms and eventual breakthroughs. Reading some of the other reviews makes me wonder whether those who didn't like it have experienced real grief. It's my only explanation for understanding how someone could read this book and not give it at least 3 stars. I didn't find it long (read it easily in less than a week) and was completely engrossed by it, looking forward to reading more and thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. The way the author describes the grief the characters are feeling and the way it changes them is completely authentic and believable.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    Beautiful book This book is a wonderful mixture of sadness and hope. It centres on a couple, Maggie and Bill, who met in Australia (Maggie's home) and settled in England (Bill's home). They went on to have three children together and make a good life. This all goes tragically wrong when their eldest child, Jake, is killed while on his gap year. The couple are torn apart by their grief and end up separating. This is where the book begins, with other details being told in flashbacks. It is so well Beautiful book This book is a wonderful mixture of sadness and hope. It centres on a couple, Maggie and Bill, who met in Australia (Maggie's home) and settled in England (Bill's home). They went on to have three children together and make a good life. This all goes tragically wrong when their eldest child, Jake, is killed while on his gap year. The couple are torn apart by their grief and end up separating. This is where the book begins, with other details being told in flashbacks. It is so well written and each character is fleshed out enough for you to understand their different actions and responses. That made the book very special, it's not often that I like every person in a story. Parts of the book were very sad but it is essentially an uplifting tale of a family going through tragedy and finding a new normal. Highly recommended, I loved it.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Suzannah Withers

    After reading, the 'things I want my daughters to know' I thought I'd crack on with another Noble book but about a family. I seem to choose her books that have some correlation to my life, suppose we all do. A good swimmer and friend, the son's tragedy was hard to read but gradually bringing this out whilst the household is going through changes and adapting to life was great. I found my self hating but understanding the husband but still, disliking him... I tried but I think that was the great After reading, the 'things I want my daughters to know' I thought I'd crack on with another Noble book but about a family. I seem to choose her books that have some correlation to my life, suppose we all do. A good swimmer and friend, the son's tragedy was hard to read but gradually bringing this out whilst the household is going through changes and adapting to life was great. I found my self hating but understanding the husband but still, disliking him... I tried but I think that was the great part about this book. Sometimes you do have to move on, whether you want to or not.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lesley Moorhouse

    The plot felt far fetched to me - why did Kate have such emotional maturity in her dealings with Maggie and her family but yet unable to show the same in her own life? Would Maggie really accept Carrie and her pregnancy so quickly? She and Bill weren’t divorced, were practically childhood sweethearts, has a family together...and yet they all managed to move on and live happily ever after with minimal unpleasantness. It just didn’t seem like real life

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mrs Melanie Hunt

    Heartbreaking, heartwarming, heartfelt This is the second time I've read this book and i can honestly say it roused the same emotions in me as it did the first time i read it. It made me smile, laugh and cry. A beautiful story about every range of emotions possible as well as very individual characters each with their own personal battles , trials and tribulations. Loved it from start to finish. Had to rate it 5 stars. Brilliant Heartbreaking, heartwarming, heartfelt This is the second time I've read this book and i can honestly say it roused the same emotions in me as it did the first time i read it. It made me smile, laugh and cry. A beautiful story about every range of emotions possible as well as very individual characters each with their own personal battles , trials and tribulations. Loved it from start to finish. Had to rate it 5 stars. Brilliant

  21. 5 out of 5

    Colin Hogan

    Thoroughly enjoyable, excellent character development, totally able to empathise with each individual. As a side note a well written book is more important to me than artificial genre classifications including what I consider insulting when it is suggested that "this is a book that guys probably wouldn't enjoy." Thoroughly enjoyable, excellent character development, totally able to empathise with each individual. As a side note a well written book is more important to me than artificial genre classifications including what I consider insulting when it is suggested that "this is a book that guys probably wouldn't enjoy."

  22. 5 out of 5

    Meirav Berale

    Sad to say I really slogged through it. Sad because it's actually a good story, the plot works well and the characters are realistic and likeable, I cared about them right from the start and that's why I slogged through... but the writing is extremely clunky! It felt like it hadn't been anywhere near a good editor, which is highly disappointing when a book's been published by Penguin. Sad to say I really slogged through it. Sad because it's actually a good story, the plot works well and the characters are realistic and likeable, I cared about them right from the start and that's why I slogged through... but the writing is extremely clunky! It felt like it hadn't been anywhere near a good editor, which is highly disappointing when a book's been published by Penguin.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Renee

    Easily connected with the characters. The story was unique and interesting. I liked that a "messy" life situation wasn't easily wrapped up. The main characters, the whole family, went through an unimaginable loss and everyone is lost in their grief. Quite a realistic take on the situation that is not overly dramatic, or syrupy sweet. I'd say give it a read. Easily connected with the characters. The story was unique and interesting. I liked that a "messy" life situation wasn't easily wrapped up. The main characters, the whole family, went through an unimaginable loss and everyone is lost in their grief. Quite a realistic take on the situation that is not overly dramatic, or syrupy sweet. I'd say give it a read.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Selena Peters

    Beautiful story of family tragedy leading to marriage breakup and how each rebuilds their lives without excluding each other. It took me a while to read but only as I could only manage a couple of pages per night. I think this would be a great read on a holiday where you could read it all at once!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Susy

    Phenomenal book. One of the best I've read lately. It touches on all the issues that are important to me right now - grief over loss of a husband, loss of a child, a child cutting off all contact; loneliness; aging. So well written. Highly recommend. Phenomenal book. One of the best I've read lately. It touches on all the issues that are important to me right now - grief over loss of a husband, loss of a child, a child cutting off all contact; loneliness; aging. So well written. Highly recommend.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Barbara

    It was readable and enjoyable. I liked Maggie's neediness and Kate, the family rescuer. Alys and Stan were well drawn. Also an interesting theme in a family that breaks apart after a tragedy. But the usual superficiality of a happy ever after ending and the black and white, wonderful sister. It was readable and enjoyable. I liked Maggie's neediness and Kate, the family rescuer. Alys and Stan were well drawn. Also an interesting theme in a family that breaks apart after a tragedy. But the usual superficiality of a happy ever after ending and the black and white, wonderful sister.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Charli Bate

    I love this book and have now read it twice. I know others have complained about the length but I found it hard to put down. I could identify with all the characters. It's a story of grief, family and motherhood Maybe my personal circumstances helped me enjoy it, but I would recommend. I love this book and have now read it twice. I know others have complained about the length but I found it hard to put down. I could identify with all the characters. It's a story of grief, family and motherhood Maybe my personal circumstances helped me enjoy it, but I would recommend.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Fiona

    Slow to start but picks up quick . Packed full of raw emotion and tells the tale of trying to pull family life together and move on after an event no mother should have to face .

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    It took awhile to get into - almost gave up - but I pressed on. It was a bit long but for the most part I enjoyed it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    Never dissapointed with Elizabeth Noble. Never!

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