Nothing fancy – a humble little Italia for pasta, and a nice red. We’d put the world to rights over red and white checked table clothes and tiramisu and I would die happy.
I digress, so the book. Keyes is just so dang clever when it comes to chick lit. Its chick lit as we all know – and love – it but so much more. Keyes writes about serious, and often dark, subjects from addiction to domestic violence and mental illness.
She tackles these ‘big’ issues thoughtfully, lightening the way with brilliant characters, clever observations and hilarious moments ensure the reader is never blue.
Watermelon is no exception, exploring issues of abandonment, loss and trust very early on. As well as men being totally useless – that old chestnut.
Keye’s books introduce us to the Walsh family – five sisters, and madcap Irish Mammy Walsh. I love that each book delves into the life of a different sister with supporting roles from the other family members we come to know and love.
The Walshes are raucous, noisy and quintessentially Irish, providing some side-splitting humour through their escapades.
I know I’m gushing, but trust me here, all of Keyes books are fabulous (or ‘fabuliss’ as t’Irish say). Watermelon is no exception. An utterly fabuliss read.
It’s a bit of a bugger for our heroine as the story opens – her husband leaves her for the woman in the flat downstairs. And it’s the day of the birth of their first child.
In a state of shock, Claire Walsh retreats back to the family home, baby in tow, feeling fat, unloved and seriously dazed.
It’s no surprise that our poor heroine, down on her luck, seeks solace down the bottom of a vodka bottle. Her days are spent chugging hard liquor, watching soap operas and trying to glean comfort from sisters Helen and Anna – who are struggling with some problems of their own to Mammy Walsh’s despair.
One night, in a drunken stupor, Claire stumbles across the old family rowing machine. Her sozzled state morphs into anger at her philandering, absent husband, and she thrashes it out on the rowing machine. It becomes a nightly ritual and as her head slowly clears, the baby weight melts away.
Cunningly, our heroines has just regained her svelte, pre-baby figure, when she meets Gorgeous Adam, a younger man who is extremely interested.
Just as life is looking up, Claire’s sniveling husband James arrives back on the scene, generously announcing he’s prepared to have her back, What’s a girl to do?
The Walsh sisters are all fabulous heroines, and Claire is no exception. Keyes’ heroines are always magnificently real. Fabulously, they are just like us with men problems, drinking problems and life problems.
As we are first introduced to Claire in Watermelon, bleakly she is a victim of all three.
The story begins and we suffer along with Claire at the grim turn her life has taken, before slowly but surely, she begins to see the light.
At the end of the book, Claire finds herself at a crossroads – doe she actually want her old life back, the life she thought she wanted? Or is it time to forge new paths, and select a new one?
We are swept along on our heroine’s journey – at times, both funny and sad. At the end of the book, Claire finds herself at a crossroads – does she actually want her old life back, the life she thought she wanted? Or is it time to forge new paths, and select a new one?
Claire is a good-natured and ultimately, ordinary, heroine, swept up in an extraordinary series of events. I was practically cheering out loud when her creep of a husband slinks back into her life, only to get a shock at her new-found strength and independence.
Candid, funny and refreshing – I’ve yet to meet a Marian Keyes book I didn’t like.
I realise it’s a tragic cliché to describe a book as ‘laugh out loud funny’, but with Keyes’ novels it’s just a fact. I chortled aloud to myself throughout the whole of Watermelon, much to my partner’s disgust. (I kept getting the raised eyebrow – the one that says, it appears you are enjoying yourself slightly too much for someone sitting on their own reading a book.)
I love the title of this book. ‘Watermelon’ is a bit of a deviation from the chick-lit norms of ‘Meet Me At The Beachside Café’ and the ‘Running in Heels’ variety. It’s also a self-deprecating jibe at our heroine, Claire, who during her pregnancy, literally feels (and looks) like a watermelon.
This is a great book to read for if you’re feeling a bit down about your own life – a great reminder that things can always be worse, and even when they are, you never know what happiness lies in store around the corner.
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