Has it's moments but ultimately too long and rambling

Watermelon - Marian Keyes

Opening Line:” ”I’m sorry, you must think I’m very rude. We’ve hardly even been introduced and here I am telling you all about the terrible things that have happened to me.”

Claire thought she had the perfect life right up until her husband James announced that he didn’t love her anymore and was leaving her for another woman. He might have picked a better day to deliver this earth shattering news than directly after the birth of their first child. Shocked, heartbroken and now packing some serious baby weight, Claire flees London and retreats back to her dysfunctional family in Ireland to regroup. Claire’s idea of regrouping is of course to take to bed and only emerge when the baby needs feeding or she runs out of liquor.

Eventually she does get out of bed, hitting her father’s dusty stationary bike to work off the rage and inadvertently the pounds. Yes her period of mourning has gone from devastation to depression to rage. And then she goes about starting her life again. Along the way one of her sisters drags home Adam, the cute, younger and (obviously unobtainable) man that honestly seems to be flirting with her. Before long Claire has almost forgotten James, well not really but he’s no longer her first waking thought and besides Adam has a really nice bum. So then the story gets kinda predictable because of course James comes slinking back. He has some interesting excuses for having his affair but now basically just wants everything to go back to the way it was!

Okay I have to talk about James, what an asshat. I understand he is meant to the antagonist here but jeez. It’s not so much his character I am judging but that of the author deciding our heroine would actually be dumb enough to consider taking him back after the shit he pulled. I mean he hasn’t phoned once or even asked after his daughter, in fact doesn’t even know her name and to top it all off he blames Claire for the fact that he had an affair. And then Keyes continued to write him in such a way that he actually comes across a bit psycho, with moods changing on a dime (yes she loves to use idioms) and yet Claire still wants him in her daughter’s life. I would be doing everything I could to make sure he never had contact with her. Anyways.

This was a super long book (614 pages) which wouldn’t have been an issue if the author had stayed on track. As it was this could have been cut by about 200 pages as the heroine’s silly (see annoying) inner dialogue prattled on with random off topic issues, spending 8 pages talking about the history off her parents’ liquor cabinet and other non-related issues. Some of her inner ramblings were funny but I’ll be honest it got to the point where I was skimming just to get on with the actual story (this continued for the entire 600 page read.)

I did enjoy the sections where it was written as though the author/heroine is talking directly to the reader. However I still never got a real “feel" for her. I also had a hard time believing that she was a new mother, her baby is such a non-issue throughout this book, just part of the plot and then she remains in the background as an accessory while Claire goes about her binge drinking and depression at her parents’ house. And with that in mind I would have to describe this as bitter chick-lit because while it has its moments of humour its always with a harsh edge so that you’re not so much laughing as cringing. 380jb3.5