Grown Ups - Marian Keyes
Reading Challenge Category: Free ARC from NetGalley
They're a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together - birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they're a happy family. Johnny's wife, Jessie - who has the most money - insists on it. Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . . Everything stays under control until Ed's wife Cara, gets concussion and can't keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny's birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets. In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it's time - finally - to grow up?
I was really daunted by the length of this but decided to challenge myself by requesting this whopper on NetGalley. It is 656 pages long. So I decided to tackle it logically and read 20% each day for five days. This set me at a steady pace, and I got through it quite easily and quickly. I did wonder, to begin with, though, whether I would persevere with it at all. There are a lot of characters to get to know, and a lot of them have very Irish names that are a bit of a tongue and mind twister. I did feel as if I were stumbling over the names every time I read them, and that didn’t really get any better the further in I was. Every time I picked it up the next day, I’d have to remind myself who they all were, this was quite frustrating as I found it hard to get back into the story every time after a break. There are a lot of Irish phrases and colloquiums that I didn’t fully understand. At the beginning of the book, I did feel as if I were missing out on an inside joke. This did get a bit better as time went on, once you got used to the style of writing and the characters. The story itself was quite immersing, the book blurb is a little bit misleading as you get a prologue of the ending of the book, and then it takes almost 80% to get back there for it to be about Cara’s bump to the head and all the truths coming out. The first 80% is everything that happens in the months prior to the big fall out. We follow Nell and Liam’s new marriage; we see Cara and Ed dealing with a secret Cara has been keeping and we also have Johnny and Jessie the patriarchs of the family, but do they have cracks as well? They have a myriad of kids between them (it was their names I struggled with), and they are all juggling the strains of life too. I liked Cara and Ed best. I could really resonate with the struggles that Cara was going through. Not wanting to go out with friends as it either means coming off diet or having to try and find something to wear that hides all your sins. I thought this was all very well written and had a lot of truth ringing out from the storyline. Considering the length, it was a relatively easy read (despite the number of people and the Irish idioms). I’ve not read any of Marian Keyes’ books before but know that she is a well-renowned author, so this was the perfect chance to give one of her books a try. This was a solid four stars, not a perfect book but enjoyable enough read that made me still pick it up over the Christmas season when I should have been doing other things!