Sunday, August 06, 2006

Watermelon by Marian Keyes

February the fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me...I can only assume the two events weren't entirely unrelated.

Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he's leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he's in for a bit of a surprise.

Having read several Marian Keyes books and enjoyed them, with Last Chance Saloon being my favourite, I wanted to go back to the beginning and read the Walsh sisters books in order, starting with Watermelon.

It is interesting to read this book after some of the others because I think it is possible to see the development of Keyes through the different styles. Marian Keyes excels at writing chicklit novels that aren't afraid to deal with hard issues, whether it be infidelity as in here, or depression, rejection or whatever the issues is, and she manages to do it with style and humour. It has to be said though that in this book the humour and the tone are much darker than in some of the other books that I have read, with maybe a hint of desperation. My personal opinion is that Keyes has learnt over time to write a better balanced book, and better paced between the highs and lows of the storyline.

In this book, Claire Webster gives birth to her beautiful baby daughter, only to be told shortly afterwards that her husband James is leaving her for another woman. Claire had no clue that this was coming and falls completely to pieces, ending up going home to her parents house in Dublin. After completely losing the plot for a while, she gradually begins to rebuild her life and her self esteem. But the question is...will James come back into her life and destroy her fragile self esteem, or will Claire managed to hold on to what she has built around her.

It has to be said that James is a complete bastard. Absolutely, completely manipulative and horrible - maybe even to the point of being a caricature. Claire seems lovely, and lets just say there is a too good to be true character that is just scrummy.

If I have any major criticism of this novel it is the time frame. Unfortunately I can't explain this without spoiling so .....

********Spoiler Alert On*********

Claire gives birth, goes back to Ireland, collapses in an alcohol induced stupor
(all pretty much understandable), but within the space of six weeks she has met a really nice guy and has sex with him. Within another couple of weeks she has contemplated a reunion with James, decided that she doesn't love him at all anymore. All of this happens at a completely breakneck pace. Of course, I could just be jealous that I couldn't done it, and still haven't met anyone new after, well let's just say a long time, but this isn't really supposed to be about me!

*********Spoiler Alert Off*********

During the last few chapters the closing events of the books cover a longer time span, but crammed into only a few pages, leaving it feeling rushed.

Overall, this was an entertaining read, although personally I think there was some problems with pacing. I will be reading more of the Walsh sisters though, as this was a promising start to their stories, with kookie and interesting characters, as well as an interesting family dynamic that will come into play in future books I am sure!

Rating 3.5/5


  1. I read Rachel's Holiday and then found out there were more books about the Walsh sisters. I read Angels, but haven't read Watermelon yet. I think there's just the three, right? Will have to give Watermelon a go soon.

  2. I have this book in my TBR list to read, I might give this a go, I've been meanign to read MK for a while now but have never gotten around to it...good review sweetie, very informative. I'll keep the dark things in mind as well.

  3. I wish I could reread this one, but I had the brilliant idea of lending it to a coworker, and when I left that job pretty suddenly a month later, I just didn't think of asking for it back. And now I have no idea where to find this woman. So unless I run into Paulina on the street (not that improbable here in Montevideo), I'll have to buy it again :-(

  4. Kristina, her latest one "Anybody Out There?" is a Walsh sister book as well.

    Dylan, it is definitely worth giving a go. I definitely liked Last Chance Saloon more.

    Rosario, I have a couple of books that have disappeared like that. Very annoying! Hopefully you'll run into Paulina soon!

  5. I think I liked this the least the Keyes books. I just didn't like it at all. I think Rachel's Holiday is my favourite of the Walsh family books.

  6. Thanks for the review. Very useful. I'm always on the lookout for books that fit my wife's reading tastes.

    To Love, Honor and Dismay