Top positive review
Another terrific Marian Keyes
Reviewed in Australia on 8 February 2020
Keyes is at the top of her game with a compulsively readable book about the lively Casey family. It starts with a memorable extended family dinner where - thanks to concussion - Cara blurts secrets to the dismay of everyone, including herself. We then go back in time to find out what brought them all to this point. Keyes is really good at nailing the complexities of a modern Irish family. The family centres round bossy, live wire Jessie, mother of five, who runs her own business and has a spending problem. The little kids are particularly good at saying funny things. Lots of issues are thrown into the mix: bulimia and the plight of asylum seekers to name but two. The bad guy of the book is a brother in law of Jessie’s. He starts off fairly nuanced but emerges as a an ignoble, selfish prick. Perhaps he’s painted a little too black but my goodness - men like this really do exist and it’s so satisfying to have a character you can heartily despise. (Which is an ignoble emotion in itself, isn’t it?)
We’re given the background of all the main characters as they go through their various dramas. So we understand, for example, why the three Casey brothers react differently to their upbringing by cold, judgmental parents, particularly as they parent their own children, or not. For balance, other parents described are much more loveable. Keyes has created quite a large cast of characters and gives them all their due while making it easy to follow who’s who. Her trademark Irish wit and up to date slang make for a greedy read. Having demolished the whole thing in one hit it’s now time to return to reality. And a PS: the Irish elections are soon and this book gives some insight into the most pressing election issue: the housing shortage. Airbnb has had a worldwide impact on that.