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Keeping it in the Family - Sinead Moriarty

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2 Reviews

Genre: Fiction / Author: Sinead Moriarty / Paperback / 368 Pages / Book is published 2009-04-16 by Penguin

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    2 Reviews
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    • More +
      30.05.2009 19:40
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      A quick and enjoyable read

      *****THE SYNOPSIS*****
      It's tricky for Niamh O'Flaherty, growing up in a North London home that's a shrine to all things Irish. But it's even trickier being an adult and realizing that her family expects her to settle down with a nice Irish lad, especially now that she's living in Dublin.

      When Niamh finally meets the love of her life he is the last person she would expect to fall for her. Pierre is older and an intellectual, but she loves his ability to laugh at himself, his calmness and strength of character, and, of course, his stunning looks.

      There's just one problem: if Pierre's parents -- Jean and Fleur -- are sniffy about their pride and joy hooking up with a girl who writes a fluffy newspaper column, her parents, Mick and Annie, are going to go ballistic when they hear that their daughter intends to marry someone who couldn't be less Irish if he tried . . .

      *****MY REVIEW*****

      Sinead Moriarty's latest novel, Whose Life Is It Anyway, shies away from regular chick lit and tackles the story of an inter-racial relationship and how it affects an Irish stuck-in-their-ways family.

      Niamh meets Pierre in a cafe and they fall in love. The trouble is: not only is Pierre not Irish, he's also black - which to Niamh's family is the kiss of death as far as him being a potential husband goes. Can Niamh and Pierre persuade Niamh's family that they can and will stay together?

      I really enjoyed Whose Life Is It Anyway? because it does leave regular chick-lit behind and we delve into the story of an inter-racial relationship and a family whose traditions do not - under any circumstances - change.

      It is a family-orientated novel and is written in first person - which I like. We start with an italicized paragraph before coming into chapter one in 1998. The story then alternates between 1985 and 1998 with Niamh's columns woven before each year.

      We learn the background of Niamh's family and why they live in an Irish community in London and we learn everything they went through during those early, teenage years of Niamh's. Then we flit back to the present day, 1998, with Niamh & Pierre and all the other characters present.

      I'm not sure why Sinead wrote the present year as 1998 because generally most chick lit novels are set in the now but hey, it works for the story and it isn't a bother.

      I loved Niamh's and Pierre's relationship and understood her reticence in telling her family about Pierre. The O'Flaherty family have many members, are loud and are very very set in their ways and you can also understand why they want Niamh to settle down with an Irish boy and, as such, keep it in the family (which, by the way, is an alternate title for the book - I read the Irish version titled Whose Life Is It Anyway?).

      I also really enjoyed the flashback parts to Niamh's childhood regarding her wanting to not be Irish, and wanting to do tap dancing instead of Irish Dancing. We also learn about her sister but I have to admit I knew what was coming - it definitely wasn't a shock.

      I loved how close-knit the family were and loved their interactions with each other. Niamh's mother and father were great characters and really well written. There were also the dozens of Aunts, Uncles, cousins and co. to keep the story going along nicely.

      Not only did Sinead tackle an inter-racial relationship but also alcoholism - I say tackled but it wasn't tackled, it was more a part of the back story of the O'Flaherty family.

      I think my only problem with the book was pronunciation of the names. I have no idea how Nuala and Tadgh are pronounced so I would have loved a list of characters names and their pronunciations. It's difficult to read a novel when you're trying figure out the names of the characters, I must say!

      Overall I really enjoyed the novel and found it an absorbing read.

      *****NOTES*****
      Also posted at http://chicklitreviews.wordpress.com

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      • More +
        16.05.2009 18:22
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        You won't put it down!

        I was really itching to get my hands on Sinead Moriarty's latest novel, so when I found Keeping it in the Family in Asda as part of there 2 for £7 promotion I was really chuffed. I loved The Baby Trail series, so was sure I would enjoy this one. The cover looks like standard chick lit, with a picture of a house with a couple at the door on the front with the title in metallic blue on the front.

        The heroine of the story is Niamh O'Flaherty, a journalist in Dublin. Niamh's family are very Irish. Her father moved to London to make a better life for himself and his family, but is fully integrated into the Irish community there. When Niamh went to study in Ireland and later settled there he had high hopes of her settling down with a nice Irish lad. His other daughter Sinead had a shotgun wedding while still a teenager, so all his hopes are pinned on Niamh for a big white wedding.

        Unfortunately Niamh has fallen in love with the gorgeous Pierre, an older linguistic professor, who couldn't be less Irish if he tried. When Pierre is offered a great job in Canada, and proposes to Niamh it is time for them both to meet each others parents. Jean and Fleur are not very impressed to find their only son is marrying a fluffy newspaper columnist who cannot cook, butythere reaction is going to mild compared to Annie and Mick O'Flaherty's.........

        The book is wtitten in the first person from Niamh's perspective. It starts in 1998 when she first meets pierre and flits between the past and the present. I'm not sure if this is a book that Sinead Moriarty wrote a while ago as the time doesn't seem to progress much past 1999 - although that doesn't detract any from the story. The past focuses on Niamh as a teenager, getting to grips with growing up - first kisses, drinking and dancing, while trying to tow the family line. She is seem as the rebel in the family, she wants to do tap dancing, while her sister Sinead excels at the preferred Irish dancing. Sinead is the clever one, while Niamh struggles, and she feels her family wishes she was more like her older sister. However that all changes when Sinead falls pregnant at 17, and she suddenly finds herself as the apple of her fathers eye. The build up of the story is really important, as it helps explain why Niamh is finding so herd to tell her family about Pierre.

        The story is really well written, and Sinead Moriarty is certainly going the right way to establish herself as one of the great Irish Chick Lit writers, such as Marian Keyes, and Patricia Scanlan, and I would recommend it to any fans of these authors. It broaches taboos that we all know exist but are rarely touched upon in chick lit, and are tackled in such a way that the book stays as a light read. It is definitely one that I couldn't put down, and I was desperate to get the baby to sleep at night so I could curl up with it!!!

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