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Lots of great characters, a book I couldn't put down!
Once in a Lifetime - Cathy Kelly
Member Name: wolfey59
Once in a Lifetime - Cathy Kelly
Advantages: Characters you can relate to and an interesting story
Disadvantages: Lots fo characters and wasn't keen on the flashbacks
Once in a lifetime something happens that will change your life forever, and this book tells of those moments. It follows the lives of various different characters and is based around Kenny's department store - an independent store located in Ireland. David Kenny owns the store and most of the characters are people who work there. They all have different things to worry about in their lives, but as the book goes on, their lives becomes more intertwined.
David and his wife Ingrid have been married for over 30 years and have 2 grown up children. Their marriage is very strong, or so Ingrid thinks until something happens in which she finds out a lot of things about David she wished she had never found out.
Then there is Natalie, who is living with Molly - David and Ingrid's daughter. Natalie's Mum died when she was very young and the only reminder she has is the picture on her desk. Something happens which allows Natalie to find out more about her mother which sets a big part of her at ease, as she has been itching to ask her Dad for information for so long.
Charlie is also another character who has quite a major part. She is a valued worker at Kenny's, but she has lots of problems with her mother. She has never been able to impress her mother and everything she does is not right. Charlie has an older sister who can do no wrong in her mother's eyes and she is sick of being compared all the time. Something happens in Charlie's life which makes her see that she needs to stop trying to impress her mother so much and needs to be her own person.
There are also a few minor characters who don't have many parts, such as Marcella - Ingrid's best friend, who has not got that special person in her life and who craves to have some company.
And then there is Star Bluestone. When you read the back of the book you get the impression that the story is all about her, when really it's not. But Star keeps the story together and fills in parts that would have been hard to explain without her. She doesn't have much of a part, but the part that she does play is very important.
I really enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. There was quite a lot of things that I could relate to and I really became quite attached to the characters. Marian Keyes writes on the back that it is like having a gossip with your best friend, and it really is. There were things that were said in the book that I thought only I felt, but the fact that Cathy Kelly wrote about them means that other people feel them too.
To start with the chapters were quite long and each one was dedicated to each of the different characters above. Then as things happened in their lives, they became more entwined with each other; the chapters got shorter and there were more than one character in each chapter which helped it pick up the pace.
The characters are built really well and start off with everyday mundane things in order for the reader to understand them and find out who they are. What I have said above about all the different characters might seem confusing, but the book is written in a way that you don't forget who is who and what is happening.
There are quite a lot of time shifts in the book and it covers quite a wide time frame. The first part of the book then skips forward 6 months and carries on. Then at the end there are quite a few flashbacks into the main characters lives. When Natalie asks her Dad about her mother the story goes back to when her Mum was her age and there is a small mini story which explains everything Natalie wants to know. But then this happens again for 2 of the other characters, which I felt was a bit unnecessary.
What I really liked was the introductions to each chapter, with little quotes and well known sayings, that summed up that chapter and also I can imagine a lot of readers nodding in agreement to them. I certainly did.
This book is very well written and tells of a really good story that lots of readers will be able to relate to. If you want something light hearted and true to life then this is the book for you.
Summary: One to read again