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I came across Marian Keyes by accident. My close friends don't really read as a hobby - they find it rather boring and a waste of time (something I quite disagree with!). I was in a charity shop and there was an offer on the books, three for £1.00 or something similar. I found two books I had wanted to read and struggled with choosing a third. I will admit I chose my first Marian Keyes book simply because the cover was bright pink and it looked nice and easy to read (I was shopping for holiday books!). The book was called Rachael's Holiday and was about a woman in her twenties struggle with alcohol and drug abuse, far from the 'chick-lit fluff' I was expecting. Marian Keyes style of writing is fun, quirky with the right mixture of humour when tackling a serious issue. I could not put the book down and was totally absorbed. I am now a life long Marian Keyes fan and have read most of her novels including 'Angels' and 'Watermelon'.
'Under the Duvet' is different from Keyes other books; this is a collection of various newspaper articles she has written over the years for different publications. Each anecdote is only a few pages long which makes the book perfect for flipping through whilst sunbathing/in the bath/having a much needed cup of tea etc. However, don't be surprised if you end up reading the book cover to cover!
Keyes observations about love, life and shoes are funny, witty and quite true. The first section is all about the 'glamorous' world of writing and publishing; Keyes soon puts the reader straight on that! The next section is about alternative therapies. If it's in fashion it must be ok...? With titles like 'Does my Base Chakra Look Big in This?' you can't help but laugh and cringe along with Keyes. There are seven sections altogether, covering everything from friends and family to religion ('Catholicism: Cheaper than Prozac, But is it Good for You?').
This book is a lot more light hearted than some of Keyes novels, although serious subjects are still touched upon (Keyes suffered alcoholism in her earlier years). The stories are thoroughly entertaining, refreshingly honest and will have you laughing to yourself - there's an anecdote for everyone!
Marian Keyes is the bestselling author of 'Angels', 'Rachel's Holiday' and 'Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married' and although most of her books have been firmly from the chicklit genre this book is slightly different as it is a collection of some of the comic articles that she has written for magazines & newspapers over the years and Marian herself has handpicked these and therefore chosen what she deems to be the best of her work.
One of the main reasons that I found myself drawn to this book was because it was full of short stories and therefore I thought I could leave it on my coffee table and just indulge in a few pages when I was looking for some light entertainment or when I wanted something to do whilst enjoying my cup of tea. This book really is perfect for that as the stories are the perfect size to read in your break at work or just when you want 15 minutes peace for yourself.
This book is one that I would recommend and the stories within it are well written and concise and there should be something for any fans of the chicklit genre to read. I enjoyed the majority of the stories but this book isn't one that I would get much enjoyment from reading again in the future and there was nothing memorable that particularly stands out to me. The stories aren't awful though so I will rate this book 3/5 and would only recommend it if you could pick it up for a bargain price like I did (50p from my local charity shop).
This book is 304 pages long and available from amazon.co.uk, brand new, in paperback form for £5.99 or from the Amazon marketplace from just 1p + postage.
____Under the duvet____
Since i have read all the other books by this author when i saw this i had to read it!!!
The first thing i have to mention about this book is that it is not fiction-it is a collection of stories that have happened in the authors life.
The book is split into sections and they are.
1.Oh the glamour
2.Mind,body,spirit and shoes
3.Friends and family
4.All grown up
6.Both sides of the irish sea
7.That's me away!!
Without giving away all the stories my favourite is one called Imeldas and how to spot them ,It is basically about women who love shoes. I think it is really nicely written. The author talks about how she falls in love for the first time and then we find out it was a pair of shoes. Its stuff like this that make the book so good.
She writes in a very honest way. Some of the things that happen to her i think is really funny. I think that is the perfect book to dip into as the stories are quite short. This is one of her better books and you can recognise some of the incidents that have happened to her in her books.
This can be picked up from 1p from amazon.
This review is of the second installment of Marian Keyes journalistic work:
'Further under the duvet'
First published by Michael Joseph in 2005, publised by Penguin books in 2006.
All the royalities from the Irish sales of the hardback version will go to charity.
This is not a fictional novel, this is a collection of short stories and articles written by Marian Keyes.
These include autobiographical pieces, serious causes, humorous short stories, a fictional agony aunts letters and more!
The book is split into seven chapters, the contents of which I will briefly outline here:
Chapter 1: Handbags and Gladrags
Short stories and articles about her love of shopping and all that comes with it.
Chapter 2: On the Road
Anecdotes and pieces about her travels. (Everything in the non-fiction parts of the book really did happen to her)
Chapter 3: Health and Beauty
Her experiences with one of her great loves: make up, her times working as a product tester for a mag and more.
Chapter 4: Woman to Woman
Tales of girl power!! whoo!!
Chapter 5: Friends and Family
True stories all about her family and friends and the unbelievable hings they get up to!
Chapter 6: But Seriously
More serious pieces about charity and her trips to Ethiopia.
Chapter 7: Short Stories
Including Mamy Walsh's fictional agony aunt problem page and 7 short stories, some previously published.
Marian Keyes has really led an amazing life and documents a lot of the things she's got up to in this lovely book!
A really good mix of different types of stories, sometimes I love books like this where you can flick through and read a few pages here and there!!
If you have read Marian Keyes novels, you'll love this but even if you haven't I recommend this book as she has a great style of writing. Definitely worth a read.
Marian Keyes is probably one of Irelands most famous writers at the moment. I would define what she writes as chick lit but with a twist. Even though all her novels are funny and cheerful theres always a serious subplot, be is drug abuse, post-natal depression or cancer.
I have read all her novels and enjoyed them, so when I laid my eyes on Under the Duvet I immediately decided to buy it. Under the Duvet is not a novel but rather a collection of Keyess journalism along with a few previously unpublished pieces. Most of the pieces of journalism have been published in Irish Tatler, but some of them are from Image magazine, Irish Independent and Living etc.
When it comes to the content of this collection it has been split into seven parts (or eight, depends on how you see it). They are
1. Oh, the Glamour
2. Mind, Body, Spirit and Shoes
3. Friends and Family
4. All Grown Up
5. Twelve Months
6. Both Sides of the Irish Sea
7. Thats Me Away!
The final (and eighth) part of the book is an extract from her novel Angels which was just out when Under the Duvet was published.
I know that some people find Keyess novels hard to deal with because they are just too much. I disagree with that I simply love everything she has written, and Under the Duvet is no different. As I said before Keyes has a lovely sense of humour and it shines through in everything she writes. Still she is not afraid to take on serious things. In Under the Duvet she writes about her alcoholism in a very straightforward way and I admire her for that.
Other memorable pieces are the one where she writes about how she investigated Synergy Dance, something that is supposed to reactivate your sex life (Does My Base Chakra Look Big in This?) and the one where she talks about the way that Irish people love to give intricate directions when asked the way (Do You Know the Bus Stop in Kilkenny?).
If I compare this collection to her novels the style is pretty much the same, however everything she writes about in Under the Duvet has actually happened to her. If you have read her novels you will even recognise some of the incidents as she has also used them as part of her fiction.
This is a perfect book to keep at your bedside table as the pieces are relatively short and therefore theres no risk you will fall asleep reading. Even if I was tired I always managed to read one piece before falling asleep, and since nearly all of them are really funny its a good way to end the day. I would recommend this book to anyone who has read and liked something else that Keyes has written. However if you are not yet acquainted with her works this is a good introduction, so if you like being entertained by something that can only be likened to stand up comedy (in the non-hysterical sense of the word) in written form then give this a try.
Prices start at around £2.90 at Amazon which I consider a bargain! Theres also a second collection out now called Further Under the Duvet (I wonder what shell call the third one ) which is very similar to this one apart from the fact that she has included some early short stories in it.
Novels by Marian Keyes:
Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married
Last Chance Saloon
Sushi for Beginners
The Other Side of the Story
Anybody Our There?
This review should really consist only of one sentence - the title one. But let me elaborate a little bit and explain my judgement and the number of stars. Marian keys is a very successful author of chick-lit, at least some of it with a serious bent. Her novels are simple, usually quite thick, readable stories concerned with "emotional landscapes"(in her own words). They mix humour and serious matters, with reasonably good ear for dialogue and something that might develop into an original voice and an apt hand for satirising social mores. One day. "Under the Duvet" is not a novel, though. It is a collection of journalistic pieces written by Keys for various publications, mostly Irish. There are also a few previously unpublished texts included. I read the book in one evening and this was probably my greatest mistake: these pieces were not designed to be read all-in-one-go and my experience was probably greatly damaged by the way I approached the book. But it is a book, right? A book could be *expected* to be read in one go and giving me instructions to "dip in" is frankly bit patronising. So I didn't dip in, I lurched in with my whole substantial weight and to be honest I really, really struggled towards the end. To give Ms Keys another chance, I re-read some of the pieces the next day and they read much better in single or double doses. Too much of a good thing turns into a bad thing then? Qualified yes to this question. Yes, they definitely should have stayed where they were and what they were: gently enjoyable, light pieces with some reasonably funny self-depreciating humour and occasional half-sharp social observation. Comparable to some decent non-product writing on review sites perhaps... Let me be fair though and start with what is good about the collection - as w
e already established that the thing that is bad is the sheer fact that it is a collection. Firstly, it is not entirely randomly put together. It divides into 8 sections (at least the paperback I read did): 1) oh, the glamour: the life of the author, the book-signing circuit both at home and abroad. 2) mind, body, spirit .. and shoes: a slightly dated (and mightily annoying to this reviewer) look at 'lighter' lifestyle issues including shoe-obsession, alternative therapies and plastic surgery. 3) friends and family: mixed selection of articles on family and social life, including having babies, weddings, dogs and parties. The phrase "womb is not a locating device" comes from one of these and is perhaps the highest achievement of the collection. 4) all grown up: a section on decorating, house buying, gardening and driving that tries hard to be funny but managed to really annoy me. It also contains the best and the most serious and perhaps the most honest piece of the collection describing Keys' alcoholism and recovery from it. 5) twelve months: a run of the year; month-by-month with notes on January gym-joining, St Patrick's day and Christmas parties. 6) both sides of the Irish sea: I expected a lot from this section, it seemed to be the natural subject but I found it sadly lacking in lustre and even a tinies bit of originality. 7) that's me away!: moany, moany Marain on holidays - I wondered why she bothers to go as they seem quite painful. 8) angels: excerpt from a new novel (now published). I can't say it made me run to the shop or library to borrow it. It fact it seemed positively badly written. The main one is probably the fact that with such type of writing you have to feel some affinity with the author (or author's persona, but as Keys claims to write about herself, I will dispense with the
persona business and assume that she really does). And the problem is that I neither like her nor belong to her social grouping. And thus what she means as light and frothy but perhaps somehow meaningful I find either sad or silly. She tries hard, yes. She makes numerous self-depreciating jokes and some of them are even funny. She does show some compassion and some understanding of the world about her. But why does she moan so much??? If you read the pieces in succession you will notice that at least half of them (or that is the impression I got anyway) are just moany and whiny about things that certainly don't warrant a several-hundred word column. This is definitely subjective and perhaps bit unfair, but hey, it's my review after all! She comes across as slightly obsessed with looks, especially her size; shoes, and many a thing concerning so-called 'style'. The shoe stuff is the biggest personal put-off as I *hate* shoes! She also seems to be very concerned with social acceptance and how she is perceived by others and 'what people would say'. It think the idea was to make such attitudes and behaviours funny but to me they are annoying and sad. It doesn't mean that I am never concerned about social acceptance or my appearance but I wouldn't excessively write about it in public! The final part of the book (excerpt from a novel) confirms what I was kinda' suspecting all along: she is not a brilliant writer. Her character(s) seem to speak in the same voice as she does and that is never a very good sign.. As you can probably guess by now, I didn't particularly like it. Several factors probably contributed to this dislike, most of them totally subjective (yes, it's me being difficult here!) which means that other people might as well find it a brilliant read. For me it generated few chuck
les and one thoughtful moment but all these were definitely outweighed by groans. I gave it two stars as each of the pieces would probably work quite nicely as a light piece in a magazine, it's the critical mass of them that is largely responsible for the bad impression I had. I added another star for the alcoholism piece. If you like Marian Keys novel you will probably like this book as well. I would risk saying that if you like widely-defined chick-lit you would like it as well. Being in your early thirties (and still missing being in your mid-twenties); having no children and living and working in London or another significant metropolitan area would probably help. On the other hand being intellectually-snobby, clothes-slobby, shoe-hating, non-working mother-slightly-Earth type of person is a definite contraindication. The book is widely available both in libraries and shops and can be bought for example at Amazon for £5.59. P.S. Thank you all for reading and please no comments of 'what the hell did possess you to read this?" sort .. Capital letters courtesy of: http://www.chuckleweb.co.uk/fixit.php
What a rare find! Marian Keyes has written a number of successful novels including, Last Chance Saloon and Sushi for Beginners. This book is a compilation of magazine and newspaper pieces that Marian has written over her career to date. Some were previously unpublished, others featured in publications such as The Sunday Times and Irish Tattler. The pieces have been arranged into 7 categories: 1) Oh, the Glamour – what is it like being an author? Tales of book launches and research. 2) Mind, Body, Spirit …. and shoes – A hilarious insight into the world of shoe fanatics and the eternal hope for the body beautiful! 3) Friends and Family – Relationships, weddings and in-laws – these tales make your life seem normal! If you buy this book for just one thing, it should be the article Push about what happens when your friends start having babies. Very, very funny and sooo true! 4) All Grown Up – A must for everyone who has even wondered when they were going to feel a ‘proper grownup’ rather than someone playing dress up! 5) Twelve Months – Memories from childhood. 6) Both Sides of the Irish Sea – How is different is life in Dublin compared to London? 7) That’s Me Away! – Holiday’s aren’t always relaxing! In Marian’s own words ‘I like the idea that this is something you can dip in and out of, that you can let the book fall open on a random page and just start reading.’ This book is perfect for someone who doesn’t always have the time to read a whole novel, or who likes to read on the go. Each piece only takes about 5 minutes to read which is perfect for on the bus or tube or before you roll over to tan the other side! The very best part is that Marian has donated the royalties from this book to the Simon Community an Irish charity that works with homeless people. More details about what th
e charity does can be found at the back of the book. Enjoy!
A collection of short stories and magazine articles.