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Watermelon - Marian Keyes

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Author: Marian Keyes / Genre: Fiction

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      30.10.2013 22:31
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      Great read from one of the best chick lit authors out there

      Marian Keyes needs no introduction.  She is one of the best known and most popular chick-lit authors.  This was her first novel.
       
      The Walsh family are also well known characters in Keyes's novels.  This tells the story of Claire, the eldest sibling in the family.  The Walsh family have become almost cult characters, and Mammy Walsh (as an agony aunt) even appeared in Keyes's non fiction books.  There are 5 sisters in the Walsh family:
      Claire - the main character in this book
      Rachel - who lives in New York and her story is told in Rachel's Holiday
      Maggie - the people pleaser in the family, her story appears in Angels
      Anna - a hippy chick who is away with the fairies most of the time and who wouldn't wish ill on anyone.  Her story is told in Anybody Out There?
      Helen - She is sarcastic and selfish, with no real empathy.  Her story is told in The Mystery of Mercy Close
       
      Fun loving Claire is 29 and life is good.  She's married, has a good job and a baby on the way.  Then, on the day that she is in hospital giving birth to her daughter, her husband James announces that he is leaving her for another woman.  Left reeling, Claire does the only thing she knows how to and jumps on a plane back to Dublin and her chaotic family, where she can lick her wounds in peace. 
       
      In Dublin, she is comforted by her family as only they know how.  Anna and Helen still life at home and Anna is a great help (when she is alert enough to help).  Helen is her usual sarcastic, self absorbed self, but this is also a comfort to Claire, that some things stay the same even when everything else in life is changing. 
       
      After a shaky start, Claire does start to feel better.  When James makes a surprise appearance in Dublin, will Claire give him another chance?
       
      I loved this book.  It is written in an almost chatty style and it reads as though Claire is having a chat with you and telling you her story over a cup of tea and a slice of cake.  Keyes has a fantastic narrative style and she describes perfectly the thoughts and feelings of Claire. 
       
      As with many of Keyes's books, there is an important storyline that lurks just below the surface of the main story.  The subject of James trying to control Claire is subtlety done and to me, this way of dealing with emotional manipulation is more effective than being very in your face about the issue.  The way that this issue almost sneaks up on you is a perfect way of showing how this does happen in real life. 
       
      In my opinion, this book does reflect real life.  Most people have been in a similar situation and can relate to Claire's thoughts and feelings.  While the story is, understandably, negative, there is a fine thread of humour in the everyday.  A lot of the narrative is taken up by Claire's thoughts and feelings, although this does decrease as Claire regains her strength.  The book is very raw emotionally in places.  You can really feel Claire's heartbreak and her struggle to understand why James had treated her the way he had. 
       
      I had hoped for some reconciliation through the book, though the twist in the ending means that an even brighter future awaits Claire.  It shows that even when you are going through some of the worst pain imaginable, there is still some hope, even if you don't realise it at the time.  

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        11.04.2013 22:28
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        Marian fans won't be disappointed

        When 29 year old first time mother Claire is beginning to relax after giving birth to her new baby she is naturally pleased to see her wonderful husband of three years, James, come to see her. What she doesn't expect is that he has come to tell her that he has been having an affair with the woman downstairs and he is leaving. Shell shocked, newly single and newly responsible for a child, Claire goes to Dublin to spend time with her family and get her head together. Little by little she begins to rebuild her life and her self respect. The next time she hears from James will he seem so wonderful after all?

        I hadn't actually heard of Watermelon, despite Marian Keyes being my favourite author (!) Until I spotted it in a charity shop. I might be wrong but I get the impression from the 'thanks' at the beginning that this may have been her first book? Right or wrong, that impression had me prepared to not enjoy it as much as her more recent novels and for it to be slightly less gripping.

        Wrong. When a character appeared that I wanted to know more about I was afraid he'd only be making a camio appearance but thankfully not :) I actually found myself skimming the upcoming pages for his name to try and gauge whether or not I would enjoy what was coming up. Anyway.. Enough about that. I'll be going the game away next.

        As always Marian is incredibly insightful, there is no aspect of life she is not expert in and writes beautifully and absorbingly and I couldn't put it down. She's such a wonderful writer and I passionately recommended anything she's written, Watermelon being no exception. Although it probably wasn't my favourite of hers, I laughed, I cried and I was tempted more than once to punch someone in the face, actually gasping out loud at the brass neck of him!! But I'm giving it away again.. Read it and you'll see what I mean.

        I also love that it's called Watermelon.

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        30.01.2012 15:33
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        A really enjoyable read which will have you shedding tears of mirth and sorrow

        I have read Watermelon by Marian Keyes twice - once before becoming a mother and once after and I can say having been through childbirth and the trials of bringing up a new born baby that Keyes' observations on that front are spot on.
        To back track slightly. I am not usually a fan of chick-lit. I would hate to be seen as a literary snob but I do tend to find there is little real substance to get my teeth into and the characters are far too two-dimensional, the plot weak and so on but I found that Marian Keyes' books, whilst from the chick-lit genre, have far more to offer and Watermelon is my favourite of her novels by far.
        The story follows Claire who has just gone through the hugely stressful, exhausting and embarrassing activity of giving birth only for her husband to then tell her he is leaving her for their neighbour Denise.
        Claire is left distraught and finds herself with no other option but to move back in with her family in Ireland including her hoarde of sisters.
        The plot unfolds around her numerous attempts to win her husband back while struggling to look after a newborn baby and adjust to, what she perceives as, her degenerating looks, before she falls for her sister's handsome friend and realises that she could have a life away from her husband.
        There are numerous laugh out loud moments along the way and many bottles of vodka, on the part of Claire, consumed, before Claire realises that her life could be so much different but the path we are taken down is far from the stereotypical one of boy meets girl, boy breaks up with girl, girl meets new boy. Keyes is a far more skillful writer than that.
        It is her perceptiveness which really brings the characters to life in this book. It is through observing people that she has managed to capture those common traits that we often see in people and translate them onto the page so often we find ourselves thinking 'my mum would say just that' or 'my dad would react just like that' or 'my sister would do that'.
        The characters are far from two-dimensional. Despite it being very clear cut whose story we are following and who we should be backing there are times when we despair of Claire and can feel some pity for her husband. We start to feel frustration as she simply refuses to get dressed and get out of the house and start living again. We feel pity for her long-suffering family who are subjected to her abuse as she wallows deeper and deeper into her own despair.
        Keyes is very good at her craft as she knows just what the reader wants. She chooses a scenario which it is possible we could one day end up in or one which we can certainly empathise with and keeps the story very much on the straight and narrow of reality until the very end when she gives us a feel-good, empowering ending which very often in real life can prove unachievable but which we would all love to aim for.
        If you, like me tend to shun away from this area of fiction I would give Marian Keyes a go as you could be surprised and Watermelon is a very good starting place as it is a really good read.

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          11.12.2009 20:15
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          marian is a genius!

          This is the first of Marian's books that i read and after reading it iv started working my way through the rest of her stories. I must admit that until i read this i wasnt really interested in reading romantic stories about relationsship break ups and all that but Marians books are so much more than soppy break ups.
          Watermelon focuses around a girl called Claire who begins by explaining how after giving birth to her first child, her husband James comes into her hospital room to announce that hes leaving her.......for their fat neighbour, Denise! The great thing about Marian is that although this is a very serious and sad situation she still manages to put a great deal of humour into it.
          After James moves in with Denise, Claire decides to go home to her parents in Ireland and this is where the story gets really going. The story is written from Claires perspective and she goes into great detail about her mad family. Her mother who hasnt cooked a meal in years and her soap opera addiction, her domesticated father who does all the housework and her sisters all completely different but equally as funny.

          Follow Claire as she develops an urge for late night bike cycling, vodka drinking and a crush on a new man. Although the humour is brilliant with great stories about the family and Claires revenge ideas, it doesnt mean the issue of infedelity isnt seen as a serious issue. I found myself crying numerous times throughout the book as Claire goes into a deep depression after a few home truths and comes to terms with being a single mother.
          A great read and highly addictive.

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            05.08.2009 01:43
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            superb author who always delivers

            Without a doubt Marion Keyes is my all time favourite author. Having read all her books Watermelon is truly outstanding. I have a habit of re-reading all my favourite books over a period of several years. To date I have read this book 6 times and each time I find something that I had either forgotton or just discovered! To me each time I re-read a book its like embracing an old friend.

            The story grabs your attention from the word go when poor possibly somewhat nieve Claire gives birth to a beautiful baby girl only to be told by her errant husband that he is "running away" with the neighbour! Claire bolts back to her family in Dublin and the story mainly centres round how Claire copes with it all. It is beautifully written and absolutely hilarious from start to finish.

            Anyone who has ever gone through a broken love affair will recognise only too clearly all the mood swings, the highs and lows - the dark days - before you ultimately come through the other side and decide that yes life is worth living again and move on to pastures new!

            Marion Keyes is a master at her art - you feel as though you know the characters intimately - love them or hate them - you can relate to them all on so many different levels.

            Claires family are eccentric in the extreme - but what shines through the whole story is regardless of how odd this family may be they will stick together through thick and thin - and predictably perhaps in the end Claire does have a happy ever after ending!

            If you never read another book then please read this one - worth every penny!

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              25.06.2009 12:25
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              A fantastic chicklit book by Marian Keyes.

              I love books by Marian Keyes and this one has been no exception!!

              The story follows Claire, who has just given birth at the start of the book when her husband decides that he's leaving her for the neighbour from downstairs, Denise. Claire is naturally devastated and feels deserted so she takes the baby and returns back to the family fold in Dublin to lick her wounds.

              The book follows Claire through all the different emotions that she feels after suffering such heartbreak at the hands of her husband and her child's father while having to live with her parents & her siblings and learning to try and get along with everything as well as having a new baby to look after, and her first child.

              I did find myself feeling immensely sorry for Claire at the start of the book and had lots of sympathy for her, however, as time went on her character seemed to evolve in to a bigger and better person and then when her husband comes begging for forgiveness the way that she reacted to him really surprised me and I wanted to give her a pat on the back before I remembered that she's not actually real!

              This book has lots of emotion in it and the things that Claire is going through are very well explained throughout the book and I really enjoyed reading this story from beginning to end. There was nothing bad about the book at all and it's one that is in my 'to keep' pile and I will find myself reading again in the not too distant future.

              I really enjoy Marian's writing style even if it is a bit 'surburban' as I enjoy the 'chicklit' genre and it's one that I don't see myself steering away from in the future.

              I would thoroughly recommend any book by Marian Keyes and this one is yet another storming success and if you can find it for just 50p, as I did in my local charity shop, I would even suggest buying a copy for a friend or relative!

              I am rating this book 5/5 as the storyline is very interesting and it's one seriously gripping read, for me at least, from beginning to end. Yet another success by Keyes!

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                27.04.2009 16:06
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                ----------------------------

                ****Watermelon - Marian Keyes****

                I really like Marian Keyes so when i came across this book for £1 from the local charity shop i had to buy it. She has written other great books such as Lucy Sullivan is getting married and anybody out there? Which are 2 of my favourite books.

                This book although not a series has the same family in it as several of her other books. I have read them all and would say that it defiantly doesn't matter which one you read first. In this book the main character is Claire.

                At the very beginning of the book Claire's husband James leaves her for another woman called Denise. Not really a shocker these days but the fact that he does it about 2 hours after she has given birth screams ar*****e at me. Not knowing what to do she decides to go home to her family in Ireland hoping that James will come to his senses and come back to her..The thing is though will she want him back or will James be in for a surprise..

                This is one of these books that is really easy to read. Okay so it is from Claires point of view so we don't get to hear James side of the story but who cares? This is a chick flick novel so it is really light reading- i would say that it is perfect for a beach novel. I really liked it and even though it is not my favourite book of hers i would still recommend it to other people.

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                  18.01.2009 11:59
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                  An easy read with lots of comedy but on a serious storyline

                  I'm quite addicted to Keyes' books these days and this one was no different.

                  ~~The Plot~~

                  Imagine a woman who has everything before her thirties - she's pregnant, has her husband whom she couldn't love more, a job she enjoys and a great place to live. Then imagine her life turning around in a couple of sentences.

                  Claire had everything she had ever wanted and felt the luckiest woman alive after the birth of her daughter. How long did this sensation last? A whopping two hours. Her husband, James, visits her at the hospital and not only tells her he's leaving her for their neighbour, but he wants a divorce! The neighbour is married and has two children so it's not as if he's running away from the baby, it must be her.

                  Where can she possibly go from here? Left alone with a newborn baby she doesn't know what to do with, a body that doesn't seem like her own and still living with the devastating news that her husband loves someone else and wants a divorce, Claire does the only thing she can. She returns to Ireland and her family so she can recover and have the help she needs for her baby. Any normal family would rally around and help her snap out of it, but they all have their bad points and it is truly hysterical watching them all trying to figure it out.

                  Her mum is what you can only describe as a person living in a soap, she's that addicted to them! Her sister, Helen, is obsessed with men and will to anything to catch them. Her father seems to be lost in a world of his own half the time and doesn't know where to start. The rest of her family are just as colourful and wait until you meet the gardener.

                  So how does Claire cope with the changes in store for her and will she come out of them a better person? Will her husband realise his mistake and make her dream of having him back come true? Will her little baby come through with a mum in tact, or will she be depressed for the rest of her life?

                  ~~My opinion~~

                  The storyline isn't the usual that i'd go for and i think if it wasn't for the fact it was a Marian Keyes book, i'd have given it a miss. In Keyes' books, you know you'll find laughter, tears and several more emotions that you don't quite know how to name. I've never been disappointed by one of her books yet.

                  Claire's character is priceless. She's a happy, fun loving girl until James hits this on her. She's never been one for being responsible so this situation is completely different to anything she's had to conquer in the past and the seriousness of it pushes her to bed and vodka. You can totally empathise with Claire and what she must be going through, but there are several times throughout the book where you wish she'd put her daughters needs first, instead of crying every time she hears the word James.

                  The thing that drew me to Watermelon, was the hilarity Keyes managed to include in such a serious storyline. It gets everyones points of view across without boring you to tears. I didn't find this book to be quite as gripping as some of her others (such as Last Chance Saloon) but i could identify with the characters just as well. Her family really are hilarious and without them, i don't think Claire has a chance of pulling through. (I won't tell you if she does or not).

                  This is another chicks book and i'd recommend it to anyone that likes a warm comedy and has a few hours to just laze around (does anyone these days?). It's a very easy read, especially if you find a way to identify with Claire. I think there would be real problems for anyone that didn't have the patience to watch her going through depression. You really do want to give her a good shake/slap at times and snap her out of it!

                  ~~My verdict~~

                  It's not as good as the last one i read (Last Chance Saloon) but i still finished it in a day or two (illness). Keyes' style of writing suits me perfectly as you don't have to think too much as it's not technical in the slightest. Perfect for a light read and for someone that isn't that interested in books but wants a change.

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                    19.12.2008 01:16

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                    A typical but well written book

                    Watermelon is the frist in the much loved series of the Walsh family books. Based around the eldest daughter, Claire, the book follows her from London, where she is laid, dazed, after giving birth to her gorgeous baby daughter, as her beloved husband James tells her he doesn't love her anymore- as she is still laid in that same hospital bed!- across the ocean to Ireland, back to the arms of her loving family.
                    This hilarious books follows Claire as she goes through all the stages of Being Dumped, through the tears, the lethargicness, the anger and fury... right back to the other side with New Men!
                    Throughout the story there are many funny anecdotes concerning Mammy Walsh, her father, her four sisters- and, of course, gorgeous Baby Kate. It sees her trying to fight back for what she once had, to accepting it and then finally realising that maybe its not quite what she wanted after all?

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                    13.10.2008 16:30
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                    Great book to relax with

                    This was the first Marian Keyes book I read and I have been hooked ever since!

                    Watermelon is the first in the series of books following the Walsh family. This book follows the life of Claire Walsh following the birth of her first baby and her husband leaving her on the same day!

                    I find Marian Keyes' books very easy to read and once I pick them up I cannot put them down, and this one is no exception! I find the characters in Marian's books very easy to realte to and once I had read this book I wanted to carry on and read the rest of the books dealing with the various Walsh girl's lives (Rachel's Holiday, Angels and Is there Anybody out there?).

                    I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good girly read and is great to take for a nice relaxing bath or just to sit down with a cup of tea!

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                      30.05.2008 22:45
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                      A super book from Marian Keyes

                      I never used to be open to trying new authors, but a few weeks ago, I was sent the new Marian Keyes book to review for a website. It was the first Keyes book I had read, and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. So when it came to choosing my next book from my ever-growing pile, I decided I'd try another Marian Keyes book while I was in the mood, and that book turned out to be Watermelon.

                      So, to the story. Claire Webster is ecstatically happy after giving birth to her first child, a daughter with husband James. However, her dream is shattered when he announced hours after the birth that he's leaving her for another woman. Claire's in shock and flees London to her family home in Dublin, where her mother, father and sister are waiting to take in a distraught Claire and new baby. Claire's determined to win back her man but at what cost? Or will Claire outgrow James as she grows as a mother to their daughter?

                      The story dove straight into its main theme, with Claire narrating in the first person from the birth of her baby. The narrative is honest and funny, despite the terrible circumstances that Claire finds herself in. This seems to be a talent of Keyes, writing a miserable storyline in a funny and happy way, so that the characters aren't dull or funny, but actually endearing and quite friendly despite everything. I really liked Claire straight away, and just from the first few pages I knew I was going to like her and consequently like the book because of this.

                      As its written from Claire's perspective, the story is obviously biased towards Claire and her side of the story, but this obviously works well as James is supposed to be a right sod anyway. Keyes writes this relationship in a clever way, making James out to be an awful man, although still having Claire love her husband, as people indeed do despite what their partners do to them. And the other enjoyable part of the book for me was reading Clare developing as a mother, starting off clueless and scared, but becoming confident although nervous at leaving her daughter alone for her first night out...it reminded me so much of myself! This was a joy to read, and Keyes has really reached the inner emotions of a new mum here, making it fantastic reading.

                      The Walsh family themselves, who are Claire's family, are a great laugh. She has traditional parents who are hilarious but clearly want the best for their daughter and grand-daughter, but it is her sisters that are the best characters in the book. Claire has 3 sisters, Rachel and Margaret (who we don't meet in this book), hippy Anna who lives in a drug-induced dreamworld and bitchy Helen, a typically stroppy 18 year old who thinks the world revolves are her and her lovelife. In fact, the family were such a hit with readers that Keyes has gone on to base a further 3 books about the sisters which I am excited about reading!

                      This book is a really heart-warming tale despite what sounds like a bit of a depressing storyline. Being written in the first person, you can instantly warm to Claire and her plight, and although her circumstances are pretty dire, she still writes in a humourous way, making you laugh along the way with her words. The book really kicks in when it arrives in Dublin and the family is introduced to us. The way her family rallies around her is lovely and heart-warming, and is a true testament to the strength of families when you're in need. The characters are all brilliantly written, from Claire to her sisters, to the horrid James (who gets worse as the book goes on believe it or not!) to Laura and Adam, characters who appear gradually throughout the book.

                      At 520 pages long, the book is quite long but I didn't find that it dragged too much which was good. I'm always worried with rather long books that they are going to drag a bit and lose their way in the middle, but Keyes has kept up the pace nicely with one and it doesn't deviate from its plot at all. It develops in a plausible way, with Claire's character growing throughout the book fantastically, allowing you to feel for her struggles and applauding her strength. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good chick-lit book with an uplifting and enjoyable storyline. A great read. And in case you're wondering about the title, a watermelon is what Claire likens her post-pregnancy body to!

                      ISBN: 978-0099489986 (please note this ISBN is for the newest edition of the book printed in 2005), the book was originally released in 1995. The newest paperback version contains 520 pages. Published by Arrow Books Ltd. Available on Amazon for £5.54 although I got my copy in a charity shop for just 50 pennies! For more information on Marian Keyes, see her website at www.mariankeyes.com.

                      Oh, and the other books involving the Walsh family are:
                      Rachel's Holiday (1998)
                      Angels (2001)
                      Anybody Out There? (2006)

                      Thank you for reading!

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                        14.04.2004 20:34
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                        Marian Keyes is at the top of her game, and I count her among my favourite authors. She is definitely one of the best writers in the word of 'chick lit' - she writes consistently good, cosy novels that are perfect for reading whenever you want a light-hearted, fluffy book, whether it's snuggled up in bed or lying on a beach! Some of her books are better than others, but even the poorer ones, such as Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, are far better than other books of the same genre! Watermelon and Lucy Sullivan have been made into feature-length dramas from ITV but they were nothing like the books! Sushi For Beginners and Last Chance Saloon are her best novels, and if you're interested in Marian Keyes, I'd definitely recommend trying those two first. She has written several books on the fictional Walsh family from Ireland - Angels, Rachel's Holiday and Watermelon. Watermelon follows the middle daughter, Claire. The Walsh family are not what you would call ordinary. Margaret, the oldest daughter, fled to Los Angeles after her husband left her, Rachel is a reformed drug-addict, Anna is a drug-dealing hippy and the youngest daughter, Helen, is sleeping her way thorugh her A-levels. They have a gardener who they are too frightened of to sack, and well, it seems the most normal of the bunch is Claire, who is married and has settled down in London. On the same day as she gives birth to her daughter, Kate, her husband James leaves her - for Denise, who lives in the flat below theirs, and is older than Claire with cellulite on her arms! Disgusted and traumatised, Claire flees England, and goes back home to her native Ireland, seeking comfort in her family. Irresponsible and flighty Clair
                        e struggles to deal with her new found responsibility. James has always been the adult in their relationship, allowing her to be as spontaneous and unreliable as she wants without facing the consequences. Unable to face the reality of the situation, she seeks comfort in her bed - and vodka. As time goes on, she realises she needs a kick up the arse and pulls her socks up. She is determined to be a good mother to Kate, despite the fact that she wants to cry whenever she hears James's name mentioned. When she meets Adam, a mature student doing the same course at college as Helen, life perks up for Claire. He is funny, handsome and seems to adore Kate. The only blip on the horizon is that she can't quite shake off the feeling that Adam is hiding a secret from her, but he is the least of her worries when James appears back in her life, wanting to have another go at their marriage... As far as storylines go, it's not the most taxing or original, but Watermelon works because the Walsh family are so engaging. Hands up anyone who has a mum addicted to soap operas! It's a decent enough book, but lacks the magic of Last Chance Saloon or Sushi For Beginners. Why? Because I couldn't identify with Claire, and found her irritating at times! She is tolerable enough but there are places in the book where you just want to tell her to shut up and stop feeling sorry for herself! Think Bridget Jones with more self-pity... I'm not slagging off the book, because I enjoyed it. I just enjoyed it slightly less than I might have done because Claire wasn't a strong or solid character. You never see below the surface, and I would have liked to get to know her a bit better. In the two aforementioned books, we really get to know the main characters and care about them, wher
                        eas with Claire we have less of a connection with her. Watermelon was actually Marian Keyes' first novel so I think she found her footing and has improved over time - her latest three novels, the aforementioned two and Angels, are her best. Marian Keyes does have an detailed writing style which draws you in though, and the book is enjoyable to read. It's warm, fluffy and doesn't need any brain power to understand! Unlike her other books, Watermelon isn't the sort where you just cannot bear to put it down, but it's engaging enough and you'll probably finish reading it in a couple of days, despite the thickness (over 600 pages long). It's perfect for those lazy days where there's nothing on TV and you can't be bothered getting out of bed! It is actually very funny in parts. Most of the humour comes from Claire's family, and without them the story may have gotten a bit too heavy and depressing! I laughed out loud more than a few times, and it does leave you with a warm fuzzy feeling after you have finished the final page. It's a pleasant book, and even if you don't like it, it's fairly inoffensive and I can't imagine anyone hating it. It's easy to read, amusing and you do get involved in Claire's world. I only realised this when I was almost spitting blood when Claire's husband tries to win her back! Although she is not really that likeable, you do warm to her by the end. She was played by Anna Friel in the TV adaption which seemed quite suitable. If you watched it on TV and wasn't so keen, the storylines are almost completely different, and the book is a lot better. Marian Keyes novels are different to chick-lit authors such as Wendy Holden and Jenny Colgan. Think of it like porridge... Wendy
                        and Jenny's books are like chocolate bars, perfect for picking up and having a quick bite of when you have the time, but Marian's are much more satisfying and stodgy. The characters tend to be deeper and her books are generally more well-rounded. If you're after an easy, amusing read to keep you entertained, Watermelon will fit the bill, but I would recommend you try the other books I have mentioned first! It's a decent book, far better than a lot of other 'chick-lit' novels out there and a damn sight less trashy, but lacks the Marian Keyes spark. It's worth giving a go! You can buy it for £6.99 in WHSmith but is frequently on special offer, two for £10. It's published by Puffin in England but has different publishers in Germany, America and Ireland.

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                          05.02.2002 05:24
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                          Having a baby is meant to be such a happy time. A time when a couple feel closer than ever, and do little more than watch over their precious newborn hour after hour, but that is not the case in this story. Claire has just given birth to a daughter, whom she names Kate, and her perfect world has come crashing down around her ears. Her husband James visits her after the birth to explain that he has met another woman and is in fact leaving Claire for her. Devastation turns to anger and disbelief, when finds out that the other woman is a neighbour called Denise, who has 3 children and is hardly a supermodel. Claire feels isolated in London, so decides to return home to her parents and sisters in Dublin to lick her wounds. Here were are introduced to her manic mother, who reminds me a lot of Bridget Jones? mother, and her under the thumb father who has been affected by living in a house full of oestrogen for many years. Claire has 3 sisters, 2 of which, Helen and Anna still live with their parents. Helen is somewhat of a femme fatale, leaving men quivering in her wake, and Anna is an out and out space cadet with a heart of gold, who is continually tormented by Helen. Claire goes through each stage of her rejection, described by Keyes in such an amusing way it is hard to sympathise with her as she is so comical, and is a healing process we have all been through at one time or another, especially the tendency to drink and verbally abuse close relatives (or was that just me!!) One day, Helen brings home what seems like another of her countless admirers, but Adam is different. He has not fallen under Helen?s spell, and there is an undeniable attraction between him and Claire. Adam is young and gorgeous, and puts more than the spring back in Claire?s step I can tell you! Claire voices the concerns that all newly single women have when they meet someone new, and I found myself willing her on! Now at this point it would ha
                          ve been so easy for the author to follow the cliché of boy meets girl, and they fall in love. Keyes does not take the easy route, and the blossoming relationship has many twists and turns, especially when love rat James decides that he has had his fling, and now wants to play happy families, even having Claire believe it was her fault that he cheated on her. Claire narrates the story in a witty manner without intruding too much on the story, and the reader witnesses her change from dependent pampered wife, to independent, confident mother. She becomes a totally different character by the end of the book, and if it had been a film I would have cheered her on. Marian Keyes is a woman I would like to meet, as she seems so witty, and has such a unique take on life. This is the first book written by her that I have read, but I will make sure that it is not the last, as it was an entertaining and engrossing read. This is not just a book for young women, my mum has read it too and absolutely loved it.

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                            13.06.2001 19:34
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                            I've just finished my final year of a degree so reading for pleasure is but a distant memory. I bought several books after my birthday in February which have been sitting on my bookshelf calling to me to be read throghout my revision period. I didn't give in to temptation. Now my exams are over I decided to pick one of them up and become the bookworm that I had once been. Watermelon screamed out to be bought in the shop. Its vibrant cover lured me in. I read the synopsis onthe back cover and decided i would give it a whirl. I had never read anything my Marian Keyes before so I didn't know what to expect... Watermelon is a brilliant novel which follows the tribulations of Claire, who has been dumped by her husband almost immediatley after she has given birth to their first daughter. He has fallen for someone else. Claire doesn't know what to do, so she does what anyone would expect, she goes home to Ireland to stay with her family, and outs the Irish sea betwwen herself and weasel of a husband. We are introduced to her mad-cap family who try to help her through the situation, which different methods and success rates. Then she meets Adam, could he help her come to terms with the break up of her marriage?? The second half of the book sees James (the weasel husband) come crawling back.. but will laire forgive and forget?? All will be revealed if you also read this brilliant book. The book is written in the first person and this makes it believeable and more engrossing! I read the book quite quickly due to the pace of the story and the fact that I just couldn't put it down especially towards the end! I warn people that you might find yourself wanting to shout at the characters or laughing out loud! This book is a must for Marian Keyes fans orfor those who simply want a good and easy read. The chapters aren't too long and you really don't realise the amount you ca
                            n read in one go. This book draws you in very quickly and holds your attention throughout! Brilliant!!!!

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                            21.02.2001 00:44

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                            I loved this book - first of all because it's such a good story, but still a very easy read. I got it myself from a friend and I've already passed it along to another friend and I highly recommend it to most readers. The book is written as if the "hero" Claire is talking to you, which means you really identify with her and all her insecurities. Claire's family are excellent secondary characters, and the male hero "Adam" was maybe a bit too good (and to good looking) to be true, but I have meet men that was quite much like that! Claire comes out as a belivable and interesting person, someone it would be nice to know. She is funny and warm and and also brave, so I found it quite inspiring in many ways. I specially liked the way the story changes your impression about Claire (and the way she also learned more herslef about who she was or had been. Sometimes single women type books can be quite irritating, but Marian Keyes' are fabulous. Claire is funny I read Watermelon in almost in one go, which is quite something as it's not a short book. I read it late into the night, until I could read no more, and finally finished it early next morning. Marian Keyes has also written Rachels Holliday which I also liked very much (even better) and which is about one of Claires sisters! Some people compare this to "Bridget Jones", and they have something in common, but mostly that they are about women and the frustrations of life and love. Others may feel this is not an intelligent enough book. So, its easy reading, what so? It is very well written, funny and makes life a bit more fun. A very good read for a vacation or for travelling. Highbrows who do not like "feel good" books are hereby warned - stay away

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                          It’s bad enough that Claire’s husband James left her the day he was at the birth of their first child – I mean, if he thought it was going to upset him that much he should have just stayed at home – but to rub salt into the episiotomy, he didn’t even have the decency to leave her for someone skinny!He’s just absconded, leaving Claire with a newborn baby, a broken heart, two extra stone and an …er…birth canal ten times its normal size.In the absence of any better offers, Claire goes home to her family. To her beautiful sister Helen, her soap-watching mother, her bewildered father. And in a story that’s both hilarious and bitter-sweet, Claire just gets better.A lot better.In fact so much better that when James slithers back into her life he’s in for a bit of a surprise.