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Watermelon - far more than chick-lit
Watermelon - Marian Keyes
Member Name: PaigeTurner
Watermelon - Marian Keyes
Advantages: Highly perceptive and hugely funny
Disadvantages: Chick-lit - but top end chick-lit
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.
Summary: A really enjoyable read which will have you shedding tears of mirth and sorrow