ASK Musings

No matter where you go, there you are.



May 2021



Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Four Stars

Best for:
Fans of Liane Moriarty’s writing.

In a nutshell:
CN for book and review: Disordered Eating

The Casey family – three brothers and their wives and kids – are at a dinner party when it seems as though a few secrets are about to be spilled. We immediately go back six months in time to see what has led to this.

Worth quoting:
“As a skinny, knock-kneed eight-year-old, she knew that too much bread and butter would make her fat – and far was the worst thing any girl could be.”

Why I chose it:
Paperback sale. Also I mostly enjoyed the last book of hers I read.

Three brothers – Johnny, Liam, and Ed – are married to three women – Jessie, Nell, and Cara. The book focuses mostly on the women, though the men have their own point of view chapters at times. Johnny is Jessie’s second husband, after her first husband (and Johnny’s best friend) leaves her widowed at 34. Nell is Liam’s second wife, and she is significantly – like, 15-ish years – younger than him. Cara and Ed are each others’ first partners.

It becomes clear quickly that everyone has issues. Jessie is an only child who craved a big family, and shows her love by spending loads of money on fancy trips for the extended family (and might be overextended in her finances). Johnny works for and with Jessie, and is father to three with Jessie, and stepfather to two (who aren’t really big fans of his). Liam is a former famous runner, dealing with his career ending, while Nell is a socially conscious set designer who married Laim just six months after meeting. Ed is a botanist, and Cara works in reception at an extremely high end hotel, and she’s also dealing with (and hiding) bulimia.

There’s a lot going on here.

It took a couple of chapters for me to get people straight and sort out their relationships (though there is conveniently a family tree at the front of the book), but once that was sorted, the book was pretty hard to put down. It’s over 600 pages long, but I finished it in four days because I just wanted to keep reading. And there are some genuine surprises that appear along the way — some that the reader could easily predict, and a couple that come out of nowhere but totally make sense. It was a fun read with some deeper exploration of themes (especially the bulimia storyline)

Keep it / Recommend to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it.

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