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April 2020

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The Break by Marian Keyes

Written by , Posted in Reviews

Three Stars

Best for:
Those looking for an interesting read that’s a bit longer than one might expect from fiction targeted at women.

In a nutshell:
Amy’s husband Hugh wants a six-month break.

Worth quoting:
I studied her avidly, keen to know how other people managed the tricky, tricky business of being a woman.

Why I chose it:
Airport purchase. Remember airports?

Review:
I bought this book back when known cases of COVID-19 were mostly limited to Asia. I flew from the UK to the US to be with my parents during surgery, then went to visit some friends in the pacific northwest. As always, I bought a book at the airport to add to the four I had with me.

I started it on one of my flights, but wasn’t really able to get into it. I know for some people, being home so much right now (last I heard, about 4 billion of the world’s population are on lock down) means they are reading a lot, but I just can’t focus. I don’t have kids, and I don’t really even need to leave the house (we’re fine with grocery delivery). I’m just mentally exhausted, and this book wasn’t as light a read as I was hoping.

Sorry, there’s supposed to be a review in here somewhere, right?

Amy lives in Dublin with her daughter from her first marriage (to a footballer), her daughter from her current marriage, and sometimes her niece. She’s in public relations and help rehabilitate famous folks who have fucked up. Her husband is going through some things, and has decided he needs a 6-month break from their marriage.

The book is divided into before, during, and after. The during part doesn’t last as long as I expected, and the after bit is more intense than I was expecting. But I appreciated the characters – they weren’t caricatures or stereotypes. Amy’s husband Hugh isn’t a cad; he’s someone who is hurting and is confused. Amy isn’t some scorned woman; she has agency. Even their kids are complex.

It’s not higher rated for me mostly because I think it is just too long. I think the story could have been tightened up a bit, though maybe others would think that would sacrifice the quality. I do know if I come across her books again I will probably pick one up.

Keep it / Pass to a Friend / Donate it / Toss it:
Donate it (eventually)

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