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review 2018-03-05 11:42
Een vakantie met diepten
Zoals ze is - Marian Keyes

Zoals ze is (Angels in de Engelse editie) was hier in Ierland een erg populair boek. Het was bijna onmogelijk te vermijden in de tweedehandwinkels waar ik de meeste van mijn boeken koop.


Dus nu ik dit vertaling las, heb ik gerealiseerd dat ik had het al in het Engels veel jaren geleden ook gelezen. Ach, goed wel. Het is best een goed boek (hoewel niet haar beste) en de moeite waard om nog een keer te genieten.


Het verhaal gaat over Maggie, een Ierse vrouw die haar baan en man zijn kwijtgeraakt tegerlijketijd en neemt de ietwat gekke beslissing om haar leven totaal te veranderen - om naar Los Angeles te verhuizen op verlengde vakantie en daar logeren met haar beste vriend die nu een Hollywood-schriftschrijver is. (Dus de 'Angels' van de Engelse titel.)


De sterke punten van het boek, en van de meeste boeken van dezelfde schrijfster, zijn hoe het verhaal begint luchthartig, frivool, en 'chick-lit', en geleidelijk ontwerpt zich tot iets dat oprecht diep en beroerend is. Dit boek behandelt enige serieuze problemen, maar pas aan het einde, nadat we hebben van Maggie's vakantie met volle teugen genoten en ook de rare snuiters die zij in Los Angeles tegenkomt.


Dit schrijfster begrijpt echt dat de meeste emotionele punten van een boek zijn vaak niet de grote, luidruchtige momenten. Zij is bedreven genoeg te weet dat een paar eenvoudige woorden op het juiste moment kunnen een heel boek veranderen. Ik heb veel bewondering voor dat.

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review 2017-12-15 06:04
The Break - Marian Keyes

What do you do when your husband, out of the blue, announces that he is taking a 6 month break from his life with freedom to go where he wants and do what he wants? This is Amy’s dilemma. I would have really liked this book, but it was way, way too long, so much so that anything and everything to do with work, the mother plus other inessential characters I just skimmed over or missed out entirely otherwise I would never have got through it all! Hugh was a drip and I didn’t take to him at all and man magnet Amy was annoying to say the least. There weren’t any surprises or “didn’t see that coming” moments. This would be perfect for those readers who enjoy LONG chick-lit books.

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review 2017-09-14 12:35
Marian Keyes novel about a marriage break-up in Dublin.
The Break - Marian Keyes



This long novel deal with Amy, a 40ish PR expert, living in Dublin with her husband and her three children. When her husband, Hugh, decides to take off for six months, their lives change dramatically.


With a fair amount of first-person narrated introspection, the novel moves along quite well with flashbacks about Amy's previous marriage, the early part of her second marriage and the birth of her children. Characterisation is good and the varuious characters are well-drawn and unique.


Interesting regarding the ways of a modern Irish family, this book also encompasses infidelity, sexual pleasure, abortion and many other modern issues. It's bang up-to-date for this period regarding social media and the power of the media.


As a 64-year-old man, this is not exactly my first choice of novel as chick-lit is not really my genre. However the book, although long, is engaging and entertaining with occasional humorous moments to lighten the mood. I'd recommend it to any fan of the author and of the genre: you won't be disappointed.


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review 2017-08-16 15:56
The Break - Marian Keyes

With thanks to Netgalley and Penguin books for this ARC in exchange for an open and honest review.


I was so excited when I realised Marian Keyes had written a new book.  I devoured chic lit books in my twenties, but as I got older I lost interest in the genre.  Now I am older, Marian keyes is one of the few chic lit authors I still read.


I loved the books featuring the Walsh family it felt like meeting old friends.  I hope The Break will be the first book featuring the O'Connell family, Marian has created a family with plenty of strong female characters to create new books.


Hugh and Amy have 3 almost grown up children Neeve, Kiara and neice Sofie.  The book starts with Hugh telling his wife Amy that he wants a break for 6 months backbacking around Asia.  Hugh lost his father and brother in quick succession, now deeply depressed he wants to clear his head.  During that time he will not contact Amy and wants to be free to sleep with other women.  Amy is devastated, Hugh is adament that he will return to Ireland in 6 months but she is not so sure.


During Hugh's break Amy finds out he is sleeping with a younger woman, angry and humilated she swears it is over with Hugh.


In flashbacks from two years earlier she came close to an affair with married Journalist John Rowan.  When Amy and Josh meet again at an Industry Award dinner she finds she is stll attracted to him.  Convinced Hugh will not be returning, she starts an affair with Josh with no strings attached.  Amy is happy with this until he wants to leave his wife for her.


Like always Marian Keyes books have plenty of Irish wit whilst covering subjects like depression, dementia and abortion.  I enjoyed the chapters when Amy's mother Lilian O'Connell did a series of appearances on Neeve's You Tube channel and became an internet sensation.  I also loved Amy's friend Alistair from work who is seeing her sister Derry.


I hope to read more books from the O'Connell family in the future.

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review 2015-12-27 00:00
The Woman Who Stole My Life: A Novel
The Woman Who Stole My Life: A Novel - Marian Keyes I have been pretty hit or miss with Marian Keyes books the past few years. This one was a definite miss for me. I think I could have liked it better if the story had been told in a straight forward manner. Instead the plot line shifts back and forth between present day and then past (when the main character is first diagnosed with her condition) and then past (when the main character is a hit with her first ever self help book). The main character, Stella, and others in the book really weren't developed very well. I also had a lot of issues with how when the book shifted to New York City, it could have been any-town USA and it didn't feel like New York at all.

Stella Sweeney is home in Ireland after a whirlwind book tour touting her self-help book. Her book is about the things she thought about and blinked out to her neurologist at the time when she was stricken with an illness that left her unable to move or breathe on her own, all she could do was move her eyelids. The story takes a while to get going. Instead we are in the present day with Stella and we don't know what exactly has gone on, but that she is heartbroken and feels like a fraud. Living with her teenage son that despises her, and trying to keep her ex-husband from giving away all of his belongings, it seems like Stella has a lot to get through.

I wish that I could have gotten a handle on Stella. She just didn't feel real at all throughout the entire book. You understand that she is a mother of two. However, besides her being horrified by how normal her son is and wondering about her daughter's relationship with her fiancee, you don't really get the sense that she even likes her children. Her relationship with her sister and her family had some funny moments here and there, but other than that, I couldn't make a lick of sense of Stella. A former beautician and now failed self-help author, she seemed to have no interests at all. There are a lot of asides thrown out about how much she and her father love to read but Stella doesn't pick up one book and read it during the course of this book.

The other characters are not drawn very well either. Stella's ex husband is several times a fool, and you don't understand what she ever saw in him, especially since Stella doesn't paint him in a positive light..

Stella's love interest in this book, Dr. Taylor was all over the place. Figuring out how to communicate with Stella, they are both surprised that they feel something though Stella can't move and they are both married. When these two do start seeing each other, there is nothing really there besides hot sex. I had no idea what his interest were really. And it didn't help when the book moved them to New York City. Everyone kept saying how these two were not well suited. And seriously they were not. Things took the turn for the absurd when he gave up doctoring for a year to pretty much become Stella's agent.

We have another character who apparently watched All About Eve too many times. I saw that character coming from a mile away.

The writing wasn't that great. It didn't help because of the shifting timelines that it took me a few minutes each time to figure out what tie period we were in. Also the font sizes changed from when we were in the present day (with time stamps) to the past which had larger fonts and a saying from Stella's book at the top of each chapter ending. The flow was all over the place because of that. When readers finally figure out what happened to Stella you may have lost interest by then (I know that I did).

The setting of Ireland and New York were not very well done at all. I loved Keyes former books taking place in both of these places. She managed to breathe life into these places so that you felt like you were right there with the characters in her books feeling the heat and humidity (New York) or dealing with the changing face of the country (her books taking place in Ireland). I think the jumping around really didn't devote itself to showcasing these places. Though we do spend a lot of time on Stella's clothes and in particular her shoes.

The ending was definitely not earned at all. Everything got wrapped up in a tidy bow which made me laugh a bit. Based on what happened before, one wonders why in the world Stella would have blithely continued on with things.
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