To say I loved Marian Keyes latest offering The Break is an understatement, this book is truly brilliant. It is funny, moving and perceptive. For those of you who are already fans of Marian Keyes, believe me, you won’t be disappointed! And if you’ve never tried a Marian Keyes book before, get out there and grab a copy of The Break because this is definitely a top read of 2017!
Using her unique writing style of laugh out loud comedy, charm and sensitivity Marian brings us Amy O’Connell and her eccentric Irish family. This includes her vlogging mother who likes to ‘go on the piss ‘ with her ‘gin and tonics’ friends and her sister Maura who is married to ‘TPB – The Poor Bastard.’
Amy is a 44 year-old wife, mother and PR professional managing an array of clients in Ireland and the UK. Juggling family life with the pressures of her job and financial constraints, life can sometimes be full on and hectic for Amy. However when Hugh, her husband of 17 years suddenly announces that he wants to go on a break for six months back packing around South East Asia, her life is turned upside down. That break means no contact with Amy and sex with other women.
What follows is the emotional fall out Amy experiences as she attempts to come to terms with the separation and the realisation that she is on a break too. Also hard for Amy to come to terms with is the everyday logistics of that separation:
“I realize that if he goes, all the practical household stuff becomes my responsibility: changing light bulbs, doing the weekly food shop and yes, it might be cliché but it’s still real – the bins. Even seeing a bin gives me the shudders.
The thoughts of Hugh’s extra-curricular riding has been so distressing that I haven’t appreciated how his absence is going to impact on my day-today life, and actually, I’m almost more upset about the bins.”
As I too have a massive phobia of taking the bins out, I can so relate to this! 😉 That is the thing about Amy – she is so relatable that I think many of you will be able to identify with her in many ways.
Although Marian Keyes is such a brilliant comic writer, she never shies away from hard hitting issues, communicating these issues with true depth and sincerity. And The Break is no exception as this is a novel that tackles the issues of grief, ageing parents and the challenges of marriage. Marian also uses The Break to make a political statement; clearly demonstrating her anger that abortion is still illegal in Ireland, not giving women a choice over their own bodies. Go Marian!
“There’s a situation. Not in my life. But with a young woman in my care and…I’ve already said too much.’
‘A young woman in your care?’ He prompts.
‘Is pregnant. And she’s not having the baby.’
‘She’s having an abortion?’
‘It’s the right thing for her. I’m pro-choice. Are you?’ He seems startled. ‘Of course.’
‘You Brits,’ I say. ‘You’re so lucky to be free of all that guilt and shame.’
‘Not really. Mum and Pop weren’t big God-botherers. But living in Ireland, it’s impossible to escape the shame. It hangs in the air.’
‘You can’t really blame the air for the shame. The shame is a by-product of Irish laws. Fourteen years in jail for taking a pill? That’s quite a judgement.’”
Another thing that I loved about this book is that it wasn’t predictable as it had me wondering on numerous occasions where it was going to go. However I have to say I wasn’t disappointed with ending; in my view it was just right.
Yes, Marian Keyes is known as a chick-lit writer, but she is so much more than that. Like all her books, The Break has true depth with fresh and realistic characters that you can’t help but emotionally invest in. Having read all of Marian Keyes books, she has been a favourite of mine for many years now. However The Break is definitely one of her best, further proving that she is one of the greatest ever writers out there.
Thank you once again Marian for bringing us another unbelievably brilliant read; and thank you Netgalley and Penguin UK – Michael Joseph for sending me an advanced copy of The Break in return for an honest review. I truly loved it!
Publication date of The Break: 7 September 2017