Sunday, 31 July 2016

Book Review: Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

I figure writing a blog post can be like writing the first chapter, or first sentence to a book - intimidating, but once you start you're onto a good thing. Well I try to convince myself of that. A blog post is a lot easier though; it is easy to get it published, and it's easy to write a short blog. There is no word limit like a book, but no pressure to keep to the same theme or story. Each post can be different if you wish. I've tried a few times to write a book with little success.

It's only recently I've started to enjoy reading again. During university, I thought it was important to read every book on my reading list. Spending a lot of time taking books back to the library, speed-reading things that were relevant...long story short and my love for reading faded. However with free time on my hands, I've started reading again. I can't believe how much pleasure it can give. I always read before bed and sometimes during the day. It's nice.

Two days ago I finished reading Rachel's Holiday written by Marian Keyes. It was an amazing read. I bought the book maybe two years ago, maybe less. I got it from a charity shop; I tend to get most books from charity shops or they are books that family members buy me for birthdays. Books I've asked for.

At the time I remember seeing an interview with the author, and thinking, "She sounds interesting. I want to read one of her books!" So when I'd visited Aberdeen's Oxfam, I just got the book, not really realising its context. I assumed it was a nice book about going on 'holiday.' How wrong I was.

It tells the story of Rachel Walsh, who is known for her love of recreational drugs. Her ex, Luke Costello says of her: "If it's a drug, Rachel will have taken it. She's probably taken drugs that haven't been invented yet."

Living in New York with her best friend, Brigit, she is known as the Walsh daughter who loves to party. However before long she is 27, unemployed and being mistaken for a drug addict. Her parents hear of a recent hospital stay and have her back in Ireland. They even pay for her stay at the Dublin's answer to the Betty Ford clinic, Cloisters. Rachel happily agrees as she thinks of it more of a holiday (hence the book title). She thinks it is the place that all the rock stars go cold turkey with jacuzzis, gymnasiums, massages and lots of luxury. Without giving away too much, Rachel learns a lot about herself while at Cloisters. I don't think I'm meant to, but I find this book to be hugely uplifting with a side of humour and intrigue. I started off reading it slowly and before long I was spending most of my days reading it.

Researching into the Irish writer, Marian Keyes and her other publications, I discover that she has written about the Walsh sisters with other books including: AngelsWatermelonAnybody Out There and The Mystery of Mercy Close. Apparently Marian is known to tackle hard-hitting issues such as domestic violence and mental illness. I know she tackles addiction well, and reading inside I learn that like any dedicated author, researched many treatment centres to learn how they differ. I want to read more of the adventures of the Walsh sisters, and these books will definitely be on my birthday wishlist. 

Now that I've finished, I've stacked up quite a list of books to move onto:

1. Dexter in the Dark by Jeff Lindsay
I've read the first book, when my kind friend lent it about a year ago (give or take). Loved it. I adore the series, but love how the book differ in some ways. For example, some characters are killed off sooner and some parts happen later than they did in the series. Nevertheless it was written brilliantly and I can't wait to read this one.

2. Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov 
I've been trying to read this classic for quite some time. I can't remember when I first got it, but find the subject matter difficult to get to grips with. It is very descriptive, and the books I like most have a lot of dialogue and things actually happening. There seems to be a lot of discussion of feelings in this, as the main character is stepfather to Lolita who he is physically attracted to. It feels like you're invading a disgusting family's nightmare. I feel like a bit of a trespasser when I pick it up, if that makes sense. I'd be interested if anyone else has read it. I just can't warm to it!

3. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace
This is another book I've had for a fair few years, and not got to read. I only started the first page this week. With over 1,000 pages it is maybe a bit intimidating to get started.

4. Black & Blue by Ian Rankin
I've heard a lot about the writer and thought it seemed interesting when I came across it in East Cowes' Age UK charity shop. I'm not sure if I've read an Ian Rankin book before. I seem to remember reading a crime book on a long journey back from Glasgow to Aberdeen...Aye well! Either way I will let you know what I think of this.

5. The People V. O.J. Simpson: The Run of His Life by Jeffrey Toobin
It's an interesting case that I've wanted to learn about. Unfortunately I missed watching the TV series so I'm looking forward to reading this instead


  1. This was one of the first Marian Keyes books I ever read and I loved it x

    1. Sorry for the late response! Not come across anyone that has read her books but definitely want to read it again x

  2. I am quite a big fan of Marian, she has some great stories although I have not read 'Rachels holiday' yet!

    1. Heard of her and been meaning to read her books :)x

  3. I read Rachel's Holiday years ago, definitely one of my fave Marion Keyes books.

    1. I was amazed at how it tackled difficult topics :)