Thursday 28 June 2012

Retro Review - Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

I love re-reading books and find it comforting revisiting characters and stories I already know. A bit like watching 10 Things I Hate About You 10,000 times (or is that just me?)

I have been re-reading books from my bookcase and have saved the best one until last:

Rachel Walsh has been living in New York for the past eight years, having fun with her best friend and roommate, Brigit. Rachel loves New York, loves going out to parties and meeting men. None of the men stick around for long until she meets Luke Costello. Kind, sexy Luke who really seems to like her.

Six months down the line, everything seems to be going wrong. After an accidental overdose, Rachel is whisked back to Ireland by her overreacting family. She's lost her job, Brigit is furious with her and she's been dumped by Luke.

Rachel finds herself in the Cloisters to tackle her so-called drug additction. She has only agreed to incarcerate herself in the rehabilitation centre to rub shoulders with the celebrity clients and to indulge in the spa treatments. She'll stay in the Cloisters for the required eight weeks and have a break while lounging in the sauna or relaxing with an aromatherapy massage. She'll put up with the real addicts, even though Rachel isn't like them. Rachel isn't an addict. Yes, she takes the odd drug but only for recreational use.

But as the weeks go by, Rachel is faced with her friends and family and is forced to listen to their horror stories of Rachel's drug taking. But they're lying. Aren't they?

How do you take a difficult, unpleasant subject and tell it in an easy, humourous way without losing the serious nature of the story? I don't know but Marian Keyes does. She's done it time and time again. Rachel's Holiday deals with addiction and its effects on the user as well as their families and while it is laugh-out-loud funny, it isn't at the expense of addiction and its sufferers. It doesn't take the piss out of addiction but it is told in Marian Keyes' wonderful style.

Rachel's Holiday is one of my favourte books and I was soon reminded why. I love the way Rachel's addiction is told through her eyes, thinking those around her are overreacting to her drug use before it dawns on her that she does have a problem. We hear the stories from her friends and family, which differ massively from Rachel's recollections.

There is humour throughout, which is hardly surprising as not only is it written by Marian Keyes, who has produced many brilliant, funny characters, it centres around the Walsh family. The Walsh family have also appeared in Watermelon, Angels, Anybody Out There? and will be in Marian's next book, The Mystery of Mercy Close, which is due out in September. I can't wait.


  1. Read it last year and loved it but it didn't top Anybody Out There in my heart! :)

    1. I loved Anybody Out There too (in fact, all of Marian Keyes' books) but Rachel's Holiday was one of the first Marian Keyes books I read so it's a bit like a first love.


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