Watermelon - Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

A grand first novel by Irish writer Keyes is a hilarious treatise on love's roller coaster.

Both elated and exhausted after giving birth to a daughter, the 29-year-old Claire is shocked senseless when her husband James comes to the London hospital not to celebrate, but instead to break the news that he's leaving her for their dowdy downstairs neighbour. The stunned Claire, with new baby in tow, and feeling as big as a summer melon, hightails it back to her family in Dublin to sort out her life. Wandering around her childhood home in her mother's old nightgowns, a vodka bottle in one hand and the bawling Kate in the other, Claire tries to banish images of the frolicking James and his "other woman". Her two younger sisters prove to be a comfort - sweet Anna, a hippie drug-dealer, loans Claire money for booze, and haughty Helen deigns to buy it for her. And drunken anguish does have its rewards, for in no time Claire sheds her extra weight, thanks to a steady liquid diet and nights spent on the family rowing machine fantasizing James's ruin. But it is only when Gorgeous Adam appears on the scene that Claire begins to recover a sense of purpose. A college friend of Helen's, Adam exemplifies perfect manhood-and helpfully takes a liking to her, too. But just as things begin crackling between them, James shows up, oh-so-generously ready to forgive Claire for driving him into the arms of the other woman. Torn between the comforts of her former life in London and a new, heartening sense of self-worth and self-sufficiency-not to mention the Gorgeous Adam - Claire finds herself hard put to make decision.

A candid, irresistibly funny debut and perfect summertime read.

Publication: Kirkus Reviews (America) Date: 15 May 1998

A Side-Splitting Tale

Claire is not having it easy at the moment.

She's just had a baby; her husband has left her and she's moving back to Ireland to live with the mammy while she gets over the shock.

But her big problem is not that her episiotomy is killing her, or that she's going to have to traipse through her past (bumping into the odd skeleton on the way).

Her biggest problem is not even that her husband has left her - it's that he didn't have the decency to leave her for someone skinny!

Marian Keyes has a talent for writing about ordinary things happening to ordinary people. But in "Watermelon", the skill with which she weaves this tangled web is extraordinary.

Publication: The Star (Ireland) Journalist: Rory Hafford Date: 04 November 1995