REVIEW: WATERMELON, BY MARIAN KEYES

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When Claire Walsh Webster had her baby girl on February 15, the date was permanently etched on her mind for two reasons: it was her daughter’s birthday, and it was the day her husband James abandoned her for the woman with whom he had been having an affair.

To say that Claire’s life was turned upside down would be an understatement. Taking herself and her baby from London to Dublin was the first step toward creating her new life. Staying in the family home with her parents and two younger sisters did little for her self-esteem, however, and for days and weeks, she languished in the bed, often forgetting to get dressed.

Her younger sisters, Anna and Helen, were annoying distractions…to Claire and to this reader, but their voices did add a bit of humor to Watermelon (Walsh Family Book 1). Themes of betrayal, relationships, and family dynamics kept the story interesting, although it moved rather slowly for most of the story.

I was rooting for Claire, as she struggled to come to terms with the major changes in her life, and I enjoyed the internal monologues she carried on in a rather comic and snarky voice. The story is narrated from her first person perspective, and it was a funny voice indeed.

Would Claire manage to create a new life for herself? Would she find love again? And what would happen when James finally wanted to see her? Could his rather unexpected suggestions arouse her to take charge of her own life?

I recommend this story to those fascinated by family drama and issues of female empowerment, but don’t expect a fast-paced narrative or a plot that leads to any major conclusions. A fun, light read can be enough on some days, though. I liked this conclusion that Claire arrived at toward the end of the book, as she began to reclaim her life:

“When happiness makes a guest appearance in one’s life, it’s important to make the most of it. It may not stay around for long and when it has gone wouldn’t it be terrible to think that all the time one could have been happy was wasted worrying about when that happiness would be taken away?”

A 4 star read.

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