I’ve wanted to read Grown Ups by Marian Keyes since it was published last year. But I was sensible and waited for the paperback, and even then it took me a while to get round to reading it.
I wanted to read it because I love everything Marian Keyes does. I love her gentle humour, her quirky Irish phrases and especially the warmth of her relatable and flawed characters. And even though I love everything she does, Grown Ups is to me her best for a very long time. Perhaps her best ever.
Grown Ups is the story of the extended Casey family – three brothers, their wives and lots of kids. Central to the story are the wives – rich businesswoman Jessie, Cara whose life is ruled and ruined by her weight and new girl Nell, who is nearly 20 years younger than Jessie and adored by all of the kids. Every occasion for the Caseys is a big party, always funded by Jessie.
The book starts with Cara losing the plot and sharing a few home truths with the family, before going back in time six months. I must admit I did go back and reread that prologue a couple of times while I was reading, to see if I understood what it was all about.
Through party after party, the cracks in the Casey family start to show. While the women seem to adore each other, there is no love lost between brothers Johnny and Liam, or between Johnny and his stepson Ferdia. And with Jessie spending money like water, will they be able to keep up the lifestyle or will something have to give?
This is a very long book, at over 600 pages, but not once does it get boring. And while everything is set against the backdrop of family parties, it deals with some tough subjects too, including the treatment of asylum seekers in Ireland.
I absolutely loved Grown Ups and would recommend it to anyone. It is warm and funny and brilliant.