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The Break by Marian Keyes
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The Break

by Marian Keyes

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774219,900 (3.52)3

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Showing 4 of 4
Too long. Started well and dragged on. Bring back the nevella! ( )
  triscuit | Apr 24, 2018 |
What do you do when your husband, out of the blue, announces that he is taking a 6 month break from his life with freedom to go where he wants and do what he wants? This is Amy’s dilemma. I would have really liked this book, but it was way, way too long, so much so that anything and everything to do with work, the mother plus other inessential characters I just skimmed over or missed out entirely otherwise I would never have got through it all! Hugh was a drip and I didn’t take to him at all and man magnet Amy was annoying to say the least. There weren’t any surprises or “didn’t see that coming” moments. This would be perfect for those readers who enjoy LONG chick-lit books. ( )
  boudicca123 | Dec 15, 2017 |
I’m not normally interested in mainstream romantic fiction but Marian Keyes is one of those writers who transcend genre. Over the years she has managed to combine some very dark issues (domestic abuse, addiction, bereavement) with sharp humour and zeitgeisty references (though she does write rather more about shoes than I would like).

The Break is about Amy, a woman in her forties with two daughters (and care of her niece) and a loving, responsible husband, Hugh. After a crisis in his life, Hugh suddenly decides he wants to take six months off and backpack round Asia. Amy is left in Dublin to cope with her busy PR career, the three girls, the machinations of her friends and extended family and her own emotional turmoil.

The Break has all the Keyes staples. It’s packed with the usual cultural references. There’s a big, eccentric Irish family (with more than a passing resemblance to the Walshes, who feature in many of Keyes’ other novels) and lots of stuff about clothes, minor celebrities, YouTube vloggers, social media sensations and the ever-shifting norms of middle-class life. Amy is a tougher, more pragmatic heroine than in some of the other novels and so, despite her sadness around Hugh, you feel like nothing too terrible will happen (although conversely there weren’t as many laugh-out-loud moments).

I whizzed through it and mostly enjoyed it but I did feel that it lacked something – and that something was probably a stern editor and another draft. (I’ve felt this a few times with big name authors, presumably the limiting factor is time rather than money.) There’s a lot of repetition. The period between Hugh saying he’ll go and him actually going drags on for far too long. There are plot points that are set up but never paid off and some of the reversals come from nowhere. Amy has a superfluous sibling who adds nothing to the plot and becomes just another name to remember (perhaps not coincidentally, there are also five Walsh siblings and Keyes herself is one of five). Key events lose their impact because they take place off camera.

All in all, The Break has an episodic feel, more like a soap than a novel. Big issues are raised, dealt with and then forgotten, rather than contributing to a building of the narrative.

Despite these reservations, it’s a fun, breezy read, with some good set pieces. Hardcore Keyes fans will love it.
*
I received a copy of The Break from the publisher via Netgalley.
This review first appeared on my blog https://katevane.wordpress.com/ ( )
  KateVane | Sep 16, 2017 |
I first came across Marion Keyes thanks to a very generous housemate at university. She writes believable friends in funny Irish families, with plenty of emotional turmoil and an optimistic ending. I can't remember one book that didn't make me laugh out loud.

'Maybe I’ll do a vlog with you.’
‘Would I be on telly?’
‘Granny . . .’ A note of warning has entered Neeve’s voice. ‘Don’t make me explain the internet to you again.’
‘No, no. No. I understand it. It’s magic telly for the young people.’‘ ( )
  charl08 | Sep 4, 2017 |
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Amy's husband Hugh says he isn't leaving her. He still loves her but he's just taking a break from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia and there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it's a mid-life crisis, but let's be clear: a break isn't a break up - yet. However, for Amy it's enough to send her, along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers, teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn't she?… (more)

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