‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes – Concluded

You can find the first part of this review here

Grown Ups’ feels like the first volume in a longer series. I would love Keyes to write a follow up as I’m keen to know what happens next to all the characters, chancers and sweet souls that people this novel. To see how Keyes brings each character to life and keeps them distinct and relevant is impressive, as the story weaves and comes to its conclusion. It’s a good, long read, with no wasted words and it’s obvious that a great deal of thought has been invested in crafting the narrative.

In common with most authors writing this year, Keyes has faced a dilemma: the story is firmly set in 2020 and so Keyes has opted to assume that the pandemic is not happening. To that extent, all writers face a choice: to write a story within a pandemic backdrop – because that is what this year has been – or to assume, as Marian has done – hey, it’s fiction – that the pandemic exists in another kind of reality that has no bearing on the Casey’s family story. And, though I have swithered on this point, it is refreshing to read a story that is up-to-date but which proceeds blissfully outside the common reality of closed theatres, empty festival venues and shut shops. It’s nice to get simple, vicarious thrills from a novel.

All credit to Keyes for a generous, vibrant and heart-felt tale, beautifully written as always and thoughtful. There are some very sobering threads of narrative – middle wife does well to come out of her traumatic experiences with her life intact – mostly about the importance of communication, honesty and trusting. I always feel I learn a lot about life from reading a Keyes novel; and this offering continues the trend in my – very willing – education about life, the universe and everything else besides.

Thanks for reading.

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