Mamamia's Book Club is a series involving a monthly review of a recent read. As we all know, the best part about book clubs is the cheese; unfortunately, we can't offer that virtually. So we've settled for the second best thing – discussion! This week, we review Marian Keyes' Grown Ups. Once you've read our review, we would love you to share your thoughts on the book below via our comments section.
What a book. What a story. And it’s all topped and tailed by a relatively mundane event, familiar to most of us – the family birthday dinner.
It is a scene many will recognise. Seated at the table are an ostensibly close-knit extended family. But among the hum of polite chit-chat exists eye rolls, sly comments, and ultimately complex relationships that are as muddled as they are captivating.
Like a block of Jenga, all it would take is for one secret to spill for the rest to be unravelled and the stability of their relationships to tumble in every direction.
Grown Ups is the latest book by best-selling author Marian Keyes, the brains behind 14 novels, including The Break and Rachel’s Holiday. The premise of Grown Ups is this: there are three brothers with three wives, plus kids from past and present marriages. They live in today’s Ireland and enjoy (or... don’t) a frankly impractical amount of family holidays and dinners.
There are Jessie and Johnny who own and run a successful chain of specialist food shops. When it comes to their extended family, they like to pay for everything – no matter the cost and with little regard to their lack of means to do so. Also, Jessie’s first husband passed away when she was 34 years old, and he happened to be Johnny’s best friend. Complex? Well, a little.
There are Ed and Cara, who are dealing with Cara’s potentially fatal eating disorder. She suffers from bulimia and insists she is in control of her food habits, yet often conceals to her husband and her psychologist the extent of her illness.