Thursday, July 15, 2010

This Charming Man

I bought this book last summer in Greece because I'm a sucker for chic literature and I needed something that I knew would be a page turner for me while I lazied about on the beach. I never did wind up reading it while in Greece, which is actually good for me because you know ... I WAS IN GREECE LAZYING IT UP ON THE BEACH AND I NEEDED TO SOAK IN THAT FACT.

Sorry, didn't mean to yell there.

I finally got around to reading the book this past week. I've been doing a lot of heavy reading lately and needed to give my brain a bit of a break and figured this read would be the perfect distraction.

This isn't the first book I've read by Marian Keyes. She has a tendency to really jam-pack her stories and this book was no exception; it's over 700 pages long. I really like her writing style. I just throw on my Irish accent (in my head -- like I'd embarrass myself by saying it out loud where people could potentially hear me) and jump right into the story.

This book is written in the voice of four women.

First we have Lola, the woman who opens up the book. She just found out through the media that her boyfriend (an esteemed politician named Paddy) is getting married. To someone else. Obviously she goes through all of the expected emotions and behaviours, including stalking. I'll admit this: her voice was hard to read. It was very detached and improper and would it kill you to speak in a complete sentence kind of style. I damn near wrote a letter to the editor to alert them of all the grammatical errors in case a newer edition came into print.

I'm glad I saved myself the embarrassment, because we finally move on to the voices of the three other women who speak in complete (albeit psychotic) sentences.

Meet Grace, Marnie and Alicia. These three ladies knew Paddy when he was a cocky teenager, but he still strikes a chord with all three of them.

Here's some of the story to get you intrigued enough to buy the book:

Paddy is this great-looking, charismatic politician. He's also an asshole. The fact that he's a politician should have tipped you off to that fact. We don't find out he's an asshole until about the middle of the book. He dated Lola while getting engaged to Alicia. Alicia was friends with Paddy (and Grace and Marnie) when they were all in high school and Paddy dated Marnie. Grace was also interested in Paddy, but he wound up with Marnie. Grace's twin sister. Got all that?

Without giving too much away, this book touches upon issues of alcoholism, rape, physical and emotional abuse and cross-dressing. I'm sure I missed something in there. You're probably thinking, how could this be a light chic-literature read when these massive issues are playing a role? My answer is your guess is as good as mine. It just is.

Keyes has a way with words that literally will grip you and hold you tight until you read the final word on the final page. Like I said, it took awhile for me to get into the book and fully understand everyone's roles, but once I did, I could not stop reading. It was funny and endearing and in the end, like every good chic-literature novel, the good guys win.