Chloe's Reviews > Watermelon

Watermelon by Marian Keyes
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's review
Jan 13, 2010

it was amazing
Read in May, 2008

Claire Webster is ecstatically happy after giving birth to her first child, a daughter with husband James. However, her dream is shattered when he announced hours after the birth that he's leaving her for another woman. Claire's in shock and flees London to her family home in Dublin, where her mother, father and sister are waiting to take in a distraught Claire and new baby. Claire's determined to win back her man but at what cost? Or will Claire outgrow James as she grows as a mother to their daughter?

The story dove straight into its main theme, with Claire narrating in the first person from the birth of her baby. The narrative is honest and funny, despite the terrible circumstances that Claire finds herself in. This seems to be a talent of Keyes, writing a miserable storyline in a funny and happy way, so that the characters aren't dull or funny, but actually endearing and quite friendly despite everything. I really liked Claire straight away, and just from the first few pages I knew I was going to like her and consequently like the book because of this.

As its written from Claire's perspective, the story is obviously biased towards Claire and her side of the story, but this obviously works well as James is supposed to be a right sod anyway. Keyes writes this relationship in a clever way, making James out to be an awful man, although still having Claire love her husband, as people indeed do despite what their partners do to them. And the other enjoyable part of the book for me was reading Clare developing as a mother, starting off clueless and scared, but becoming confident although nervous at leaving her daughter alone for her first night reminded me so much of myself! This was a joy to read, and Keyes has really reached the inner emotions of a new mum here, making it fantastic reading.

The Walsh family themselves, who are Claire's family, are a great laugh. She has traditional parents who are hilarious but clearly want the best for their daughter and grand-daughter, but it is her sisters that are the best characters in the book. Claire has 3 sisters, Rachel and Margaret (who we don't meet in this book), hippy Anna who lives in a drug-induced dreamworld and bitchy Helen, a typically stroppy 18 year old who thinks the world revolves are her and her lovelife. In fact, the family were such a hit with readers that Keyes has gone on to base a further 3 books about the sisters which I am excited about reading!

This book is a really heart-warming tale despite what sounds like a bit of a depressing storyline. Being written in the first person, you can instantly warm to Claire and her plight, and although her circumstances are pretty dire, she still writes in a humourous way, making you laugh along the way with her words. The book really kicks in when it arrives in Dublin and the family is introduced to us. The way her family rallies around her is lovely and heart-warming, and is a true testament to the strength of families when you're in need. The characters are all brilliantly written, from Claire to her sisters, to the horrid James (who gets worse as the book goes on believe it or not!) to Laura and Adam, characters who appear gradually throughout the book.

At 520 pages long, the book is quite long but I didn't find that it dragged too much which was good. I'm always worried with rather long books that they are going to drag a bit and lose their way in the middle, but Keyes has kept up the pace nicely with one and it doesn't deviate from its plot at all. It develops in a plausible way, with Claire's character growing throughout the book fantastically, allowing you to feel for her struggles and applauding her strength. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and would recommend it to anyone who likes a good chick-lit book with an uplifting and enjoyable storyline. A great read. And in case you're wondering about the title, a watermelon is what Claire likens her post-pregnancy body to!

ISBN: 978-0099489986 (please note this ISBN is for the newest edition of the book printed in 2005), the book was originally released in 1995. The newest paperback version contains 520 pages. Published by Arrow Books Ltd. Available on Amazon for £5.54 although I got my copy in a charity shop for just 50 pennies! For more information on Marian Keyes, see her website at

Oh, and the other books involving the Walsh family are:
Rachel's Holiday (1998)
Angels (2001)
Anybody Out There? (2006)
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