The simplest way that I can describe Rachel’s Holiday by Marian Keyes is that I was impressed by how much it accomplished and yet I didn’t like it at all. It’s a complicated thing, because a large part of the reason I didn’t like it was because the main character’s attitude, actions, and state of denial were SO AGGRAVATING. Like, holy shit, I wanted to shake this woman and never let her go. But then that’s the whole reason the author was successful – because she did such a spot-on job of portraying a non-recovering drunk, and then a newly-recovered drunk, and then a relapsed-drunk, and then a comfortably-settled-into-recovery drunk.
I hated how aggravating the main character was but she was aggravating because people in that state are aggravating. As a recovering alcoholic, I’m sure my behavior was just as confusing to other’s as Rachel’s was to me. I’m sure my denial, my entitlement, and my ability to find really bizarro excuses for my behavior were no better. And yet, it’s rather unpleasant to be stuck in this character’s head for hundreds of pages.
All of that said, would I recommend this book to a friend? Well, that depends on what you’re looking for. A fun little book that lives up to the pastel purple cover and fun-loving stick figure above the title? Yeah, that’s not here. Do you want answers to those, “What the hell were they thinking?!?” questions you’ve had about people whose lives have gone to hell yet can’t seem to stop their bad behavior? Well, this book will answer those questions – though I don’t know that you’ll like the answers.