Originally published: 6 February 2020
Author: Marian Keyes
Published by: Michael Joseph
Genre: Chick Lit
Length: 656 pages
Reading dates: 12-17 April 2020
Grown Ups tells the story of the Casey family. Johnny Casey is married to Jessie, they have 5 kids between them and successfully run their own company. They spend a lot of time with Johnny’s brothers Ed and Liam, their wives and kids celebrating birthday parties together and holidaying together. On the surface, they are one big happy family.
Ed and wife Cara are happily married with two boys. Cara is a hot shot receptionist at an upmarket hotel, is well liked by the whole family but has always struggled with her weight.
Liam and his wife Nell are recently married after a whirlwind romance and are still getting to know each other. Nell is Liam’s second wife, is quite a bit younger than him and is a theatre set designer.
But at the beginning of the book at Johnny’s birthday party, Ed’s wife Cara, who has just had a knock on the head can’t keep her thoughts to herself and starts spilling all the families secrets, to everyone’s horror!
I’ll start with a small disclaimer. I adore Marian Keyes and have read and loved everything she has ever written, starting with Watermelon way back in 1996! I got a serious case on envy when I saw bloggers receiving proof copies of Grown Ups. I ordered a copy and it arrived on publication day and then it sat on my shelf. I’m sure I’m not the only blogger who packs their schedules so tight they rarely have time to read books from their shelves! Especially books that are over 600 pages long. But then Covid-19 hit and a combination of me trying to be good a couple of months ago and some blog tours being postponed meant I was suddenly able to choose what I read!
I have to admit when I picked it up and read the first chapter I was a little worried I would keep track of who all the characters were. There is even a family tree that I had to refer to, to try and figure out everyone’s relationship to each other! But within just a couple of chapters I knew who everyone was. Keyes is such a great creator of characters, she has managed to all the characters their own clear personality.
Johnny and Jessie are the lynchpins of the family. They are overwhelmingly generous and treat everyone to amazing holidays and nights away. Growing up as an only child, Jessie just loves family and genuinely adores surrounding herself with the other adults and kids. As with all families, everyone has their own problems too. Jessie’s previous husband died in his thirties and Johnny’s step son Ferdia especially gives him a hard time. Jessie also still desperately misses her first husbands family who cut her out of their lives when she married Johnny.
As with all of Marian Keyes’s books, Grown Ups is humorous (even laugh out loud funny in places). But also tackles serious issues, most notably bulimia which I think is handled really well. I actually loved all the characters (apart from Liam perhaps) and the 656 pages just flew by. I actually didn’t want it to end, and I’m really hoping there is a sequel at some point because I feel they have so many more stories to tell. Full marks from me…I couldn’t fault it.
Grown Ups is perfect the perfect lockdown book – buy a copy now!
About the author:
Marian Keyes (born 10 September 1963) is an Irish novelist and non-fiction writer, best known for her work in women’s literature. She is an Irish Book Awards winner. Over 22 million copies of her novels have been sold worldwide and her books have been translated into 32 languages. She became known worldwide for Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, and This Charming Man, with themes including domestic violence and alcoholism.