Book: Rachel’s Holiday | Author: Marian Keyes | Started: 4/24/14 | Finished: 4/29/14 | Rating: 3 stars
Synopsis: The fast lame is much too slow for Rachel Walsh. And Manhattan is the perfect place for a young Irish female to overdo everything. But Rachel’s love of a good time is about to land her in the emergency room. It will also cost her a job and the boyfriend she adores. When her loving family hustles her back home and checks her into Ireland’s answer to the Betty Ford Clinic, Rachel is hopeful. Perhaps it will be lovely- spa treatments, celebrities, that kind of thing. Instead, she finds a lot of group therapy, which leads her, against her will, to some important self-knowledge. She will also find something that all women like herself fear; a man who might actually be good for her.
“Of course I knew I was a shallow and horrible person and all that, but I couldn’t help it.”
For most of this book, I completely agreed with that statement because it was the truth. I could not stand Rachel and I almost got to a point where I wanted to drop the book because I don’t like reading a book that I hate. I kept with it because I knew that was the point. We were supposed to hate Rachel so we could love her even more when she inevitably grew up and recovered. I am glad I stayed with the book, though.
I will give Marian Keyes one thing: she can write a funny book. It’s hard to make books funny when they are about drug addiction and alcoholism, but Keyes did this perfectly. One thing I loved about this book was that it was funny. It was a light read, even though it had heavy material; I could picture myself sitting on a beach and reading this in an afternoon.
Keyes also writes her characters very well and that’s probably why I didn’t like Rachel for most of this book. Rachel was selfish and self-centered. Many addicts are in a way, but Rachel just made me want to rip my hair out.
- She didn’t want to date Luke because she was ashamed of him and didn’t know what her “cool” friends would say
- She only finally starting liking Luke after Brigit told her that Luke was cute.
- She didn’t want Luke to come to her house after going on a date, but that didn’t stop her from getting mad at him for not asking to go to her house
- Then when he got home and called her to ask if he could come over, she slammed the phone down in anger.
- She only wanted to date someone from rehab to make Luke jealous
- She honestly thought that she could get out of rehab and go get drunk and be totally fine
- She would not admit that she had a problem and usually chalked it up to “just having fun”
Basically, she was very annoying. I didn’t like her. She wasn’t a good person. But then…
“For the first time I realized how selfish and self-centered I was.”
After spending over 80% of the book filled with her lies and scapegoats, I was elated when she finally admitted that she was finally owning up to her horrendous behavior. I found myself rooting for her for the last part of the book after that. She was more bearable and at times it almost felt like a completely different person.
When I wasn’t wanting to rip my hair out because of Rachel, I was enjoying the rest of the book. Marian Keyes sets up scenery well. Cloisters was a made-up clinic, but Keyes made it come alive. She made the other characters come alive. She is from Ireland and that’s where most of the book took place. It was fun reading a book set in a place where I’ve never been. Keyes brought in Irish accents and dialects that I didn’t know existed throughout the country.
Part of the book was also based in New York because it went back and forth between Pre-Rehab and During-Rehab. The New York part of the book was about the same as most other books I’ve read about New York, minus all the drugs obviously. Pre-Rehab Rachel was obnoxious and very stuck up, so that part of the story was never that fun because it just annoyed me. Then there is Post-Rehab that is set in both places as well. I liked this part most because she was a likable person at this time.
The other characters were fun and a good break from only hearing about Rachel. I loved the other people in Cloisters and was sad when they all left. I enjoyed that this was different from other books that I’ve read with institutions involved.
In the end, I would probably read another Marian Keyes book if I saw one around. I see why she is popular. This one just wasn’t my cup of tea.