*I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*
Title: The Break
Author: Marian Keyes
Publisher: Penguin, Michael Joseph
Publication Date: September 7, 2017
Synopsis from Goodreads:
Amy’s husband Hugh isn’t really leaving her. At least, that’s what he promises. He is just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. For six-months Hugh will lose himself in south-east Asia, and there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet . . . It’s been a long time since Amy held a briefcase in one hand and a baby in the other. She never believed she’d have to go it alone again. She just has to hold the family together until Hugh comes back. But a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns, if he returns, will he be the same man she married? And will Amy be the same woman? Because falling in love is easy. The hard part – the painful, joyous, maddening, beautiful part – is staying in love.
Marian Keyes was a huge part of my life as I moved out of the world of YA as a teenager and into the world of literary and historical fiction. I’m rarely ever a fan of chick lit writers. I couldn’t get on board with Sophie Kinsella, Emily Griffith, or Cecelia Ahern. But Marian Keyes always stood out to me. Perhaps it’s because her stories rarely take themselves seriously and are light-hearted and fun. Or perhaps it’s the reality of life mixed in British humour and sometimes ridiculous plot lines. Either way, Keyes is an excellent and witty writer who writes compelling characters.
In The Break, Amy’s marriage is at a crossroads. Her husband, her kind wonderful husband, experiences a mid-life crisis and takes off leaving Amy and her children behind. A break means putting the marriage on hold in every way. While apart they have no responsibilities to one another and are free to go and do as they like. At the end they are to come back and return to life as before…but Amy knows that things can never go back to how they were before.
What I really enjoyed about this book was the imperfection of each character. They are all real and they all make mistakes. Sometimes, even to them, life around them is unbelievable, but the story is grounded in characters who hurt and heal, who love and hate, who are lost and who find their way again. I really connected with a few characters in the book. Although there are a few heavy topics discussed such as love, infidelity, parenthood, family, abortion, reproductive rights, women’s rights, and so on, things are more digestible with Keyes intermittent humour and light hearted approach. The Break is funny as well as deep.
My only criticism was the size of my copy. It’s a 568 paperback which was difficult to tote around. Perhaps I’d prefer a hardback, but cracking the spin to read the middle pages broke my heart a little bit. There isn’t much to be done about it because the story is perfect as it is so the book length couldn’t be shortened, but if I’d had a choice, I think I’d prefer to read the paperback. Not much to complain about! 🙂
I hope you’ll all read this lovely story. It’s an excellent and quick read to pick up around the holidays.