Book Reviews

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes: ARC Book Review

This is a spoiler-free review.

Grown Ups by Marian Keyes

Expected publication June 30th, 2020 by Doubleday Canada.

My rating:

Rating: 3 out of 5.

They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.

Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.

Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .

Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.

In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?

Thank you to the publisher, Penguin Random House Canada/Doubleday Canada, and NetGalley for providing me an e-ARC of this book. All thoughts are my own.

“Finally- and, Jessie, this is the last time I’ll say it-“

His confidence was very unsettling. She’d got used to him abashing himself with remorse.

“-I only said ‘lol’ once and I despised myself for it.”

Marian Keyes’s newest book Grown Ups is the perfect summer read for those craving a fun, enjoyable chick-lit to keep them company while lounging poolside. But unlike so many other books in its genre, Grown Ups sets itself apart in a few key ways.

At first glance I was excited but slightly nervous to read this novel; it’s long and involves many different characters, two ingredients that could lead to trouble. Nevertheless, don’t let these facts turn you off it; Grown Ups is well-written prose that manages to keep you engaged throughout the entire read, and offers such individual, yet familiarly true-to-life, characters that you can easily recognize each one of them (and empathize with most) – even the children! Cara and Ed were by far my favourite of the bunch, but Jessie, Johnny, Nell and Ferdia managed to win me over too.

Throughout the entire story I kept internally shouting at the characters to ‘make better choices!‘ It was so antagonizing I couldn’t put the book down until I knew exactly what happened. These characters aren’t perfect – in fact, they’re anything but – they’re dysfunctionally realistic. Overall the character development displayed throughout this tale is extremely well done. It felt so natural of a progression that I didn’t even realize until it had already taken place that half of my opinions about characters had drastically changed from my initial impressions when first picking up the book to when I put it down at the end.

However, it is important to note that Grown Ups isn’t all fun and games. Within it’s page-turning plot lies some dark twists and turns, and serious topics such as mental health concerns, eating disorders and dealing with loss are discussed. While the majority of the book involves hilarious situations, scandalous affairs and witty dialogue, there are moments in between where serious topics are brought to light, woven expertly throughout the story at hand. In every instance of this more serious side to the Casey family, Keyes handles it with extreme adept for the concerns it may bring forth for her readers; and offers very realistic, but overall positive, outcomes for the characters going through these tough situations.

Hidden at the heart of this light, fun summer romp is the lesson that life will throw you some curve balls you never could have predicted, but you’ll eventually gain the confidence to trust that when these things do happen, you’ll be able to handle them, and come out stronger in the end. Loss, grief and challenges are a part of life – but so is love, growth and happiness. And yes, learning that comes with growing up.

What is your favourite summer read?

Let me know!

Liza is a twenty-something book blogger who spends way too much time with her nose in books and feels way too much. She loves cooking, baking, reality tv show watching and, of course, reading. She can be found most often with a cup of tea in one hand and a book in the other. Her blog, Literary Liza, features bookish content like reviews, recommendations, and author interviews.


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