Author: Marian Keyes
Series: Walsh Family #1
Genre: Chick Lit
Published: September 1995
Source: Personal copy
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First SentenceFebruary the fifteenth is a very special day for me.
Marian Keyes begins Watermelon with a rather inauspicious romantic opening when the heroine’s husband leaves her for Denise from the flat downstairs the day their first child is born. Claire, the deserted wife and mother, returns to her family in Dublin and, after going through the required stages of “Loss, Loneliness, Hopelessness and Humiliation”, begins to feel much better–so much better that when James tries to win his way back into her affections, he gets more than he bargained for.
Watermelon is a book that you fall in love with without realising it. Keyes writes in such a familiar way that you feel as though you are an important part of the story as Claire isn’t just telling her story, she is telling you. This gives us as the readers an instant connection to our protagonist and so as she builds up this amazing love story, we fall with her when we learn how her husband left her for another woman on the day their child was born. We hate him with her. And alongside her, we want to know how he could abandon his child so easily.
From the very first paragraph, Watermelon is enticing as hell. Why did her husband leave her like that? How could anybody do such a thing? What’s going to happen back in Dublin? You just find yourself dying to know, and even when a large chunk of the novel is spent following Claire through her anger and depression, the conversational voice the story is written in keeps it from dragging, and the Walsh family showing more and more how utterly mental they all are makes it a hilarious read.
Of course, at some point Claire realises that life goes on and the book picks up and becomes a lot funnier. All of the characters come into their own as we start to see them a little more and I just loved them all for their own little quirks. I do have to admit feeling quite unsure of Adam in the beginning. Something felt rather off about him but thankfully by the end, I loved him to bits as well, so that could easily have just been me.
There are some colloquialisms that threw me off at first, such as the use of “Will I” instead of “Shall/Can/Would you like/etc.”, but they did remind you of where you were. I also felt that not very much happened throughout the novel, however when I started yelling at my book I knew it had me because it takes an awful lot to get a reaction out of me when I’m reading.
Overall, Watermelon is heartfelt, funny and an all around great read. It has a happy ending, a strong-willed heroine and some good laughs.
The Walsh Family series:
2. Rachel’s Holiday
4. Anybody Out There?
5. The Mystery of Mercy Close