Book Review – The Break

The Break by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718179731

I admit that I have read nearly all of Marian Keyes’ books and I’ve enjoyed most of them. The last few have been hit and miss, especially The Woman Who Stole My Life, but The Break has made me forget my disappointments.

Amy and her husband, Hugh are taking a break. Actually, Hugh has insisted on it and Amy has been forced to accept it. Their three daughters (cobbled together by previous relationships and family interventions) are gutted. Neeve is angry, Kiara is stoic, and Sofie is distraught.

But none of them can stop him. He says he needs six months away from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. He is determined to find -or lose- himself in south-east Asia.

Amy is one of my favourite Keyes’ heroines. She is strong and not as flaky as some of the others. She has no addiction problems and she holds down a good job. She gets on with her four siblings and her parents and her colleagues. She gets on with ‘the break’ as I imagine many real people would.

Of course, Marian Keyes is always funny, and the book is packed with quirky characters and outrageous situations. I loved the book and I hope the next one will be as good.

Amanda Patterson

The Break by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph) ISBN: 9780718179731

When I saw a new book by Marian Keyes just before going on holiday, I couldn’t resist. She is the queen of escapism with her Irish sense of humour, her warmth, the familiarity of her characters, and the lightness she brings to serious topics. After finishing the 570 pages of her new novel, I was disappointed. Maybe I am older? Or maybe this just wasn’t so good.

Amy’s husband, Hugh suggests that he needs to go away on a long break from their 17-year-long marriage and kids. He plans to travel for six months. He is not leaving her, he reassures her, but just needs time for himself. Amy is mortified and angry, but still loves him. She wants to wait for him because he is her best friend and because she has committed to this marriage. During the course of his absence, she realises her role in the marriage and what boredom and familiarity can cause.

Keyes touches on subjects like bereavement, the care of ageing parents, and abortion. She writes with emotional insight. My best parts were about the slow raise to fame of Amy’s mother on her daughter’s Instagram. But overall I felt the pace was too slow.

Pauline Vijverberg

The Break by Marian Keyes (Michael Joseph) ISBN 9780718179731

Amy and Hugh have been married for 18 years. Hugh accepted Amy’s daughter from her previous marriage as his own, then they had a child together early in their relationship, and later they also took in Amy’s niece when she was a toddler. Their seemed like the perfect loving family.

Until…Hugh announces that since his father and best friend passed away a couple of months before he felt lost and had the urgent urge to “find himself”. How did he plan to do this? A six month “break” from his marriage to travel, take no responsibilities with him and have sexual relationships with anyone he chooses.

Now, one may feel sorry for Amy but there is a bit of guilt on her part – she has been flirting with a work acquaintance for a couple of months. Is she part of the reason Hugh needs to take a break from their marriage?

In Marian Keyes’ special way, we get drawn into the story and we try to understand the situation from all sides without judgement. In the meantime, Amy has to assist her niece with an unwanted pregnancy as well. There is no end to the drama in her life!

It is an interesting story written in a charming way. I enjoyed it.

Amanda Blankfield-Koseff