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Monday, March 26, 2007

Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes

Finally! I finished a book. And what a great book it was!
Rachel Walsh is Irish by birth but has lived in New York for the past several years. Rachel wants to be trendy, fashionable. She wants to be with the popular people and be the life of the party. She loves a good time, and a little (ok a lot of) cocaine. Everyone does, right? When she ends up in the hospital from an overdose, her family snaps to and sends her to the Cloisters, a rehab center in Ireland. Rachel expects a glamorous holiday, surrounded by celebrities and mud baths. She doesn't need rehab, because she doesn't have a problem, but to appease her family she checks in.
This book is so well written. The plot swaps back and forth between her experience in rehab and her life in New York, with each of them building to the inevitable conclusion. You feel the urgency with which Rachel craves her drugs and the denial and anger when she finally sees the truth. It's not always easy (for Rachel) but the writing makes it very clear what she's going through, and what it's like to face an addiction and recover. Rachel grows up a lot, she learns how she came to be an addict, and how live with it. She makes mistakes and moves on. She learns to apologize and to forgive.
The secondary characters in the book are excellent. Luke is wonderful, Brigit is perfectly flawed, the sisters have distinct personalities. The conflict with her mother is heartbreaking.
I really really liked this book. At nearly 600 pages this was not a quick book, but I am glad that I read it. I have known a few addicts and this book gives me insight into why they behave the way they do. I trust the author knows her stuff, as she wrote a great essay in Under the Duvet about her own experience with addiction and recovery. I will definitely be looking for more of her books!
This book was part of the TBR challenge.


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