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Rachel's Holiday Paperback – International Edition, March 30, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Irish by birth but a trendy New Yorker for the past eight years, Rachel Walsh learns just what it means to have too much fun in this lively drama about addiction and recovery. Rachel enjoys cocaine, alcohol and meeting men in bars, especially men wearing tight leather pants. She can match anybody's hilarious anecdotes about a Catholic childhood, but recently her life's gone awry, and God has become "more like a celestial stand-up comic" than a "benign old guy with long hair." When she wakes up in a hospital emergency room and finds she's been diagnosed as a suicidal drug addict, she's enraged. She's also broke and unemployed, and her boyfriend has abandoned her. As a final indignity, her father takes her back home and books her into Dublin's Betty Ford-like clinic, the Cloisters. Famous for a clientele of rock stars, it should be a glamorous spa, but it isn't. Quarters are spartan, clients do housework and group therapy is humiliating. It could be worse, though, and there's one good-looking fellow-inmate who might, or might not, be a lifeline post-Cloisters. This novel isn't a how-to on overcoming addiction but an examination, often comic, of treatment that is expected to result in personality changes necessary for recovery. Smart-ass Rachel actually becomes a beguiling heroine after learning to wake up and cook eggs at about the same time in the morning she used to fall into somebody's bed in New York. Clever badinage ("the only way to get over one man is get under another") unfortunately sometimes gives way to phrases like "pantie-meltingly gorgeous." The narrative is overlong, and the characters rarely speakAthey yell or shriekAbut, overall, Keyes's stylish wit keeps readers attentive, and her take on addiction is insightful and compassionate. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Irish author Keyes continues her pleasantly amusing storytelling, although this book has more of an edge than last year's Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married (LJ 4/15/99). Rachel Walsh is definitely not a drug addictDeveryone does cocaine every now and then, right? But her roommate, Brigit, and semi-boyfriend, Luke, see a problem. Simply to pacify her friends and family, Rachel checks into an Irish rehab center called the Cloisters, expecting daily massages and seaweed wraps. Rachel is devastated to learn that she is enrolled in a real drug treatment center! We follow Rachel as she confronts her addiction and learns a lot about herself. The story is funny, fast paced, and sometimes intense. It's also longDand while it is an enjoyable read, it would have been spunkier at half the size. FYI: the movie is already in development. Recommended for public libraries.DBeth Gibbs, formerly with P.L. of Charlotte & Mecklenburg Cty., NC
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 640 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin UK (March 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140271791
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140271799
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 1.5 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (548 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,573,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Marian Keyes lived in London for ten years before returning to her native Dublin. After receiving a law degree and studying accounting, she began writing short stories in 1993. She is the author of three previous novels--Watermelon, Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, and Rachel's Holiday--all major bestsellers around the world.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 64 people found the following review helpful By Bryna L. Reed on July 25, 2000
Format: Hardcover
There is a reason Marian Keyes is one of my favorite authors. I think I read this book nearly two years ago. I was first introduced to Marian Keyes when my husband bought me Watermelon. When I finished it I knew I needed to have more! That began my search for her books. That is when I found Amazon.co.uk. I ordered everything she had written and pre-ordered one of her books that wasn't published yet. All of the books were well worth the extra cost to ship overseas and well worth purchasing from the UK. Rachel's holiday became my favorite. Which was amazing because I swore that I couldn't find a more entertaining book than Watermelon.
Rachel's Holiday is a wonderfully entertaining book about Rachel, the sister of Watermelon's heroine Claire. Rachel is addicted to drugs and alcohol and nearly ruins her life although she thinks there isn't anything wrong. She looks at rehab as a "holiday", she could use a vacation anyway, and she might get to see some celebrities while she is there. This isn't your typical book about a 20-something hitting rock bottom and having to pick up the pieces of the life she has ruined. The story is so witty and so funny that I laughed out loud but it is much more than that. I really fell in love with this book and the author. I wait for her books the way kids wait for Harry Potter!
Buy this book and you won't be disappointed. Better yet buy all of Marian Keyes' books.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel's Holiday by Marian Keyes. First of all, the depth of information it gave about addiction was astounding -- Ms. Keyes really seems to have done her research. I don't see how anyone could become an addict after reading this book!
What I especially found interesting was the dichotomy of Rachel's viewpoints -- she thought one way while she was still abusing drugs (and when she first started at the treatment center), and a completely different way when she began to recover. There were people she considered "stingy" or "no fun" while she was abusing drugs; she later realized they were only trying to help her. On the other side of the coin, there were people she used to think were almost godlike, and she finally realized that these people were human just like her -- and not really as great as she originally made them out to be.
Above all, though, I found this book entertaining. Marian Keyes has a wonderfully wicked sense of humor that I can truly appreciate. I'm starting to figure out that I really like books told in the first person; this book and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married (which I read first) both drew me in with their cozy girl-talk style. I know this is a major cliche, but I really did not want to put this book down -- I felt so involved in everything that was happening to Rachel.
The only problem I found with the book is that I thought the ending was a little too convenient and a tad too predictable. Anyone who read it kind of knew how it would end about a quarter of the way through the book. That in itself was not necessarily so bad; to me, a lot of the enjoyment in a book is watching the journey from point A to point B, even if you already know what point B is.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By "erin_g" on August 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I read this book a few months ago after much internet hunting trying to find it so I didn't have to wait for its US release.
While Keyes' previous works have also dealt with serious subjects, they were underlying, not at all the main topic in the book. This book, however, takes a hard look at addiction. While she does it with humor, she doesn't necessarily sugarcoat it. I especially appreciated that it was the main character's point of view the story was coming from. This book is written in first person, which I like, but at first you may find it rather disconcerting. The story coming directly from Rachel helped me to relate to what addiction is like, how hard it is to overcome. In the beginning, I actually found myself truly wondering if she was an addict. That kind of scares me. It told me why addicts have such a hard time overcoming.
I don't want to scare anyone off in making them think that this is an depressing, deep book filled with sorrow and woe. It's not. It's very funny at times. I love the way the family interacts. I think they're a lot like most families, just most families would never admit it. If you've read Watermelon then you've already been introduced to the family, if you haven't, read it. It doens't really matter which one you read first. Just enjoy them.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Henning Henning on January 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
I read this story a couple of days after I read Watermelon (also by Marian Keyes) and I liked it even better. Rachel's Holiday is a perfect choice if you are looking for some quality light reading. Keyes still uses the same technique as in Watermelon, where Rachel talks directly to us and therefor is our only source of information about herself in the first half of the book. Later we get some more information about her trough the metings with others. It is written in the same chatty, humorous tone that makes all of Keyes' novels such a pleasure to read, but this story is a little different and a little more daring.
When we first meet her, she is about to be admitted to the Cloisters, a Irish sort of Betty Ford Clinic. She is in denial. Anyone who has had personal experience with addicts (of one kind or another) will recognize how they may fool you (and sometimes themselves). In the first part of the book, she seems pretty shallow and definitely a bit dense, but she grows as a person through her therapy and her friendships with other recovering addicts. Rachel has not really got a clue about who she is in the beginning and why she is becoming an addict. She develops as a person in and trough the story and grows to become something more than a cartoon figure or a heroine of a cheap weekly magazine story. Keyes has written this story with much fine humor and I laughed out loud many times to the great fun of those who were around me.
Two warnings: Highbrows who do not enjoy light reading should stay away from this book and secondly if you do not like happy endings of any kind, please also stay away from this book.
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