12 August 2009

Review: ANYBODY OUT THERE? by Marian Keyes ****

"Marian Keyes has introduced readers to the lives, loves, and foibles of the five Walsh sisters -- Claire, Maggie, Rachel, Helen, and Anna -- and their crazy mammy. In this funny, heartbreaking, and triumphant new tale set in the Big Apple, it's Anna's turn in the spotlight.
Life is perfect for Anna Walsh. She has the "Best Job in the World" as a PR exec for a top-selling urban beauty brand, a lovely apartment in New York, and a perfect husband -- the love of her life, Aidan Maddox. Until the morning she wakes up in her mammy's living room in Dublin with stitches in her face, a dislocated knee, and completely smashed-up hands -- and no memory of how she got there. While her mammy plays nursemaid (just like all of her favorite nurses on her soaps), an
d her sister Helen sits in wet hedges doing her private investigator work for Lucky Star PI, Anna tries to get better and keeps wondering why Aidan won't return her phone calls or e-mails. Recuperating from her injuries, a mystified Anna returns to Manhattan.
Slowly beginning to remember what happened, she sets off on a search to find Aidan -- a hilarious quest involving lilies, psychics, mediums, and anyone in the city who can promise her a reunion with her beloved. . . .

Written in her classic style, marrying the darker parts of life with humor and wit, Anybody Out There? is Marian Keyes's best novel to date, a wonderfully charming look at love here and ever after."


Now here's a book that's bound to have you in tears, both from crying and laughing so hard - but that's Marian Keyes for ya! This novel is essentially heartbreaking and it tackles a very difficult topic of grief, but Ms Keyes manages to include humour even into something so deadly serious. Don't get me wrong, the main subject isn't taken lightly at all and Anna's pain is tangible, but there are still events and characters that make this book fun, albeit not always easy to read.

To focus on the positive side first: I simply adore MK's trademark humour - it's not your average comedy, it's more dry and sort of dark and completely kooky, but in the best possible way! It's mostly reflected in her characters, the ker-azy Walsh family being a prime example and Mammy Walsh being possibly the Queen Bee, haha. I adore that woman, she just cracks me up so much! The other Walsh girls are hilarous too - what a brilliant family! The downside of this is that I feel that some characters are sort of one-dimensional and exist mostly for their comedy value - which is not a bad thing, far from it, but it doesn't make for fantastic characterizaton. Nonetheless, I can't help loving the characters!

On the other side, this book tackles an incredibly difficult subject so parts were really difficult to read - you know, first Anna reminisces about her happy times with Aidnan and what a lovely couple they were and then bang, reality hits. I immediately symphatized with Anna as you know right from the start that something really horrible has happened since Anna is so badly injured. It was hard even for me to comprehend what actually happened so I can understand why Anna was completely in denial in the first part of the book. Furthermore, I think the subject of death was dealt with well and the mourning was well described with all the different stages etc. This grim subject was ever present in the book but luckily the story didn't dwell on it too much and I appreciated the humour as the distraction, otherwise I don't think I'd be able to finish the book, it'd just be too devastating.

I enjoyed reading about Anna's The Best Job in the World - she works are a PR for a beauty firm and gets lots of freebies and comes up with exciting pitches etc, it was fun! It rememinded me of Air Kisses, but it was like reading about beauty from the other perspective. On the other hand, I wasn't too sure about Anna's interactions with her mother and Helen - I didn't think those emails added to the story much; I mean, they were funny at first, but then I just started skipping them as I didn't see the point. Lastly, I do quite like the cover - the covers are lovely plus I like how it's all related to the book; you can even see a figure in the taxi and all these butterflies are there for a reason, hehe.

All in all, as expected, this was a really really good read (even if perhaps a bit too long) - typical Marian Keyes! I really enjoyed it, but I think my two favourite books by her remain The Other Side of the Story and Angels (that one literally made me cry with laughter, haha). Other books that I still have to read by her are Last Chance Saloon, Rachel's Holiday and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married - looking forward to reading those too!

overall rating: 4/5
plot: 4/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 4/5

ps: I decided to remove my review of The Brightest Star in the Sky for now because I didn't want to influence anyone's opinion with my silly little review, let alone discourage anyone from reading the book! I'll probably post it again once the book is out and people have formed their own opinions.
Speaking of which, I found what appears to be the US cover for MK's next book and it's quite lovely methinks (certainly better than that new golden slash turquise UK cover). The US cover has this elegant feel to it and if you click to enlarge it, you'll see that it's full of little things that are featured in the book (a bike, taxi, dog, TV etc.).

pps: I apologize in advance for the lack of action on here (and probably other blogs too) in the next couple of days as I'll be working 12+ hours and will hardly have time to read, let alone review (boo), but I promise to make up for it after it's all over, hehe.


Leah @ chicklitreviews said...

Love this book and love the cover! Great review - I've been looking for new reviews from you!!

I also think you should put your review back up of Brightest Star in the Sky - it hasn't put me off at all, I found it curious and I respect your opinion!

Hate the US cover bar the swirly Marian Keyes writing!


GirlwiththeBraids said...

Very cute covers! :)

Rebekka said...

I liked that book a look. I think it was my first one by Marian Keyes and I enjoyed it very much. I kept on reading a couple of other books from her but I didn't like them that much. "The other side of the story" was brilliant, too but "Last Chance Saloon" was boring, "This charming man" was totally... can't describe it, it has so many "OMFG, that's just sick"-moments in it.
I still like Marian's style of writing, though her topics aren't always for me.

chantelsimmons said...

Great review! I forgot how much I enjoyed Anybody out there? -- It was the first Marian Keyes book I read and I really loved it, but agree with you that it was a bit too long. I want to read Angels now, though, based on what you say about it!

Post a Comment