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What is Addiction?

Rachel's Holiday - Marian Keyes

I definitely liked "Rachel's Holiday" a lot more than "Watermelon." Maybe because this one more expressly shows the flaws in the Walsh family matriarch and father. Also, I still disliked Helen in this one too. Anna seems mostly harmless and cares. We also get to see/hear more about Maggie(one of the 5 sisters). I felt sorry for Rachel who is in the midst of addiction and doesn't even want to admit what has been going on with her. And unlike with Claire in the last book, Rachel even though she goes through a series of missteps, realizes that no man is going to be able to save her, she's going to have to save herself. 


"Rachel's Holiday" is Walsh Family #2. Rachel Walsh has been living in New York with her best friend. Though Rachel has a pretty terrible job (she works at a rundown hotel as a maid) she has a great guy in her life named Luke (though she doesn't want to call him her boyfriend). When Rachel has a hard time waking up one day, she finds herself at the hospital getting her stomach pumped. Her parents send her sister and husband to get her and bring her back to Ireland. Rachel only agrees to go back since her father wants to send her to a rehab center in Ireland called the Cloisters where the rich and famous go. Rachel of course blithely thinks nothing is wrong. When Luke cruelly dumps her, Rachel is determined she will find someone else, though she still has thoughts of Luke. Once Rachel is at the Cloisters she finally comes face to face with her past and what her present course was taking her.


So I watched "Rocketman" this weekend and that movie dealt very well with addiction. I thought that "Rachel's Holiday" did as well. I think Keyes telling the story via first person was smart. Because you get to see Rachel's side to everything. And until Rachel is brutally confronted with her past and why she's at the Cloisters part of you may wonder is she really an addict, or had some bad times. 


I thought that the why behind Rachel's addiction was so good though too. Rachel wanting someone or anything to blame wasn't the point. The point was what was she going to do now.

Keyes develops so many of the secondary characters that Rachel meets very well too like Jackie, Luke, and others. We also have pop-ins by the Walsh family who I swear would have me changing my name and going into witness protection. 


The writing was top-notch. I am guessing that Keyes did extensive research on rehabs and addiction because everything read as spot on to me. I have one brother who has finally sought alcohol treatment and several members of my family I had to unfortunately cut off once I realized their addiction wasn't going to change if I didn't stop enabling them. This book definitely had me wincing a bit along with laughing and even feeling tears. Definitely not a typical chick-lit book considering the subject matter. However, the romance that started with Luke and his real he-man group was hilarious and I thought the sex scenes were great. 


The flow was the one issue that caused me to give it four stars though. The book dragged in a few places here and there. Mostly towards the middle and end I thought. 


The book setting moves between New York, the Cloisters, and then Rachel at home with her family. I thought the New York and Cloister scenes were done so well. I felt for a Rachel that so wanted to impress all these women and rich people surrounding her because she just didn't feel good enough.

The ending was great. I loved that we see Rachel in a new stage of her life and she's focused on being a better person.