Books · Review

The Break by Marian Keyes

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Published: 7th September 2017
Publisher: Penguin
Pages: 576

Blurb:

Amy’s husband Hugh says he isn’t leaving her. He still loves her, he’s just taking a break – from their marriage, their children and, most of all, from their life together. Six months to lose himself in south-east Asia. And there is nothing Amy can say or do about it. Yes, it’s a mid-life crisis, but let’s be clear: a break isn’t a break up – yet… However, for Amy it’s enough to send her – along with her extended family of gossips, misfits and troublemakers – teetering over the edge. For a lot can happen in six-months. When Hugh returns if he returns, will he be the same man she married? Will Amy be the same woman? Because if Hugh is on a break from their marriage, then isn’t she?

Review:

Thank you to Penguin for kindly sending me a review copy.

The narrative opens with Amy at her PR office where she is confiding in her sister about receiving some rather frightening news: her husband Hugh is wanting to have a break from their marriage in order to go travelling. After his father passed away over a year ago followed by one of his closest friends, their marriage became a one sided conversation as his world fell apart and the pieces weren’t picked up. Despite feeling sympathetic towards Hugh, I wasn’t a fan of him wanting to leave his family to go round the world and ‘maybe’ have sex with other women who he meets along the way. As his desire to go away continued, the sadness in Amy’s life was portrayed so strongly throughout the chapters and I just couldn’t help but feel sadness on her behalf. I instantly got a real sense of Amy’s personality and livelihood throughout the first few opening chapters as Marian’s words created such a clear picture in my imagination.

“Here’s the secret to happiness; drink as heavily as you can get away with, buy stuff and if all else fails, spend three days in bed eating doughnuts.”

When Hugh left for his trip, the narrative automatically dropped and became quite sad as Amy slowly came to terms with him not being around for six months. As devastating as this was, Marian portrayed it brilliantly and I continued to enjoy the plot to see where Amy’s life would be taken. As she counts down the days of her husband’s return, Amy finds herself stumbling across two familiar faces: her ex-husband and a one-time-should-have-been-fling. With the men back in her life, I was definitely intrigued to see if she would stay loyal to Hugh after all these years, after all, he was away doing god knows what. In the midst of their separation, Amy recalls multiple memories in which she shares with him; the first time they worked together, how their relationship went from working to personal, moving from London to Dublin and the big impact his parents deaths had on them both. The story really needed these memories to be shown to readers as not only did it provide more content of their relationship, but I also felt as I knew both Amy and Hugh a lot better.

And all relationships go through good spells and bad spells – I get that, I really do. There are times when your heart is buttering with love for them and there are spells when you tense up at the sound of them entering the room.”

With Hugh away, temptation is only a flight to London away and as Amy begins to enjoy her time flirting up a storm, she doesn’t expect the expected and let me tell you, it was brilliant. As the narrative drew to a close, it wasn’t what you’d originally expect from a love story. The plot had many twists and turns, all of which are relatable for a modern day family and that’s the aspect of The Break which I really, really enjoyed. The characters were utterly brilliant; Amy was a well defined main character and despite all of her struggles, she remained a strong figure throughout the plot. In regards to her daughters, their personalities were brilliantly sassy and exactly what young women are all about, but when it came to Hugh, I loved to hate him. He came across as such a loveable character but I couldn’t help but side with Amy, especially after his mad moment of wanting a break. I really enjoyed The Break; the family life, the drama, the twists, the relatable storylines and much more…

“People who do crazy stuff in mid-life and that’s nearly the entire human race, from what I can see, apparently they’re trying to defy death.”

 

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