Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes
I grabbed Anybody Out There? off the table at a book sale without knowing a thing about it. The bi-annual English library book sale in Geneva is like a feeding frenzy, the expats go absolutely mad, and not just for the home baked goods of sale there. English books are hard to find here and cost an absolute fortune, so there's no wonder you need to go in "elbows out." I took my kids once and they hid under the tables. Probably for the best.
Back to the book. It was the cover that caught my eye. So pretty. So blue. Butterflies! It must be a cute romance and great for the summer! I picked it up for a couple of francs, to be read over the vacation months.
And it was cute. And in some ways romantic. But not what I was expecting. Firstly, I realized after the fact this is in fact the fourth book in the Walsh family series, by the very charming Marian Keyes. The Walsh family is an Irish hot mess, and I decided I was going to be a bad ass and read a series out of sequence! Purists are squirming right now, but I just went for it.
Secondly, the book itself. Is not all butterflies and happy thoughts. From the very beginning you know that Something Very Bad has happened, with no idea what. Keyes does a really good job of stringing you along at this point. Anna Walsh is recovering from a horrible accident, is muddled on a cocktail of mood enhancers, and her husband won't return her calls. I found myself thinking "what did she do?" more times than once, it must have been terrible, why did her husband abandon her when she was in such a horrible crisis.
She returns to New York to try to pick up the pieces of her life, at her fabulous job as make up representative (fabulous due to the amount of free makeup and beauty supplies she has access to and her family famously takes advantage of.) And still her husband is gone and still she can't figure out exactly how her life was or should be.
And then the twist comes. Maybe it shouldn't have been such a big twist, but I will admit that I fall for every twist every time. I am an incredibly gullible reader and I love that because I adore being shocked and awed by the story going in a direction I wasn't expected. I hope I never become a cynic while reading. Anyway, the twist was like a punch in the gut for me because I should have seen it coming but I didn't and it is horrible. And I cried. So yes, this light fluffy summer book got that reaction out of me. It was almost uncomfortable, feeling this much emotion for this book. But in the end I really liked it.
It wasn't a traditional romance, or comedy, but it certainly left me wanting more. I went out and borrowed the first book in the series (each book follows one of the five Walsh sisters) because the Walsh family, while not the kindest or most together bunch, have completely captured my heart. The first book is Watermelon, and you can expect the review to that soon. I'm going to hold off on recommending this one, because I suspect I'll be recommending you start with the first book of the series.