They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys.
Johnny Casey, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together – birthday parties, anniversary celebrations, weekends away. And they’re a happy family. Johnny’s wife, Jessie – who has the most money – insists on it.
Under the surface, though, conditions are murkier. While some people clash, other people like each other far too much . . .
Everything stays under control until Ed’s wife Cara, gets concussion and can’t keep her thoughts to herself. One careless remark at Johnny’s birthday party, with the entire family present, starts Cara spilling out all their secrets.
In the subsequent unravelling, every one of the adults finds themselves wondering if it’s time – finally – to grow up?
Grown Ups is an utterly charming, absorbing story of everyday life (well…sort of) which serves as a much-needed lighthearted break from the madness of the world right now.
The book follows the Casey family and their many members – all of whom are interesting, well-developed characters; Marian Keyes has done her usual excellent job of characterisation in Grown Ups, creating characters you a) care about and b) really want to read more of. They each have their own issues or quirks, but although some are far less likable than others (you know who you are!), all of them feel like they could be real people – and I love ‘reading’ their Irish accents!
I don’t want too much anything away about the storyline but I really enjoyed reading about the vibrant Jessie and Johnny and their relationship together (and with money: I would usually think that I wouldn’t sympathise with, or want to read more about, characters who have so much but don’t always really appreciate it, or can’t seem to stop spending when others struggle, but they’re such likable, generous characters that this didn’t really bother me), as well as Cara’s own battles with food (which was shocking and saddening at times) and Nell’s struggle in her marriage – plus much more of the family’s dilemmas.
Some parts are perhaps a little predictable, but never to the detriment of the story, and there are still lots of surprises in its pages. I felt that the characters’ reactions mostly realistic, meaning you didn’t have to suspend your disbelief too much, and the ending – which links in so well to the start (and I’d forgotten how the book started by the time I got to the end) ties everything up beautifully.
This is a very long book (well over 600 pages!), and sometimes I can feel like a book is dragging on too long when it’s this kind of length, but I absolutely didn’t feel that way with Grown Ups. I devoured every single page, wanting to read more and more about the Casey’s lives and interactions with eachother, and wishing I had a huge family too (though perhaps without a lot of the drama!)
By the end of the book you really feel like you’ve got to know them all so well – in part I guess because it’s such a long book, but also because the characters feel like they’ve become almost like friends. I’d really recommend Grownups as a brilliant book to completely lose yourself in.
Many thanks to the publisher, Michael Joseph, for providing a copy of this book on which I chose to write an honest and unbiased review.