Grown Ups by Marian Keyes. (2020).
**4 out of 5 stars**
They’re a glamorous family, the Caseys. Johnny, his two brothers Ed and Liam, their beautiful, talented wives and all their kids spend a lot of time together. 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?
I am always impressed when a book is over 600 pages and yet doesn’t feel like it’s an effort to read; the best sign of an engaging storyline. The novel starts at the dinner party where Cara is letting secrets fly after getting a knock to the head. It then jumps back in time to six months prior so the majority of the book is about the lead up to the party rather than the aftermath. I learnt some Irish slang (is slang the best term for it?), i.e. if someone tells you that you’re gas, that means you are funny. Of the three brothers and their wives, Liam fast becomes the unlikable one whereas his wife Nell sounded amazing. Johnny seemed kind but a bit absent and distracted to me while his wife Jessie was an utter powerhouse who was extremely generous with her money. Ed and Cara were probably the most ‘normal’ couple to me with their middle class family and seeming solid but an underlying secret threatens their happiness. When I picked up this one I was ready for a juicy family drama and this novel certainly delivered! I’d happily recommend this book.