Reading & Reviewing | R&R 035
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R&R 035 | Watermelon

Marian Keyes
First published in: 1996
This edition: Arrow books, 2005
Cover illustration by Lovisa Burfitt / Agent Form

I was going to do the ice-cream pint thing at first, but decided I'd rather reflect on break-ups AND reading a less-than-good book, hence Sadface-Kaat.

To be quite honest, after reading Angels (R&R 012; leading lady Maggie Walsh), I wasn’t too eager to start this one, but it was in my bookcase and so I had committed myself to reading it. Besides, out of all the ‘Walsh sisters’ books I have read so far, two out of three were books I found to be original and moving (a big step up from chick lit); I was hoping for three out of four. And the timing was perfect; I tend to stuff in a light and fluffy read when I’ve had my fair share of harder books.

In Watermelon, that fourth book in the Walsh-saga (though not the fourth to be published; but the first), Claire has just given birth to her first child. Claire’s husband’s first reaction? To take off and abandon them both to be with another woman. Classy.
Claire is devastated, and turns to the only place she can think of: her parents’ house back in Dublin, where slowly she tries to return back to life after that nasty, nasty break-up.

Anyone who has ever been dumped – myself included, some years ago – can relate. The feeling of being dumped, rejected, has been put on paper very well – the anger and confusion have been touched upon rather well, too…


This book was definitely quite readable and has some humoristic elements, as is usually the case with Marian Keyes (who has a talent for comedy), but the funny is submerged underneath piles and piles of Claire’s negativity. The novel and Claire were both uninspiring, yet here I was hoping to read about a woman’s strength as a single mother. Instead it had to be about relationships. [Insert sarcasm.] Great. Back to regular chick lit.

Claire almost immediately meets Mr. Perfect – which is annoying to me because it’s realistic for some, but not nearly for everyone. There goes relatability. The constant gushing over Adam’s appearance irritated me beyond measure, because it caused me to have traumatic flashbacks to Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight”, where readers are reminded of Edward’s “beauty” on every single page. We get it, he’s model material, yawn, let’s move on.

The whole idea of Claire-meets-Adam ruined the rest of what could have been a really great book. I would have preferred it if Claire worked on herself first, build up that mother-daughter bond with her kid and then meet Adam, not meet him first and then have her behave like a complete arse all the time to everyone around her (and subsequently have her whine about it more times than I care to count). Claire was going through a hard time, yes – but she was perfectly fine thinking about Adam, Adam, Adam and his firm butt or whatever. Her somewhat passive behaviour towards her new-born child came across as selfish as opposed to understandable, and the one-liners became a lot less funny.

I just really didn’t give a crap about this whole Adam thing.

I thought Keyes would be able to write about being a single mother in a relatable and convincing way, but she didn’t go in that direction much. Pity. Claire was just another one of those chick lit women, needing a man in order to have a happy ending.

I must add that although Watermelon wasn’t quite as disappointing as Angels, it still wasn’t so very different. Keyes does not venture outside of her comfort zone, and I’ll repeat what I’ve said in my earlier review: Keyes can do better and I expected much more. She’s beginning to bore me; I’m waiting for something truly new and refreshing from her. I have liked the Walsh sisters so far, but not enough to read another one of Keyes’ books.

Not including a penalty of -0.5 for “Twilight” flashbacks.

R&R series (and its photos, reviews) © Karin Elizabeth 2008-2009

Karin Elizabeth
  • Avidan Apolskis

    I read Angels recently and was quite disappointed with it. I was hoping it was a one off from Marian Keyes because I read three other books by her and I enjoyed them. I haven't read Watermelon yet but after reading your review I'm not too keen to read it 🙁

    January 22, 2009 at 10:09 pm
  • lililly

    I also was not a fan of Angels at all. And i have to say her last two novels are not fantastic either.

    I think the thing with Marian Keyes books are…they are what they are. They are not very deep and meaningful and definitely not masterpieces of literature however they (and i think Watermelon especially) are a bit of 'rom com' with the main character being some ditzy-yet-lovable madzer teamed with a sexy-unattainable-yet somehow-attainable male.

    Have you tried Anyone Out There? might be a bit more to your liking.

    October 27, 2009 at 4:42 am
  • Karin Elizabeth

    Hello you! Agreed, Marian Keyes writes chick lit, the end. Haha. When I started reading her books, of course I really never expected the world from her.
    In my case it was that before Angels & Watermelon, I had read Anyone Out There? – yup! 😀 – and Rachel's Holiday and found them to be good books, above average, so I started to expect her to stick to this level, and she didn't deliver.
    Maybe she'll end up surprising me in the future. Who knows 🙂 But for now, I won't try any of her other books.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:07 am

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