I have thought for a while that Marian Keyes’ back-catalogue would be perfect to listen to on audiobook – and I was right. Sort of. Rachel’s Holiday does have all the elements that make it an addictive and easy listen; thanks greatly to Marian Keyes’ conversational writing style it really was like having a friend tell you their life story. HOWEVER. I have spoken before about how important the narrator is to a listen for me and this narrator only just made the cut…
The power of the story kept me listening and I even managed to become engaged with Rachel’s character DESPITE the awful attempt at an Irish accent by the narrator. It was made worse when she had to put on different dialects, or represent multiple characters with Irish accents, it was all just wildly distracting, sadly. So yes, my advice is to read rather than listen to it, if you’re thinking of adding it to your TBR.
Right, back to the story. This book is about 27-year-old Dubliner Rachel Walsh, living a care-free life in New York, everything is fine until she attempts an overdose (accidentally, she says) and finds herself whisked off to rehab back in Ireland, by her family.
She convinces herself that they are overreacting and that although there is nothing wrong with her – as she is not an addict – a spell in the luxury spa-style Cloisters rehab facility is exactly what she needs. A relaxing holiday to spot some celebs (who she has heard definitely go there) and get some treatments.
Rachel is, of course, in massive denial and it’s not that she can’t see what’s wrong, when we meet her, she genuinely doesn’t realise. So, Rachel’s Holiday is her story of clarity and sobriety. Her closest friends in New York – her flatmate Bridget and boyfriend Luke Costello – play a big part in her life, as do her realisations of how she’s treated them. From the other people she meets in rehab, to the first introduction – for me – to the rest of her family, I really enjoyed Rachel’s story. It had depth, a compelling darkness and, importantly, a lead character you can root for.
The only other book I’ve read about rehab is Clean by Juno Dawson, which takes a much starker approach to withdrawal. The actual physical side is not delved into too much in Rachel’s Holiday, it focuses more on the psychological – why Rachel is an addict and what she’s going to do about it. It’s an emotive, engaging story and I really felt for Rachel. I also know it has a biographical angle for Marian Keyes, so that made it even more interesting.
Marian Keyes has written a whole series of books about the Walsh family – one for Rachel and each of her four sisters and I’m looking forward to reading more!
- Audiobook narrated Gerri Halligan
- Running time: 16 hrs 40 mins
- Published by Michael Joseph 2012
- My Rating: