Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Book Review: Grown Ups by Marian Keyes #BRPreview

Grown Ups
Marian Keyes

Publisher: Penguin Books Aus
Imprint: Michael Joseph
Publication date: 4th February 2020
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 656
RRP: $32.99AUD
Format read: Uncorrected paperback
Source: Courtesy of the publisher via Better Reading

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?

I just love family dramas but big books scare me and weighing in at 656 pages Grown Ups is a big book. I’m happy to say though that I flew through this book. It was endlessly entertaining and no time did it become bogged down.

The Casey clan deliver an endless amount of drama and quite a few laughs. Johnny Casey is married to Jessie and they have five children. Saorise and Ferdia are from Jessie’s first marriage. Ferdia tall, dark and handsome despises his step-father and makes sure everyone knows it. Their other three children and outspoken and precocious, in a cute charming way.
Ed Casey is married to Cara who has body image issues and a serious chocolate craving.
Liam Casey is newly wed to his second wife Nel, a young and vibrant humanitarian, 11 years his junior.

Told in multiple points of view Keyes knows how to bring out her characters flaws and insecurities, laying them bare but in turn making then more likeable and relatable.

Jessie wants them to be one big happy family and goes to great lengths and expense to arrange family holidays which cause all their insecurities to blow out of proportion.

Keyes explores the different types of connections adults have with their parents, the idea that marriage has to be worked at with open communication. The introduction of Syrian refugee, Perla, to the family gives an opening to explore the rights of refugees and their struggle to start a new life.

Everyone appears to have a secret and in the prologue there is a hint of the secrets that Carla reveals at a family dinner. This certainly hooked me in! The story then goes back six months and builds month by month to the big moment when everyone’s secrets are revealed and the entire family implodes.

This book is witty and humorous whilst at the same time has some powerful themes on the dynamics of family, marriage and body image.

Tragicomedy at its heartbreaking and witty best!


My rating   4/5

Photo credit: Penguin Books

Marian Keyes was born in Limerick in 1963, and brought up in Cavan, Cork, Galway and Dublin. She studied law and accountancy before turning to writing. Her first novel Watermelon was published in Ireland in 1995, where it was an immediate, runaway success. Marian Keyes is now one of the most successful Irish novelists of all time and is published in thirty nine different languages. She lives in DΓΊn Laoghaire with her husband Tony.



  1. This sounds really good, I used to love Marian Keyes, I have a lot of her books on my shelf, but it's been years since I read any. I'm actually trying to sell the ones I have, but this sounds worth a read. At over 600 pages I think I'll read it on my kindle though, I can't hold books that big.

    1. This was my first Marian Keyes. It's a big book but so much drama. I loved it!

  2. Never read any of her books. They sound pretty good but... I'm on the fence.

  3. Marian Keyes books are always such fun, even though they're chunky I fly through them - Angels was my favourite, and this one sounds great too!

    1. I’m off to have a look at Angels. I need more Marian Keyes in my life.

  4. I’ve read all of Marian Keyes and I’d like to read this too.

    1. It was my first and I will be definitely looking out for more.

  5. Hi Veronica,

    I do enjoy a rattling good family saga and the Irish writers in general, are so good with the genre!

    I haven't read any Marian Keyes books for years and I'm probably talking about her stories which date right back to the 1990's. so perhaps it is about time I dusted off a couple of the slightly newer titles I must have lying on my book shelves somewhere!

    Your excellent review shows just how much you enjoyed the read and you have certainly sparked my interest in getting hold of a copy :)

    Yvonne xx

    1. I can’t resist a good family drama story. Australian author Fiona Lowe is also good in this genre.