Update 4/14/13: I am still waiting for a new Mariam Keys book!! She’s one of those writers that will have you laughing and crying the whole time and you’ll have to finish the whole book in one night. Come to think of it, I haven’t found any good chick-lit in a long time. Maybe since this last post lol…
Posted originally on March 28th, 2010:
I just finished reading Marian Keyes “Is there Anybody Out There”. It was so good, I resorted to downloading the book online from Kobobooks.com because I kept leaving it at home and it was all I could do to keep myself from thinking about it all day long. I know, its just chick-lit… or so I thought, when I bought the mindless (expectantly) book from the book store in Union Station when I was waiting for my train to come for my terrible trip to the boonies: Danville, VA. (Ugh, so annoying I can’t discuss it).
So, the first part of the book was just as I expected: girl heartbroken, hates guy who won’t call her back, is living at home, which is far far away from where she lived before (which was in this case, she’s now in Ireland), and she gets wrapped up in her family life so much that her parents drive her nuts and she decides to finally just go back home to “find” her boyfriend. (I say that in quotes ominously… )
The book opens up describing the main character, Anna, as being all beat up- she has to stay in bed, and the bed is on the ground level because she can’t walk; she has a broken knee, scars on her face, and all you can do is guess there was a terrible event. (no details yet) (chick-lit analysis: her physical wounds perhaps parallel her mental wounds; she can feel her physical pain, and yet we don’t know the source of her mental pain… She is stunted physically, and emotionally, though it is just forshadowing the extent of emotional pain at the begining of the book).
The charachter, ‘Anna’ is from New York City, so, I assumed she had been attacked. I also assumed that the reason her boyfriend didn’t return her calls (she called him every day and left him messages on his cell phone) is because he is also either (1) even more banged up than her and can’t return calls or (2) feels so terrible he couldn’t protect her that he can’t face her or (3) is the One who beat her up… and is actually in jail but she is in denial about it so far…
These all seemed like a normal chick-lit. Well, except for the violence in the plot, but still- girl, girl’s boyfriend won’t call her, etc….
This was all perfectly fine. She sulks about the ex-boyfriend and then discuss her crazy family. Sounds about right. But then, the story turns.
In part 2- [I am reading while sitting at a booth in a deserted conference…] it starts describing the couple’s life together, how they met, how they fell in love instantly… got married… and lived in NYC. She was a publicist and it never says what kind of job he had. Then, it describes, later on in the story…. that they were in a car accident, and the guy dies!
So, the whole time, while she is calling his cell and emailing him and you’re used to hating the guy and reveling in her misery—you discover HE IS DEAD!!
Then the story changes, it gets all depressing… but now you’re hooked and you keep reading. You realize you’re reading through her entire grief cycle, she is going to séances where she is trying to talk to her dead husband, how she goes through days and weeks without smiling, knowing what time it is, or talking to other people. How she buries herself in work and does well at work and basically never comes home, and how she tries to ‘talk’ to him every way she can…
It’s all so sad yet I couldn’t put the book down… I just have to hear more… and, I guess, wallow in her misery…
SO it gets me thinking, is misery contagious? Can you just be miserable or love the misery that someone else is in? Why was this book so addictive, so much that I literally had to buy the online version so I could read it during lunch at work? I mean, there are so many movies and stories that are full of misery and they always win the awards…
Or, is it Marian Keyes? I love her books. I mean, give her all the credit, all her books are completely addictive; I can’t put one down when I start reading it. I discovered her at the airport in 2005 when I was flying to London. I was at BWI in the lounge area for British Airways. Since then, I have loved her books. Ironically, all the characters are from London and Ireland!
I don’t know, but there was this immense compassion I felt, and brought me to realize, about mourning the death of someone. The character in the book realized at the end, that she didn’t feel better until she experienced the full year without him; an entire cycle with every birthday and every anniversary, without him. And on the day after the anniversary of their accident (taxi car crash), she realized that he wasn’t coming back.
Nobody close to me has ever died so its hard for me to imagine that kind of pain. I was, I guess, amazed and drawn into it. I was sad while reading the book, holding on to every detail and wanting everything to be better, resolved. And yet, her ‘feeling better’ a year later, that really didn’t do it for me. The character’s sister jokes that it was better that ‘Adien’ died rarther than cheated on her and left her. I don’t know. I’d rather my ex’s be dead if they’d hurt me that much.
The character said finally, her husband’s life had been ‘completed’, not ‘cut short’.
I’m still sad.