Rachel’s Holiday and Again, Rachel

Rachel’s Holiday and Again, Rachel

I really enjoyed reading Grown-Ups by Marian Keyes (see my blog) when it came out, and seeing Again, Rachel was about to be released as a follow-up twenty-five years on from Rachel’s Holiday, I thought I would start with the original and read both.

Rachel’s ‘holiday’ is in fact a trip to rehab, and not the fancy one with a gym, pool and treatments that Rachel was expecting. She lands there after surviving an overdose that she is determined to prove was only a mistake, given she doesn’t have a problem. The counselling group sessions slowly unravel her, until she is ready to face what she has done to herself, to her family and to her former boyfriend Luke. It ends on a lovely note, not cheesy, but full of hope.

Again, Rachel picks up with Rachel now the most senior counsellor in the rehab facility that she was once a patient in. But the course of her life has not run smoothly and she is six years into recovering from a painful breakup with her husband Luke. Having found a new man in Quin and having discovered gardening, she is largely content but is still holding back from making a full commitment, when Luke turns up back in Ireland and she is forced to confront her past and their messy ending.

Reading the two books so close together was I’m sure a different experience to waiting twenty-five years for the follow-up. It made the similarities of the two very striking. Both are a masterclass in the use of the same unreliable first person narrator who drip-feeds information which keeps you hanging, as the slow self-realisation dawns that Rachel’s version of past events do not line-up with reality. Very enjoyable reading.