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Rachel's Holiday [Paperback]

Marian Keyes
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (99 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Aug. 30 2005

Here's Rachel Walsh, twenty-seven and the miserable owner of size 8 feet. She has regular congress with Luke Costello, a man who wears his leather trousers tight. And she's fond — some might say too fond — of recreational drugs.

Until everything goes pearshaped and she finds herself being frogmarched to the Cloisters - Dublin's answer to the Betty Ford Clinic. She's outraged. Surely she's not thin enough to be an addict? But on the bright side, she's heard that rehab places are wall-to-wall jucuzzis, gymnasiums and rock stars going tepid turkey. Besides, it's about time she had a little holiday.

Rachel isn't expecting plump, middle-aged men in brown jumpers, and more group therapy than you can shake a stick at. That — alarmingly — she seems to be expected to join in with. Who cares for introspection when all there is to look at is damaged and broken?

Heartsick and Luke-sick, she seeks redemption in the shape of Chris, a Man with a Past. A man who might be more trouble than he's worth.

Rachel is airlifted from addiction to the unfamiliar terrain of adulthood, via a love story or two, in a novel by turns poignant, powerful and seriously funny.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Irish by birth but a trendy New Yorker for the past eight years, Rachel Walsh learns just what it means to have too much fun in this lively drama about addiction and recovery. Rachel enjoys cocaine, alcohol and meeting men in bars, especially men wearing tight leather pants. She can match anybody's hilarious anecdotes about a Catholic childhood, but recently her life's gone awry, and God has become "more like a celestial stand-up comic" than a "benign old guy with long hair." When she wakes up in a hospital emergency room and finds she's been diagnosed as a suicidal drug addict, she's enraged. She's also broke and unemployed, and her boyfriend has abandoned her. As a final indignity, her father takes her back home and books her into Dublin's Betty Ford-like clinic, the Cloisters. Famous for a clientele of rock stars, it should be a glamorous spa, but it isn't. Quarters are spartan, clients do housework and group therapy is humiliating. It could be worse, though, and there's one good-looking fellow-inmate who might, or might not, be a lifeline post-Cloisters. This novel isn't a how-to on overcoming addiction but an examination, often comic, of treatment that is expected to result in personality changes necessary for recovery. Smart-ass Rachel actually becomes a beguiling heroine after learning to wake up and cook eggs at about the same time in the morning she used to fall into somebody's bed in New York. Clever badinage ("the only way to get over one man is get under another") unfortunately sometimes gives way to phrases like "pantie-meltingly gorgeous." The narrative is overlong, and the characters rarely speakAthey yell or shriekAbut, overall, Keyes's stylish wit keeps readers attentive, and her take on addiction is insightful and compassionate. (Aug.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

The story of 27-year-old drug addict Rachel Walsh, who is sent to The Cloisters, an Irish Betty Ford Clinic, is hardly a holiday as Keyes details virtually every moment of addiction, struggle, and denial. Not that one expects quick cures, but the novel suffers from an agonizingly slow pace as almost 60 chapters (ten of the 12 tapes) unwind before Rachel begins to acknowledge her problems. The romantic subplot with fellow addict Chris, battling her love/hate memories of New York City hunk Luke, is predictable. Rachel herself evokes little sympathy. The humor is appropriately dark and ironic, while Gerri Halligan's reading balances Rachel's inner turmoil and the group therapy rhetoric and banter well. Of limited interest, except for very patient Romance audiences. Joyce Kessel, Villa Maria Coll., Buffalo, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Book!! June 10 2005
By A Customer
This is the second book of Keyes' that I read (after Watermelon) and it was absolutely fantastic. Way better than I was expecting after being disapointed by Watermelon. The story of Rachel and her drug addiction is real-life, inspiring, hilarious and heartwarming. I could not put this book down! It was also the icing on top of the cake to realize that Rachel is part of the same family (the Walshes) as Claire in Watermelon (and as I later found out, Maggie in Angels). Its really neat to hear of updates on the other members of the crazy Walsh family! While Rachel's Holiday is an easy read, it is also completely different from your usual girly "lay-on-the-beach" read. It tackles a completely different topic but still manages to be funny and gripping! I totally LOVED this book!!!!!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars I can't put it down Oct. 21 2004
By A Customer
This is a great book, but unfortunately I have a hard time putting it down! The story of Rachel is just wonderful as she battles drug addiction, beginning with denying there is a problem at all. She goes to a treatment facility and as the story unfolds she begins to admit she has a problem and reflects on her life. The chemistry between Rachel and Luke is just so well written you can feel it. Not all the characters are very likeable, but that is real life too. I would love to read more about Rachel. Great book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rachel's Holiday is a Treat! March 18 2007
By Menzies
If you are looking for the type of storyline that will take the character through a journey - then this is the book for you. Rachel Walsh, sister to the other Walsh characters (Claire from Watermelon, Maggie from Angels), has to come to terms with her drug addiction while she is in rehab at the demands of her family. This book is unique because it doesn't hide the ugly truth of drug addiction, and you also get a good idea of Rachel's progress through Marian's description of her thoughts and physical withdrawal symptoms. If you are looking for a book that isn't about the will she / won't she get the guy - then pick up Rachel's Holiday. It's a good read on a uncommon topic.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book for every girlfriend July 27 2004
By Robin
This book has been purchased and given away to 12 different friends. I recommend it to anyone that has seen the addictive personality up close and have had addiction professionals use it as a fun guide to recovery. I love all of Marion Keyes books, but this one and Last Chance Saloon are my favorite rereads. I haunt the bookstores waiting for every new book to hit the shelves and share my joy with my reading girlfriends. Thanks for the joy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Marian Keyes and her great books. May 26 2002
By Lizzie
Rachel Walsh the middle child of the Walsh clan is here and boy does this girl have more problems then any of her family could imagine.
When Rachel goes to New York to live her family didn't expect that she would turn into such the party girl she is. But when Rachel's screws up they soon realize that Rachel needs help and that the only way to help her is to take her back Ireland and take her The Cloisters.
Rachel belives that The Cloisters will be a place here she can relax and take some time away from her life and feel better, but she soon finds out that it is nothing like that. She realizes that she is going to have to make some choices in her life that she doesn't want to make and doesn't want to admit to them.
Marian Keyes is such a talent writer the way she makes Rachel feel like it is someone you could know. She makes Rachel out to be a real person with problems and a real life.
Overall this book is funny, but also it makes think about what is happening to Rachel..
This book is one of the best Marian Keyes books I have read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, captivating, don't miss it! May 12 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In preparation for a trip to Ireland, I picked up Rachel's Holiday in order to read some contemporary Irish fiction. I had previously read Sushi for Beginners, another Keyes novel and I was not extraordinarily impressed. I was told Rachel's Holiday was a more profound novel, and I was not disappointed.
Through the depths of drug addiction and beyond, Keyes shows us the extraordinary talent she posseses in character development. Where Sushi for Beginners is slightly lacking in character development, Rachel's Holiday is not. Keyes forms a character that is unforgettable in Rachel. Her incredible ability to create a setting without stating it bluntly is unsurpassed in chick lit particularly. While many novels of this mode simply create a single-edged, hollow character, Keyes creates a person in Rachel's Holiday.
In a novel about friends, courage, addiction and recovery, Keyes explores the darker side of the chick lit genre. Her novel doesn't gaily overlook the addictions and psychosis of her main character, she delves into the problems with conviction. You will follow Rachel in all her delusions through many phases of her life.
This coming of age story is one for the chick lit generation. It is a beautiful novel, truly inspiring and filled with gifted prose. You will laugh, you will cry, you will question, and you will love all in one novel--- don't pass this one up.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Feb. 17 2002
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I'm an avid reader of all types of books, classics to contemporary, nonfiction and fiction, light and heavy. Since "Bridget Jones" was published I've been enamored of "chick lit" books because of their potential as light reading that's more intelligent and relatable than most bestsellers. Unfortunately, so few chick lit books have actually lived up to that potential ("The Perfect Elizabeth," "Good in Bed," "Milkrun"... all garbage). Fortunately, with Marian Keyes, my search is over. I don't know how she keeps turning out 500- and 600-page books that are so full of humor, great characters, and genuine emotion, but I'm SO glad she does. "Rachel's Holiday" was the first of her books that I read, and I loved it, couldn't put it down, was sorry when it was over, and missed the characters for days afterward. If you, like me, loved "Bridget Jones" and have been frustrated in your search for something as satisfying, try Marian Keyes. You won't regret it. Other Keyes novels I've read, and therefore recommend: "Last Chance Saloon" and "Sushi for Beginners"--the latter is available only in the UK, so give amazon.co.uk a try.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting
Yet again another story by Marian Keyes that I could not put down. I am always eager to read one of her books.
Published 3 months ago by Helene Makowiec
5.0 out of 5 stars Find myself missing the Walsh family...
I don't know what it is about these characters but I am absolutely in love with each and every one of them. Read more
Published on May 10 2011 by Addisons Mom
4.0 out of 5 stars Humorous yet heartwarming story about drug addiction
Keyes does an amazing job at taking drug addiction, and turning it into an engaging, funny and heartwarming story. Read more
Published on Dec 23 2009 by Carrie
3.0 out of 5 stars rachel's holiday
This book was selected for a Book Club review and we have yet to meet to discuss the book. My impression is that it is not going to be well received. Read more
Published on Nov. 6 2009 by Jade
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow reveals of true addiction.
A lovely read that took me for a loop to start - I was expecting a vacation story and got one of addiction recovery (I do not read the back covers, so this was my own fault!). Read more
Published on Jan. 28 2007 by Loraxp
5.0 out of 5 stars Addiction At It's Best
This, like all her other books is a great read. I laughed out loud and at the same time my heart ached for Rachel. It's one of those books you will re-read again and again. Read more
Published on Nov. 28 2006 by Cash
5.0 out of 5 stars The most amazing book !!!
I am a great fan of Ms.Keyes, shamefully admitting to paying extraordinary amounts of money to get my hands on some of her more obscure books, published in UK and Ireland (now... Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by Tatjana Krivokapic
4.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining
This book had me laughing and crying. It's a great story, well written, very funny and very sad at the same time. Read more
Published on Dec 3 2003 by Lisa Reader
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read
I'm a huge fan of this book. It's my favorite of all the Keyes books. It's funny, serious, and heart warming. READ THIS BOOK!
Published on Oct. 11 2003
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