Anybody Out There? - Marian Keyes
Anna Walsh may have The Most Fabulous Job In The World- working in the marketing department of one of the best cosmetic lines on the planet- but she is living a shattered existence.
While she once spent most of her time wining and dining with big-shot magazine beauty editors in New York, and finding zany outfits to wear that were symbolic of her brand, her days are now reduced to laying in bed at the family home in Dublin, Ireland, while she recovers from the physical and emotional scars that have changed her life forever.
When Anna is finally able to return to New York, she is treated like a china doll that has just been meticulously glued back together after falling off a shelf. Her best friends are sympathetic but can’t truly understand what she’s been through. And despite her attempts to contact him, her husband Aidan, who she’s missed the most, appears to have vanished.
Everybody who knows her thinks that it’s time Anna moved on. But is that really the answer?
What I gained from reading this book:
This novel primarily focuses on people’s ways of dealing with unfortunate events. Aidan’s absence, at the beginning of the novel, is dealt with in several different ways by the different characters. Anna’s parents and sisters think that simply avoiding mentioning Aidan is the best way to help Anna cope. They involve themselves in various plots, including spying on dog-walkers, to lighten the mood and take her mind off her dilemma. Similarly, her best friend Jacqui, who moved to New York with her, insists on regaling her with stories about the celebrities who frequent the posh hotel she works at, in an effort to help her forget about her missing husband. Anna even encounters an eclectic group of people intent on communicating with the dead, who try to help her in their own ways.
By using all of these examples, the author is highlighting that there are many ways for people to deal with their problems, with no path to resolution being the right one.
Anna’s family is as crazy as they come, and provide quite a few entertaining moments. Her oldest sister Claire is pushing forty years of age but still acts like a young party animal, despite having a husband and three children. Rachel is a former cocaine addict who lives with her boyfriend Luke, and works at a rehab facility in New York. Anna’s youngest sister Helen has her own detective business, where she is hired to trail people suspected of cheating on their partners. Surprisingly, the ‘Black Sheep’ of the family is the second eldest, Maggie, who refuses to be ‘deliberately obstructive’ and is known as the ‘lickarse’ of the family. Yes, these are strange notions but are funny all the same.
Anna’s repetitive struggles to contact Aidan begin to grate after a while, especially since the reader is still unaware about what happened to him, and haven’t yet found out the reason why Anna is so physically and emotionally broken. But her actions are understandable when you consider that he is her husband and she is unable to locate him- most people would be doing the same thing.
Rating: 6 out of 10
Genre: Family/ Relationships
Recommended for: People who want to read a heartfelt novel that features loss but is also filled with laughs.
Australians can buy the book by clicking the picture below: