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4.3 86
by Marian Keyes

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February the fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me...I can only assume the two events weren't entirely unrelated.

Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to


February the fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me...I can only assume the two events weren't entirely unrelated.

Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he's leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he's in for a bit of a surprise.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
An eccentric romantic comedy...full of wicked humor.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Claire Webster, heroine of this breezy Irish bestseller, thinks hubby James is the man of her dreams until he ditches her for an older woman (Claire herself is 29) two hours after their daughter is born. Mother and child repair to Dublin, where there's hope of solace and sustenance in the bosom of an eccentric family, while Claire downsizes from watermelon to wisp and struggles over the hurdles of blues and booze. When she attracts a handsome young lover and considers dumping the suddenly repentant James, it's clear a happy ending's in sight. Or is it? There are a few surprises and plenty of sassy girl talk in this slick if sometimes silly take on what it's like to be female. Much of the hilarity generated by Claire's funky family airhead sisters who squabble over clothes and men, a mother who'd rather watch soap operas than cook, a father perpetually bewildered by the women in his life wears thin, but readers will identify with Claire's flaws, applaud her irreverent wit and rejoice at her triumphant recovery. Like the fruit it's named for, this overlong novel is short on nutrition but long on refreshment.
Library Journal
Claire Webster's got it all - a perfect marriage to a handsome husband who provides well and now a darling baby girl - until the morning after she gives birth, when her husband, James, informs her that he's having an affair with their downstairs neighbor and deserts her and his child. Claire flies back to Dublin and the dubious security of her wacky family to sort out her life. A too-handsome hunk of younger man named Adam - whose motives in pursuing her must be suspect, mustn't they? - enlivens this story of survival in the face of crushing blows to one's self-esteem. Hilarious interior monolog, with Claire's refereeing the warring segments of her obstreperous psyche, puts this first novel on the Gen-X "must-read" list. It will appeal to mainstream, women's fiction, and romance fans, too. Highly recommended. Jo Manning, Univ. of Miami Lib., Coral Gables, FL
Kirkus Reviews
A grand first novel by Irish writer Keyes is a hilarious treatise on love's roller coaster. Both elated and exhausted after giving birth to a daughter, the 29-year-old Claire is shocked senseless when her husband James comes to the London hospital not to celebrate, but instead to break the news that he's leaving her for their dowdy downstairs neighbor. The stunned Claire, with new baby in tow, and feeling as big as a summer melon, hightails it back to her family in Dublin to sort out her life. Wandering around her childhood home in her mother's old nightgowns, a vodka bottle in one hand and the bawling Kate in the other, Claire tries to banish images of the frolicking James and his "other woman." Her two younger sisters prove to be a comfort, sweet Anna, a hippie drug-dealer, loans Claire money for booze, and haughty Helen deigns to buy it for her. And drunken anguish does have its rewards, for in no time Claire sheds her extra weight, thanks to a steady liquid diet and nights spent on the family rowing machine fantasizing James's ruin. But it is only when Gorgeous Adam appears on the scene that Claire begins to recover a sense of purpose. A college friend of Helen's, Adam exemplifies perfect manhood—and helpfully takes a liking to her, too. But just as things begin crackling between them, James shows up, oh-so- generously ready to forgive Claire for driving him into the arms of the other woman. Torn between the comforts of her former life in London and a new, heartening sense of self-worth and self-sufficiency, not to mention the Gorgeous Adam, Claire finds herself hard put to make a decision. A candid, irresistibly funny debut and perfect summertime read.

From the Publisher
“A candid, irresistibly funny debut and perfect summertime read.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Marian Keyes has a talent for writing about ordinary things happening to ordinary people. But in Watermelon, the skill with which she weaves this tangled web is extraordinary.”

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Chapter One

I'm sorry, you must think I'm very rude. We've hardly even been introduced and here I am telling you all about the awful things that have happened to me.

Let me just give you the briefest outline of myself and I'll save details like, for example, my first day at school until later, if we have the time.

Let's see, what should I tell you? Well, my name is Claire and I'm twenty-nine and, as I mentioned, I've just had my first child two days ago (a little girl, seven pounds, four ounces, totally beautiful) and my husband (did I mention his name is James?) told me about twenty-four hours ago that he has been having an affair for the past six months, with -- and get this -- not even his secretary or someone glamorous from work, but with a married woman who lives in the apartment two floors below us. I mean, how suburban can you get! And not only is he having an affair but he wants a divorce.

I'm sorry if I'm being unnecessarily flippant about this. I'm all over the place. In a moment I'll be crying again. I'm still in shock, I suppose. Her name is Denise and I know her quite well.

Not quite as well as James does, obviously.

The awful thing is she always seemed to be really nice.

She's thirty-five (don't ask me how I know this, I just do; and at the risk of sounding very sour grapes and losing your sympathy, she does look thirty-five) and she has two children and a nice husband (quite apart from my one, that is). And apparently she's moved out of her apartment and he's moved out of his (or ours, should I say) and they've both moved into a new one in a secret location.

Can you believe it? How dramatic can you get?I know her husband is Italian, but I really don't think he's likely to kill the pair of them. He's a waiter, not a Mafia stooge, so what's he going to do? Black pepper them to death? Compliment them into a coma? Run them over with the dessert trolley?

But again, I seem flippant.

I'm not.

I'm heartbroken.

And it's all such a disaster. I don't even know what to call my little girl. James and I had discussed some names -- or, in retrospect, I had discussed them and he had pretended to listen -- but we hadn't decided on anything definite. And I seem to have lost the ability to make decisions on my own. Pathetic, I know, but that's marriage for you. Bang goes your sense of personal autonomy!

I wasn't always like this. Once I was strong-willed and independent. But that all seems like a long, long time ago.

I've been with James for five years, and we've been married for three years. And, my God, but I love that man.

Although we had a less than auspicious start, the magic took hold of us very quickly. We both agree that we fell in love about fifteen minutes after we met and we stayed that way.

Or at least I did.

For a long time I never thought I'd meet a man who wanted to marry me.

Well, perhaps I should qualify that.

I never thought I'd meet a nice man who wanted to marry me. Plenty of lunatics, undoubtedly. But a nice man, a bit older than me, with a decent job, good-looking, funny, kind. You know-one who didn't look at me askance when I mentioned The Partridge Family, not one who apologized for not being able to get me a birthday present because his estranged wife had taken all his salary under a court maintenance order, not one who made me feel old-fashioned and inhibited because I got angry when he said that he'd screwed his ex-girlfriend the night after he screwed me ("My God, you convent girls are so uptight"), not one who made me feel inadequate because I couldn't tell the difference between Piat d'Or and Zinfandel (whatever that is!).

James didn't treat me in any of these unpleasant ways. It seemed almost too good to be true. He liked me. He liked almost everything about me.

When we first met we were both living in London. I was waitress (more of that later) and he was an accountant.

Of all the Tex-Mex joints in all the towns in all the world, he had to walk into mine. I wasn't a real waitress, you understand, I had a degree in English, but I went through my rebellious stage rather later than most, at about twenty-three. Which is when I thought it might be a bit of a laugh to give up my permanent, wellish-paid job in Dublin and go off to the Godless city of London and live like an irresponsible student.

Which is something I should have done when I was an irresponsible student. But I was too busy getting work experience during my summer holidays then, so my irresponsibility just had to wait until I was good and ready for it.

Like I always say, there's a time and a place for spontaneity.

Anyway, I had managed to land myself a job as a waitress in this highly trendy London restaurant, all loud music and video screens and minor celebrities.

Well, to be honest, there were more minor celebrities on the staff then amongst the clientele, what with most of the staff being out-of-work actors and models and the like.

How I ever got a job there at all is beyond me. Although I might have been employed as the token Wholesome Waitress. To begin with I was...

Watermelon. Copyright © by Marian Keyes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Marian Keyes is the author of ten bestselling novels and two essay collections. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two imaginary dogs.

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Watermelon 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
IamSM More than 1 year ago
Watermelon was recommended to me by a friend. And it was one of the greatest gifts she could have given. The story of a mother who has to rebuild her inner and outer life post-baby and post-husband leaving her, Watermelon is story about rebirth after personal tragedy and how family, whether we want to hug them or kill them, can absolutely save the day in the end. The narrative flows from moments of laugh-out-loud humor, to pure frustrations for the situations (I literally gasped and yelled "WHAT?!" as I read parts), to moments that will touch your heart. The journey that you go through with Claire, the central character in the story, is one that feels so real, and so relatable to anyone that has ever had to pick up the pieces. I feel like Claire and her family are actual people existing in my own life, that is how real and followed-through Marian Keyes' book is. So, please, do yourself a favor and read this book. I have already purchased Keyes' second book in hopes of finding the magic from Watermelon once again.
shayda_k More than 1 year ago
The story starts in a hospital in London, where Claire Webster is giving birth to her first child. What you'd assume to be a joyful and heart-warming moment makes a vicious turn when James, Claire's husband, walks into the room and tells Claire that he's leaving her for another woman. Claire is naturally heart-broken and doesn't know what to do, so she takes her baby back home to Dublin.
The story progresses from there, we watch Claire grow and cope with her loss, along with her gain. A short while after moving to Dublin she meets Adam, "long legs. Muscly arms. Blue eyes. Square jaw. Big smile." I'll leave it to you find out what, if anything, happens between them.
The story's great, very light, no need for deep thinking since it's written in first person. Keyes does a really good job in letting us know just how Claire feels about what is going on around her. There are few little twists here and there, but my favorite part was seeing Claire grow as a person, just the way any other person could logically mature after taking a walk in her shoes.
I think the only thing that bothered me about this book was that for a few instances Keyes would go off on emphasizing a point a little too far. But it only happened a few times, definitely not enough to make me want to put the book down. Also, her portrayal of her male characters sometimes seemed a bit weird to me, some of the things that came out of Adam's mouth made me question if a guy would really talk like that, but whatever, the point of me reading this wasn't so I could go deep in thought about what was going on. The point was for a little entertainment, and Watermelon definitely delivered!
Keyes is an Irish writer, so her humor and wit is really refreshing to read since it's different to typical American humor. Claire has four sisters, Maggie, Helen, Anna, and Rachel, and three of which are the protagonists in her books Angles (Maggie being the protagonist in this one), Rachel's Holiday (Rachel), and Anybody Out There? (Anna); Helen's book is coming up. They're not exactly a series, but the idea is cool, this way we get to meet most of the sisters and experience their different personalities and not worry about reading the books out of order.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful. I couldn't breathe until I finished this book. Some heartbreaking moments and I couldn't put it down until the main character was doing better. Then I couldn't put it down because I was dying to see what would happen next. I loved the ending and the family was so crazy, funny and sweet. A great read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read by Marian Keyes and have now read 3. She is an awesome 'chik literature' writer. Light reading, very funny and very sexy. I love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently discovered Marian Keyes on a trip to the library. I have read four of her books so far and they keep getting better and better. At first I thought these were your typical 'chick-lit' books but they are much deeper than you would think. Each story has very different characters with myriad problems and situations but I feel like I can relate to every one, at least in part. They are sad, happy, exciting, funny and , dare I say it, life-changing. I especially can't wait to find out about the other two Walsh sisters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the third book I read by Marian Keyes, I love her style! She knows how to write about the hard times in a light manner, always a good reminder of not taking ourselves too seriously. The main character, Claire, is a bit childish at times but very realistic and entertaining, just like the rest of her family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all the Marian Keyes books, I found this to be her best, although Sushi for Beginners comes a very close second. The humour is well observed and many times you can actually relate to what MK describes - and the way in which she does it. She makes you want to keep turning the pages...and you find yourself cheering the heroine on. Good fun to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watermelon is the first book that I read by Marian Keyes. At first you expect it to be a complete tear jerker, but midway through it you realize just how hysterical yet sentmimental it is. Claire, the main character, is so vulnerable at times and unbelievably strong and self-sufficient at others. She is the type of character anyone would love to have as a best friend. The other characters in this book also allow for such an enjoyeable and realistic read. It was so hard to put this nearly 450 page book down. Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone!!! I've also read Last Chance Saloon and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes. They were both fantastic as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me just say that I was at the library recently looking for a book (not that I don't have a million sitting on my book shelf waiting to be read collecting dust!) and I stumbled across Watermelon by Marian Keyes and remembered hearing about it from more than one person about how great it was...so I said why not, i'll give it a try....all i have to say is that if I could I would give this book 10 stars! I found that when i was FORCED to put this book down (like around 3:00AM when my eyes felt like they were literally bleeding, I found myself actually thinking about poor Claire..and worrying about her life! What's going to happen w/her and Adam? Are James and her going to get back together? This book is magnificent and I highly recommend it! And I can't say that about too many books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watermelon is one of the best books ever! I highly recommend it to 20-30 something women. I laughed so much and I could hardly put the book down. I felt like Claire was one of my close friends. You won't be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book while pregnat with my first child, right after my boyfriend of 3 years left us. I was in the dumps and bought this book not knowing what exactly I was in for. It lifted my spirits and was so right on the money with my life! It will definately make you smile!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at a discount store. I never buy books except at book stores, but this one looked so tempting i couldn't resist. From the first page I knew my choice was right. This was a very funny and easy read. If you are looking for some humor, this is a good choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to give this book five stars, because that is as many as they would let me give it! The dialogue and her little asides to the reader made me laugh out loud! One of the funniest and best books I have read in a while! I can't wait to read her next one, 'Lucy Sullivan's Getting Married.' I hope she writes many more books...she is a terrific author!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enters the room and watche bella with curiosity? What could she seeinthat dark hole?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Isnt here. Sorry... I will find it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good! You are on the right track if you're here. If you are really in the correct spot, then go to the next result for your next clue. ~&Delta
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not bad for a first novel. Love her writing style.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Liked the plot and characters were entertaining
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She is not a loser ur just trying to make urself feel better. Bella...its wrong to spy they cant hurt us if w just pretend they rnt there. -Fluffypelt
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My first book by this author, and I was pleasantly surprised. I could easily relate to Claire. I heard that her thoughts were a bit over done and distracting, but I liked it because it was realistic. We were really able to get in her head and understand how she feels. Her family was fun and quirky but loving too. I absolutely loved Adam. I despised James. I don't think I have ever hated a fictional character as much as I hated him. If this book made me feel that strongly, then I know it was written well. The storyline may have been predictable, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and I can't wait to read the rest in the series. I definitely recommend it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to music res. 1.