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            Watermelon
            Marian Keyes
            Fiction
            Review posted: 7/20/03

            The wildly,wickedly funny misadventures of Claire. When her baby is born, instead of celebrating her husband marches into recovery to tell her heís leaving her for the downstairs neighbor. Thatís the bad news. The good news is, it canít get much worse.

            Claire tells her story in a wry Irish voice, as she goes home to her family, none of whom are altogether normal. Her father, who never cared for her husband James in the first place is neither surprised nor please. In fact her father is more like a piece of furniture than a member of the family, a spend a great deal of time avoiding family conflicts with his charmingly offbeat wife and three daughters. There is Anna, her generally drugged hippie sister, Helen, the sex-kitten, and their mother who spends a great deal of time worrying about them, almost as much time as she spends watching her soaps.

            Then there is Kate, Claireís precious daughter, who hasnít been introduced to her father, since he hasnít shown any interest in her whatsoever. Faced with her family, her daughter and her failures Claire sinks into a depression so deep it would probably have been alarming if it wasnít so funny. She ranges from morose to violent (how dare they watch love scenes on the televeson when sheís been left by her husband!) and spends a great deal of time wallowing in a self-indulgent veil of tears. Despite all this, Watermelon never becomes depressing. Even when sheís sneaking around the house, searching for her familyís booze stash (her mother hides and moves it to keep the kids out), or cowering in bed with a bottle ( she doesnít hide it with any great degree of success) Claire manages to tell her story with a wry, darkly humorous voice.

            Itís not until Claire meets the charming young Adam that her depression begins to dissipate. Love is on the horizan and Claire looks better than ever (itís amazing what a diet of booze and cigarettes can do for you). Sheís dropped her pregnancy pounds, found a dashing new love and a greater degree of self-confidence that shocks James when he finally puts in a second appearance.

            This is a book for any day that you need a pick-me-up. Laugh out loud funny and shamelessly indulgent, youíll find yourself cheering as Claire takes one small step for woman, one giant step for womankind.