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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 21 December 2005
I was given a dog-eared copy of this book while in a rehab centre in Dublin and found it wonderful. The book is written on Marion Keyes own experiences and manages to give an incredibly accurate account of "life inside" without being bogged down with sentamental tales of suffering or sounding like a martyr. It is uplifting, funny and very honest. I for one found it a great help in my recovery, and would even go so far as saying, the fact Rachel is so funny and normal she helped me admit I had a problem and not feel like a freak ! I also lent it to my mum and sisters to help them understand my state of mind at the time. If you or anyone you know has a problem with drugs or alcohol please buy this book, and if you don't, buy it anyway. It's really good. I have read everything she has published since, she is a fantastic storyteller !
ps and that original copy is still doing the rounds as far as I know !!!
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on 11 July 2004
Having read Rachel's Holiday for the first time 5 years ago, I've since read and re-read it and I just never tire of it. It's more than a girly read. It has more depth than that. I've read all Marian Keyes books and this one by far is her best and strongest novel. However if you plan on reading Rachel's Holiday (which I strongly urge you to do) first read Watermelon,Rachel's Holiday and then Angels. They are a triology of (what I hope will be 5 books) 5 sisters. The Walsh sisters. Claire (Watermelon), Rachel's Holiday (Rachel) and Angels (Maggie). I'm already looking forward to reading about Anna and especially the hilarious Helen.
(PS There was a tv drama based loosly on Watermelon which was awful and not a patch on the great read that it is - that's just by the by!)
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on 7 February 2002
Rachel's Holiday is about another sister in the Walsh family written about in Marian Keyes' Watermelon. Rachel is the middle sister, an Irish emigree living in New York with Brigit, her best friend from Dublin. They seem to be having a normal time in NYC, partying away while taking the occasional drugs ....
Then Brigit finds Rachel overdosed on drugs and her family takes Rachel back to Ireland to rehab at a place called the Cloisters. She does not understand why she is there, it's all a big misunderstanding, she's not really an addict, but the Cloisters has a reputation for having celebrities and there should be a gym, sauna, massage .... heck, she'll stay to please everyone and leave in 2 weeks.
Through a series of flashbacks by Rachel and visits from her parents and friends in her group therapy, the true extent of Rachel's problem unfolds to both the reader and Rachel herself. Intertwined in this is her relationship with Luke from NYC and how drugs destroyed it as well.
In short, a great read, written in a fun style, which you wouldn't think you'd get with such serious subject matter.
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Excellent ! This was the first of Marian Keyes books I have read and thoroughly enjoyed it. Laughs from start to finish with an excellent storyline. The characters are strong and well defined with the right amount of description, sympathy etc for each. I shall certainly be reading more of her books and would think that she would appeal to most female readers.
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on 10 January 2005
Let me begin by saying that I cannot stand 'Bridget Jones's Diary: A Novel'. Although they are marketed to the same demographic, there is no way should you confuse Keyes with Fielding's neurotic, pathetic, 2D schlock.
Sadly, when I first read 'Last Chance Saloon' I was in the confident bloom of my twenties & its truths went straight over my head. My verdict at the time was that it wasn't as engaging as 'Watermelon' or 'Rachel's Holiday', but having re-read it five years later I bow my head in shame. Keyes clearly has some Irish gypsy mojo going on that she was able to predict my (and many others') future so well. If I had paid a little closer attention to the incredibly human detail of this novel, I might have saved myself three years of the confidence dissolving agony that comes with dating & then being engaged to a manipulative loser.
My lesson from this? I've resolved that the next time I think I'm in love with someone, I will read a Marian Keyes novel & have a long hard think about it.
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on 7 September 2001
I cannot praise this book enough. It definitely transcends the genre of British Chick Lit (and don't get me wrong, I'm a big CL fan). It's funny and witty and full of romance, but it's also dark, shockingly painful, and full of realistic loneliness. Keye's masterful storytelling sucks you in - the books starts out breezy and full of laughs (even though we find Rachel, our protagonist, in the hospital after she's almost killed herself with an overdose). Her family whisks her out of New York City and back to Ireland, to rehab. The use of flashbacks can be tricky - in the hands of less adept writers, they're jarring and annoying - but Keye's uses flashbacks to carefully reveal to us just what a horrible, horrible mess Rachel was. At the same time, you get inside Rachel's head, and despite what a wretched mess she is, you start rooting for her. The supporting cast is perfect, and they evolve too - as you read, Luke moves from a macho caricature to a wonderful, sweet man (that the old Rachel truly didn't deserve!) But how many of us have had times in our lives when we felt about a wonderful guy the same way that the "bad" Rachel did about Luke - too caught up in what was supposed to be cool to notice the things that really matter. I especially found sister Helen to be a hoot - at first I didn't like her character, but by the end you see that she loves Rachel in her own way and wants her to be well. Overall, you get much more than just a piece of lightweight fluff with "Rachel's Holiday", it's funny and ultimately romantic, true. But it's thought-provoking and inspirational, as well. I'd also recommend "Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married" but Rachel's Holiday is in a class of its own. (Although I do have "Watermelon" in my stack of books to read - the story of Rachel's big sister.)
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on 15 October 1999
Marian Keyes is absolutely my favourite author. If she wrote a shopping list, I'd read it. And laugh my head off. I first read "Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married" in 4 hours whilst lying on a beach in Barbados (annoying my boyfriend by reading nearly every line out loud to him and laughing hysterically) and have since devoured all her other books. I've just finished her latest, "Last Chance Saloon" which I enjoyed very much but it's when she writes in the first person, as she does in "Rachel's Holiday" when she really comes into her own. I read this book on holiday (Cyprus this time - don't I get around!) and stayed up reading till 3.30am to finish it. I read the end 4 times, sobbing all the while, then got up again at 8.30am to read it all over again. I could totally identify with everything Rachel goes through - and I don't even drink, let alone take drugs! Please buy this book and while you're about it, buy all the other titles from Miss Keyes as well.
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on 2 August 2006
I loved this one (as all of Marian's)... I saw another reviewer saying that she was awake until 3am to read on and find out what happens - but I'm even worse, as I stayed up until 3am (well, 2am to be precise) to RE-READ the book!

The three stories of the main characters touch upon different life situations which most of us have come across one way or another, and are therefore very touching. However, even the serious situations are made lighter through Marian's usual and well-loved humour.

The underlying message that we should enjoy our life is very strong - and useful...

A very good read!
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on 30 June 2005
Quite simply. . . . .Rachels Holiday is one of the best books i have ever read. I know there are plenty of other reviews on this book, all undoubtedly saying the same as me. . .but i had to let you all know my opinion.
Rachel is a young Irish woman in New York, a recreational drug taker and a real party girl. When one evening she takes too many drugs, writes what she thinks is poetry but is taken as a suicide note, slips into a coma and has to have her stomach pumped to save her; her family arrive and take her back to Ireland where she agrees to go into rehab only because she will meet celebrities, work out in the gym and eat fabulous food. Needless to say, its not quite like that.
This book is thought provoking, unbelievably hilarious while tackling such a majorly serious subject, heartwarming, tearjerking, upsetting and mostly, the biggest love story out of any of Keyes' books.
Rachel is a wonderful character who is written in the first person style (definately one of Keyes' greatest talents), a person you will love, scorn, cry for and laugh with. She is hilarious, heartbreaking, annoying and wonderful. The greatest of all Marian Keyes' characters.
I cannot urge you to read this book enough. It takes a serious matter and shows you every which way of looking at it. Its not a book which urges you to use drugs, nor scorns those that do, its not a lecture or attempt at changing society. Its simply a great book, written by an author with true talent who knows how to make a book last forever in your memory. For all those that have done the drug thing and come out the other side then read this. For all those who want a book that will touch you to the core and make you realise how good your life is. . . .read read read!
Marian Keyes. . . .i salute you.
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on 23 August 2005
I read 'Rachels Holiday' about two years ago but have been prompted to write a review now as I have also just finished reading 'The other side of the story' also by Marian Keyes (it mentions amazon a lot). I was gripped by this book from the very first page and read it in two days on my holiday. By the end of my holiday i had read it twice. (and have read it another 3 times since). I could not put this book down, I felt like I could really relate to Rachel and I cried my eyes out through most of the book (especially the bit where she meets brigit on Xmas day). I cried with laughter too, especially at the 'inmates'. Marian made you believe that Rachel was a normal person having fun, and your just as shocked as Rachel when you discover that there is actually a problem, and because of this you actually feel every emotion rachel is feeling. I wish I could give this bok 20 stars and the same goes for 'The other side of the story'. well done marian keyes, keep up the amazing work.
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