Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes

Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Trade, 593 pages, 2006

Rating: 10/10

Reason for Reading: I love Keyes – I’ve read all of her books except for Further Under the Duvet.

Synopsis: Anna Walsh is in a terrible state – mentally beaten down and physically battered, all she wants to do is leave her parents in Ireland and get back to her life in New York City. She has an amazing job (featuring endless makeup freebies), a great group of friends, and it’s also where her husband, Aidan, is supposed to be. But whatever Anna is trying to tell herself in Ireland, the life she has waiting for her on the other side of the ocean is not the life she left behind…

Why you should read this book: Thank goodness for big families. Previously, Keyes has introduced us to Clare (Watermelon), Rachel (Rachel’s Holiday), and Maggie (Angels); now it’s time for the fourth of five sisters, Anna, to let us into her life. Proving once again why she’s at the top of the chick-lit genre, Keyes never relinquishes control over her readers’ emotions, breaking hearts and still managing to tease out some giggles. Anybody Out There takes an unexpected turn that showcases Keyes’ depth – no easy outs in this story. Starting the novel, 600 pages seemed ridiculous, but every one of them is good. My biggest lament is that there’s only one sister left to write about.

Why you should avoid this book: Most chick-lit readers are used to the misery of the ‘he left me/doesn’t want me’ phase contained in each book, but this one is a level beyond and pretty distressing at times, so prepare to hit rock bottom before Keyes will bring you back up. The only other oddity with the book is the fact that Anna, who we’ve met in three other books, doesn’t really feel like the free-spirited Anna Keyes introduced us to, so much as an average businesswoman in her early thirties, which is a little disappointing.

Opening paragraph:

Mum flung open the sitting-room door and announced, ‘Morning, Anna, time for your tablets.’

Fabulous quotes:

And so the phrase came about. It suggested an effeminate quality which instantly stripped a man of all sex appeal. It was a damning way to be categorized. Far better, in Jacqui’s opinion, to be a drunken wife-beater in a dirty vest than a Feathery Stroker.

Because when I went on to our wedding list website, I saw that someone called Janie Sorensen had bought us a present. For a minute I thought, Who on earth is Janie Sorensen? Then I thought, It’s Janie! Aidan’s Janie. What had she bought us? I clicked like mad to get the details and when I saw, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. Janie had bought us a set of kitchen knives. Really sharp, pointy, dangerous ones. Fair enough, we’d put them on our list, but why couldn’t she have got us a cashmere throw or a couple of fluffy cushions, which were also on the list? I sat staring at the screen. Was this a warning?

Also recommended: Goodbye, Jimmy Choo by Annie Sanders; Finishing Touches by Deanna Kizis; gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson.

Also by this author: Watermelon; Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married; Rachel’s Holiday; Last Chance Saloon; Sushi for Beginners; Under the Duvet; Angels; The Other Side of the Story; Further Under the Duvet.

Author’s website:

Fun tidbit: Click here to watch a video of Keyes reading an excerpt that describes the dreaded ‘Feathery Strokers.’

Would I read more by this author? Yes.

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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