Tuesday 29 March 2011

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

I should start this review by saying that I have a thing against chick-lit.  I have tried lots of chick-lit but find it generally formulaic and it doesn't even relax me in a guilty pleasure kind of way.  My sister has been nagging me for ages to read Marian Keyes, arguing that even though her books look like chick lit, they are much more well written and deeper.  I finally decided to give in with The Brightest Star in the Sky.

Synopsis: The novel tells the story of a group of people all living in flats in the same building. Maeve and Matt are a married couple coping with a traumatic event, Katie is finding it hard to see where her life is going, Lydia is a female taxi driver who cares for her Mum (who has dementia) and Jemima is coming to the end of her life.

Well, my sister was right - it's not really chick lit.  In fact, Marian Keyes' writing style reminded me a bit of Nick Hornby's and there was no way the book could be described as superficial.  Marian was very good at writing about everyday life in a way that didn't sugarcoat it or make it overly depressing.  It was just like real life, lived by people everywhere.

With such a large cast of characters, it was hard to relate to and root for every one.  I found Maeve's story the most affecting and guessed the twist before it was revealed.  On the other hand I didn't really get behind Katie's relationship struggles.  Those sections weren't boring, but I didn't really care which character Katie chose.

The writing style was simple and easy to read - all of the strength of the book was in the characters and plot developments.  I didn't care for the supernatural element of this novel but would definitely read more by Marian Keyes.

Verdict: Sister 1  Me 0
Score: 3.5 out of 5


  1. I haven't read this one, but I agree that Marian Keyes is much less superficial than a lot of Chick Lit. I like that her plots tend to be less predictable and pretty captivating as compared to other works in the genre.

  2. This is one I have not read. I definitely think Keyes is slightly more Chic Lit. Try This Charming Man that makes you stop and think a bit as well. Not a very nice topic that is handled brilliantly and I passed this onto my boss not long after I had read it and he is a Commander in the Royal Navy and is now hooked on Keyes. Although I am not supposed to tell anyone that!

  3. I don't think this novel is for me, but the title is so lovely.

  4. I think the cover makes it look chick lit! I like the story line here though.

  5. Great review! I think I'd look into this author. I'm a big Nick Hornby fan and also turned off by chick lit. Very funny line about the verdict - you'll get your sister back, I'm sure!

  6. Lisa, Mystica - I'm definitely going to read some more Marian Keyes, and feel a bit bad for dismissing her as mere chick lit!

    Jo - I'll keep a look out for This Charming Man. Thanks for the recommendation, it's gone on my wish-list.