Rachel is outraged when her sister and her husband arrive in New York to take her to the Cloisters, a rehabilitation centre in Ireland. She stubbornly maintains that the overdose that nearly killed her was accidental, and that she has her life under control. Not even her flatmate Brigit or boyfriend Luke will side with her. She is horrified when Luke dumps her before she goes back to Ireland, even though she ignores his insistence that she has a serious problem.
The Cloisters isn’t the star-studded spa-resort Rachel expects. The mundane lifestyle quickly gets to her, and more than once does she try to leave. The first time Dr. Billings, her psychiatrist, tells her that she signed a legal contract to stay, and the second time she realizes that she indeed might have a problem.
Rachel sits through group session as her therapist systematically breaks through every barrier the addicts there seem to have. For homosexuality to being molested or abused as a kid, every addict there struggles through their past demons and their current struggles. Until a few days before Rachel is able to leave, Rachel is fully convinced that everyone around her is deluded, not she. When Luke shows up, her world crashes down on her. Listening to him describe the horrible person she became, she realises that she is a drug addict and can never take drugs even socially. Will she be able to beat drugs down? Will she and Luke ever reconcile and will she ever see New York again?
As you folks know, I am very fond of Marian Keyes’ books. She is an incredibly writer able to make you feel personally attached to all the characters. Rachel’s Holiday, which is part of the Walsh family series, is exactly the same. Rachel is a hilarious character. She has a warped view of the world and sees everything that happens in a different light than the rest of us. She is also very sad – as a middle child she constantly felt neglected and unloved. Her childhood memories caused her great pain even though the way she saw the things that happened were very different from actual events. As
Marian Keyes always writes in different ways. In many of her books she jumps between central characters. This one she only wrote in first person and I think it suited the book very well. It enables the reader to experience everything that is wrong with Rachel and why she is the way she is.
A very enjoyable book to read.