by Marian Keyes
Harper Perennial, 1996
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on Oct 17th 2002
Lucy Sullivan, living in London in
her early twenties, is looking for romance.
She is attracted to penniless artists and musicians, and seems blinds to
their faults, at least at first. So
when she meets Gus, an Irishman with longish black curly hair and bright
green, slightly bloodshot eyes with the gift of the gab who never goes for a
whole day without alcohol or drugs, she falls for him quickly, despite his
inconsiderate behavior towards her and his constant scrounging off her
money. Soon the explanation for Lucys
self-destructive choices becomes clear, as we learn about her tendency towards
depression, her parents difficult marriage, and most tellingly, her fathers
fondness for drink. As in her more
recent novel, Rachels
Holiday, author Marian Keyes is very tuned in to the psychological
dimensions of her characters and their problems. Not only do we see into the lies and deceits that Lucy tells to
herself and her friends, but we also see the dynamics within hr family and the
problems of her friends. Lucy
Sullivan is Getting Married is a well-observed portrait of a child of an
alcoholic in the form of a romantic comedy.
Unfortunately the book is far too
long, and Keyes descriptions of the minute details of Lucys encounters with
other people and her thought processes dilute the charm of the story. I have to confess that after 200 pages of
this 600-page novel, I gave up and browsed the rather predictable unfolding of
the plot of the rest of the book. The
chapters are short, which means they go past quite quickly, giving the
impression of a fast pace, until one realizes that it is taking six chapters to
describe the events of one evening.
Maybe readers who need to kill time, lying on beaches or on long
journeys maybe, will savor the slow unfolding of the plot, but I found it in
need of severe editing; the story could be told just as well in half the
© 2002 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island.
He is editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on
philosophical issues in psychiatry. He is especially interested in exploring
how philosophers can play a greater role in public life, and he is keen to help
foster communication between philosophers, mental health professionals, and the