by Marian Keyes


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February the fifteenth is a very special day for me. It is the day I gave birth to my first child. It is also the day my husband left me...I can only assume the two events weren't entirely unrelated.

Claire has everything she ever wanted: a husband she adores, a great apartment, a good job. Then, on the day she gives birth to their first baby, James informs her that he's leaving her. Claire is left with a newborn daughter, a broken heart, and a postpartum body that she can hardly bear to look at.

She decides to go home to Dublin. And there, sheltered by the love of a quirky family, she gets better. So much so, in fact, that when James slithers back into her life, he's in for a bit of a surprise.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060090364
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 01/23/2007
Series: Harper Perennial
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 477,788
Product dimensions: 5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Marian Keyes is the author of ten bestselling novels and two essay collections. She lives in Ireland with her husband and their two imaginary dogs.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

I'm sorry, you must think I'm very rude. We've hardly even been introduced and here I am telling you all about the awful things that have happened to me.

Let me just give you the briefest outline of myself and I'll save details like, for example, my first day at school until later, if we have the time.

Let's see, what should I tell you? Well, my name is Claire and I'm twenty-nine and, as I mentioned, I've just had my first child two days ago (a little girl, seven pounds, four ounces, totally beautiful) and my husband (did I mention his name is James?) told me about twenty-four hours ago that he has been having an affair for the past six months, with -- and get this -- not even his secretary or someone glamorous from work, but with a married woman who lives in the apartment two floors below us. I mean, how suburban can you get! And not only is he having an affair but he wants a divorce.

I'm sorry if I'm being unnecessarily flippant about this. I'm all over the place. In a moment I'll be crying again. I'm still in shock, I suppose. Her name is Denise and I know her quite well.

Not quite as well as James does, obviously.

The awful thing is she always seemed to be really nice.

She's thirty-five (don't ask me how I know this, I just do; and at the risk of sounding very sour grapes and losing your sympathy, she does look thirty-five) and she has two children and a nice husband (quite apart from my one, that is). And apparently she's moved out of her apartment and he's moved out of his (or ours, should I say) and they've both moved into a new one in a secret location.

Can you believe it? How dramatic can you get?I know her husband is Italian, but I really don't think he's likely to kill the pair of them. He's a waiter, not a Mafia stooge, so what's he going to do? Black pepper them to death? Compliment them into a coma? Run them over with the dessert trolley?

But again, I seem flippant.

I'm not.

I'm heartbroken.

And it's all such a disaster. I don't even know what to call my little girl. James and I had discussed some names -- or, in retrospect, I had discussed them and he had pretended to listen -- but we hadn't decided on anything definite. And I seem to have lost the ability to make decisions on my own. Pathetic, I know, but that's marriage for you. Bang goes your sense of personal autonomy!

I wasn't always like this. Once I was strong-willed and independent. But that all seems like a long, long time ago.

I've been with James for five years, and we've been married for three years. And, my God, but I love that man.

Although we had a less than auspicious start, the magic took hold of us very quickly. We both agree that we fell in love about fifteen minutes after we met and we stayed that way.

Or at least I did.

For a long time I never thought I'd meet a man who wanted to marry me.

Well, perhaps I should qualify that.

I never thought I'd meet a nice man who wanted to marry me. Plenty of lunatics, undoubtedly. But a nice man, a bit older than me, with a decent job, good-looking, funny, kind. You know-one who didn't look at me askance when I mentioned The Partridge Family, not one who apologized for not being able to get me a birthday present because his estranged wife had taken all his salary under a court maintenance order, not one who made me feel old-fashioned and inhibited because I got angry when he said that he'd screwed his ex-girlfriend the night after he screwed me ("My God, you convent girls are so uptight"), not one who made me feel inadequate because I couldn't tell the difference between Piat d'Or and Zinfandel (whatever that is!).

James didn't treat me in any of these unpleasant ways. It seemed almost too good to be true. He liked me. He liked almost everything about me.

When we first met we were both living in London. I was waitress (more of that later) and he was an accountant.

Of all the Tex-Mex joints in all the towns in all the world, he had to walk into mine. I wasn't a real waitress, you understand, I had a degree in English, but I went through my rebellious stage rather later than most, at about twenty-three. Which is when I thought it might be a bit of a laugh to give up my permanent, wellish-paid job in Dublin and go off to the Godless city of London and live like an irresponsible student.

Which is something I should have done when I was an irresponsible student. But I was too busy getting work experience during my summer holidays then, so my irresponsibility just had to wait until I was good and ready for it.

Like I always say, there's a time and a place for spontaneity.

Anyway, I had managed to land myself a job as a waitress in this highly trendy London restaurant, all loud music and video screens and minor celebrities.

Well, to be honest, there were more minor celebrities on the staff then amongst the clientele, what with most of the staff being out-of-work actors and models and the like.

How I ever got a job there at all is beyond me. Although I might have been employed as the token Wholesome Waitress. To begin with I was...

Watermelon. Copyright © by Marian Keyes. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Watermelon 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 101 reviews.
IamSM More than 1 year ago
Watermelon was recommended to me by a friend. And it was one of the greatest gifts she could have given. The story of a mother who has to rebuild her inner and outer life post-baby and post-husband leaving her, Watermelon is story about rebirth after personal tragedy and how family, whether we want to hug them or kill them, can absolutely save the day in the end. The narrative flows from moments of laugh-out-loud humor, to pure frustrations for the situations (I literally gasped and yelled "WHAT?!" as I read parts), to moments that will touch your heart. The journey that you go through with Claire, the central character in the story, is one that feels so real, and so relatable to anyone that has ever had to pick up the pieces. I feel like Claire and her family are actual people existing in my own life, that is how real and followed-through Marian Keyes' book is. So, please, do yourself a favor and read this book. I have already purchased Keyes' second book in hopes of finding the magic from Watermelon once again.
shayda_k More than 1 year ago
The story starts in a hospital in London, where Claire Webster is giving birth to her first child. What you'd assume to be a joyful and heart-warming moment makes a vicious turn when James, Claire's husband, walks into the room and tells Claire that he's leaving her for another woman. Claire is naturally heart-broken and doesn't know what to do, so she takes her baby back home to Dublin.
The story progresses from there, we watch Claire grow and cope with her loss, along with her gain. A short while after moving to Dublin she meets Adam, "long legs. Muscly arms. Blue eyes. Square jaw. Big smile." I'll leave it to you find out what, if anything, happens between them.
The story's great, very light, no need for deep thinking since it's written in first person. Keyes does a really good job in letting us know just how Claire feels about what is going on around her. There are few little twists here and there, but my favorite part was seeing Claire grow as a person, just the way any other person could logically mature after taking a walk in her shoes.
I think the only thing that bothered me about this book was that for a few instances Keyes would go off on emphasizing a point a little too far. But it only happened a few times, definitely not enough to make me want to put the book down. Also, her portrayal of her male characters sometimes seemed a bit weird to me, some of the things that came out of Adam's mouth made me question if a guy would really talk like that, but whatever, the point of me reading this wasn't so I could go deep in thought about what was going on. The point was for a little entertainment, and Watermelon definitely delivered!
Keyes is an Irish writer, so her humor and wit is really refreshing to read since it's different to typical American humor. Claire has four sisters, Maggie, Helen, Anna, and Rachel, and three of which are the protagonists in her books Angles (Maggie being the protagonist in this one), Rachel's Holiday (Rachel), and Anybody Out There? (Anna); Helen's book is coming up. They're not exactly a series, but the idea is cool, this way we get to meet most of the sisters and experience their different personalities and not worry about reading the books out of order.
For more reviews, please visit: http://musicfilmbookreviews.blogspot.com/
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was wonderful. I couldn't breathe until I finished this book. Some heartbreaking moments and I couldn't put it down until the main character was doing better. Then I couldn't put it down because I was dying to see what would happen next. I loved the ending and the family was so crazy, funny and sweet. A great read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first book I read by Marian Keyes and have now read 3. She is an awesome 'chik literature' writer. Light reading, very funny and very sexy. I love it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I recently discovered Marian Keyes on a trip to the library. I have read four of her books so far and they keep getting better and better. At first I thought these were your typical 'chick-lit' books but they are much deeper than you would think. Each story has very different characters with myriad problems and situations but I feel like I can relate to every one, at least in part. They are sad, happy, exciting, funny and , dare I say it, life-changing. I especially can't wait to find out about the other two Walsh sisters.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the third book I read by Marian Keyes, I love her style! She knows how to write about the hard times in a light manner, always a good reminder of not taking ourselves too seriously. The main character, Claire, is a bit childish at times but very realistic and entertaining, just like the rest of her family.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Of all the Marian Keyes books, I found this to be her best, although Sushi for Beginners comes a very close second. The humour is well observed and many times you can actually relate to what MK describes - and the way in which she does it. She makes you want to keep turning the pages...and you find yourself cheering the heroine on. Good fun to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watermelon is the first book that I read by Marian Keyes. At first you expect it to be a complete tear jerker, but midway through it you realize just how hysterical yet sentmimental it is. Claire, the main character, is so vulnerable at times and unbelievably strong and self-sufficient at others. She is the type of character anyone would love to have as a best friend. The other characters in this book also allow for such an enjoyeable and realistic read. It was so hard to put this nearly 450 page book down. Anyway, I recommend this book to anyone!!! I've also read Last Chance Saloon and Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married by Marian Keyes. They were both fantastic as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me just say that I was at the library recently looking for a book (not that I don't have a million sitting on my book shelf waiting to be read collecting dust!) and I stumbled across Watermelon by Marian Keyes and remembered hearing about it from more than one person about how great it was...so I said why not, i'll give it a try....all i have to say is that if I could I would give this book 10 stars! I found that when i was FORCED to put this book down (like around 3:00AM when my eyes felt like they were literally bleeding, I found myself actually thinking about poor Claire..and worrying about her life! What's going to happen w/her and Adam? Are James and her going to get back together? This book is magnificent and I highly recommend it! And I can't say that about too many books!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Watermelon is one of the best books ever! I highly recommend it to 20-30 something women. I laughed so much and I could hardly put the book down. I felt like Claire was one of my close friends. You won't be disappointed!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read this book while pregnat with my first child, right after my boyfriend of 3 years left us. I was in the dumps and bought this book not knowing what exactly I was in for. It lifted my spirits and was so right on the money with my life! It will definately make you smile!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book at a discount store. I never buy books except at book stores, but this one looked so tempting i couldn't resist. From the first page I knew my choice was right. This was a very funny and easy read. If you are looking for some humor, this is a good choice.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to give this book five stars, because that is as many as they would let me give it! The dialogue and her little asides to the reader made me laugh out loud! One of the funniest and best books I have read in a while! I can't wait to read her next one, 'Lucy Sullivan's Getting Married.' I hope she writes many more books...she is a terrific author!!!
gogglemiss on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After a slow start, this wasn't a bad read, though the narrative did start to grate on me, as Claire went through every emotion imaginable, learning of her husband's adultery, on the day of their daughter's birth. Then she flees to Dublin to the sanctuary of her family. where they welcome her with worried open arms. I loved the Walsh family. The story became much livelier when Claire talked about them
Katie1723 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Not a lot of books grab you from the beginning. That is what I admire most about this book. So many things go wrong in the beginning that you're not really sure how things are going to work out. The Walsh family is a kick in the pants. I started writing down quotes from different Marian Keyes books because they either make me smile or they make me laugh so hard.
Alliebadger on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A very fun and quick read. It was quite charming and definitely felt like it was written by a combo Dubliner/Londoner. Claire, our heroine, is simply lovable and you can't help relating to her incredible tangents of thought. Sometimes they go on a little long, but I know I've done the same thing. The way she finally stands up for herself is one of those that I do hope many women take a lesson from.
bluemist on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My second Marian Keyes Book. I absolutely loved the last book "Other side of the story". "Watermelon" somehow missed that grip. Even though the style of funny; yet I could not bring myself to love it. I would give it 2 out of 5 stars.
urduha on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Marian Keyes is a guilty pleasure, like surfing celebrity gossip sites, or watching 1980's Sharon Cuneta movies. And like any guilty pleasure, you are hooked for a time, then you're done and wondering "why did I do that? i am not any smarter, any happier, any more insightful or any better equipped to navigate my life, than when I started." Claire is cute, but not as smart as she thinks she is. I actually like her character better in the other books about her sisters. She is better in smaller doses.
kikilon on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Marian Keyes again. I keep coming back to her without knowing why. The first chapter drew me in straight away. Maybe that's why. The European-ness of the story is like a familiar taste you vaguely remember. And the depth of the people potrayed, combined with the extraordinary (for chick lit) length of her books make me pick them up. That, and the titles. Don't you just love her titles? I know I do. Having said that, I must say that this book is by far my favourite Marian Keyes so far. maybe it's because I could really relate to her predicament (minus the child, fortunately), so the final showdown between the heroine and her husband brought tears to my eyes. I may not always have been 100% convinced by her books, but I know I can't stop now. So the rest of her books have just elbowed themselves to the top of my to-read pile.
bibliobbe on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Claire¿s husband leaves her on the day she gives birth to their daughter. She flees to her mad Irish family to recover from the shock, hurt and humiliation. So far, so sadly mundane. But as this is Marian Keyes, expect short, wry sentences along the ¿why me?¿ lines. Don¿t worry, it gets better: it ends eventually. Claire has a man by the end. I won¿t spoil it and tell you whether it¿s the cretinous husband or the hunk she meets in Ireland. This is Marian Keyes, you can work it out for yourself. Although it seems like a long book, there are so many five word paragraphs that there¿s more white on every page than you might expect. Perhaps people who have never before managed to finish a book are so excited that they can get through a Marian Keyes book, that they vote for them in the Top 100. If you love rubbish, this will be for you. If not, don¿t bother.
StoryB on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Watermelon was my first Marian Keyes book. It was also the first time I had read this humorous genre and it took a while to settle in to, but after reading "Rachel's Holiday" also by Keyes, I became a fan and re-read Watermelon. I have read all of Keyes books in the Walsh Family series and all the rest, except for "The Brightest Star in the Sky."The Walsh Family are lively but also down to earth. Their escapades are funny and you flinch at times but there is much togetherness as a family.Keyes writes with a good dose of maturity and comic relief.
scuzzy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
the first keyes book i read, and one of my favourites. she is a writer that an ex was into who made me read it...enjoyed the english made for tv attempt too.
LisaMaria_C on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Count me underwhelmed--nay, irked. I tried this because it was recommended on The Ultimate Reading List under the chicklit section. Well, I'm beginning to suspect that with the rare exception (so far, Bridget Jones' Diary) this isn't the kind of book for me. So many of them strike the same tone--overly chirpy obsessed with dress size and the mating game but without the satiric edge of Bridget Jones' Diary or it's ability to make me laugh-out-loud. The book is centered on Claire Walsh--her husband left her on the same day as their child was born, and she returns to her family in Dublin with the babe in arms. This is all told in first person--and a good first person depends on voice--either one that is strong and colorful or at least one that disappears well so what you get is story. Claire's voice unfortunately grated on me--repetitive, one-note, whiny. And the title "Watermelon." It's because it's how she sees herself--as "fat" at only size 14 (adjusted to American sizes I'm sure). Let me tell you, size 14 is not fat. It's average. But Claire goes on and on about how fat she is and without the irony of a Bridget Jones. When she isn't going on and on and on about her weight, or talking about her constant drinking, it's all how she can't understand how her husband could leave her like that. Repetitively. Annoyingly. Predictably. We have to go through the Stages of Grief by the numbers with denial, sadness, anger and acceptance. By the time James shows back up, were it not for the poor abandoned newborn, I think my sympathies would have been completely with him, so much had I grown to dislike Claire.
jeanh12 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Claire is in the hospital (in London) after her baby's birth when her husband James tells her that he is having an affair and is leaving her. Claire had no clue this was coming and goes to Dublin to stay w/her family and try to recover. Her journey is mostly hilarious. How things worked out with her husband was a bit iffy and I wish she swore less, but overall this was a good read on par w/MK's other books.
kelawrence on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay . . . a good beach read. My first book by this author - initial reactions is that I thought it was very predictable and the main character seemed to go on and on and on about her feelings . . . when any half-way intelligent person got the gist of what she was saying in the first one or two sentences. Not terrible, but I wouldn't grab another one of these books.