Desert Isle Keeper Review

Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married

Marian Keyes
2002 reissue of 1999 release, Chick Lit
Avon, $13.95, 640 pages, Amazon ASIN 0060090375

Grade: A+
Sensuality: Warm

Move over, Bridget Jones! There's a new girl in town, and she's much more interesting than you are, and a lot funnier, to boot. Marian Keyes has created an unforgettable character and placed her in a hilarious, heartbreaking, and ultimately touching story about one young woman's search for love.

Lucy Sullivan is a twenty-something single girl, living in London and working at a dead-end job that pays just enough to underwrite her partying lifestyle. She knows something's missing and drifts from one boyfriend to the next, searching for Mr. Right. On a lark, she and her office mates visit a fortuneteller, who delivers the good news that within a year she'll be married; Lucy wonders frantically who it could be. Is it Gus, the free-spirited Irishman she meets at a party? It certainly can't be Daniel, her brother's best friend - he's dating one of her roommates. Or maybe it's the American chap, Charlie, whom she meets through a singles ad.

Men aren't the only complication in her life. There are problems at the office, where she and her co-workers devote a lot of energy to doing as little as possible. She's jealous of her roommates, who have apparently marvelous love lives, and don't hesitate to flaunt this fact under her nose. And money is a constant source of worry for her. Then there are her parents: she has to put up with her mother, whose actions and attitude belie her stated wish that she only wants to see Lucy happy, certainly happier than she's been with Lucy's dad. He's chronically unemployed and totally unconcerned about it, as long as he can find the cash for his next bottle of booze.

To say anything more would give away too much, and I don't want to do that - I want you to have as much fun as I did watching Lucy take many a detour in her quest for happiness. I liked this book so much more than I did Bridget Jones's Diary, because Lucy is not so self-absorbed and shallow as Bridget - no calorie or cigarette count here, thank you - and she's able to laugh at herself while she laughs at the world.

Bear in mind that she's not the brightest woman in the world, but she's more intelligent than her one roommate Charlotte, and a lot more likable than Karen, the other one. There's a terrific scene involving a dinner party Karen arranges at the flat: she demands that each of the other girls not only pay her for the food, but also do all the cleaning and cooking. It's not until months later that Lucy learns Karen had the nerve to charge the male dinner guests, as well.

All is not goodness and light, however. Lucy will have to face a very real problem, one that's inextricably tied up with her reason for always picking a loser boyfriend, before she'll find out if the fortuneteller's prediction holds. Marian Keyes is able to blend in this darker side of her story with comic elements so effortlessly, adding a touch of black comedy in the process, that it all fits together in seamless fashion.

Keyes's ear for dialogue is marvelous. She describes Lucy's world, and the people who live there, to a T, from her parents to her friends to the vile little man who's her boss. I did not want to put the book down, even after I'd finished it; I found myself hunting out favorite passages to read them again. When - not if, mind you, but when - you get your hands on a copy of Lucy Sullivan's Getting Married, you may end up doing the same.

-- Nora Armstrong

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