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Rachels Holiday

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					                  Reading Guide
                            Rachel's Holiday
                             Marian Keyes
Introduction
The fast lane is much too slow for twenty-seven year-old Rachel Walsh, who is
always the last one still standing whenever there's a party. And New York City
is the perfect place for a young female to over-do…everything ! But her love of
a good time is about to land her in the emergency room and alienate her best
friend and her boyfriend.
So the Walsh clan has come to hustle their daughter home to check her into
the local version of the Betty Ford Clinic. And just when another million hours
of group therapy are about to drive her crazy, Rachel meets a new man and
resolves to ride this wild dream to love -or wherever else her heart may lead
her.


About the Author
Marian Keyes was born in the west of Ireland in 1963. She was brought up in
Dublin and moved to London in her twenties, where her life long self-esteem
problems mutated into a drinking problem. After a stint in rehab Marion
commenced writing and has her first novel "Watermelon" the first in the Walsh
family sagas published in 1995.   Marian's writing, generally described as
"Chick Lit" has been published in 35 different countries and translated into
such diverse languages as Japanese and Hebrew. She has written four
subsequent novels "Lucy Sullivan is getting married", "Rachel's Holiday",
"Sushi for beginners", "Last Chance Saloon" and "Angels".




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Topics to Consider
1. Rachel's view that going into rehab will be a glamorous vacation, with a
   chance to meet celebrities. Is this attitude systematic in her denial of her
   problem, is this image a common one in our times Does the media
   perpetuate this idea?

2. Do we assume that such rehab centres are a quick fix with minimal personal
   effort needed to achieve drug free existence etc?

3. "I managed to contain my fury by fantasising about splitting his skull with
   an axe"pg 377. I've been there for 3 weeks, I'm cured. Is this indicative of
   Rachel's inability to accept her addiction? Or that it may take more effort
   on her behalf.

4. Marian Keyes uses humour to tell Rachel's story, does she explain the
   helplessness of an addict and the trials of cleaning up with humour without
   trivialising the problem.

5. How much does Rachel's family contribute to her current problems? Or
   should Rachel's shoulder all the responsibility of her current predicament?
   Do we place to much emphasis on childhood and negate the role an adult
   has in their own destiny?

6. Is the pursuit of Chris another sign of Rachel's life spinning off the rails? Is
   "a man with a past", someone with an addictive personality like herself
   more attractive to Rachel because she finds it easier to suspend control of
   her life, than to make decisions herself.




Review of Rachel's Holiday by Susan Scribe
In the film Private Benjamin, Goldie Hawn naively believes the upbeat Army
recruiting posters and thinks she has found an easy out of her widowhood. In
reality, she is confronted with early wake-up calls, harsh discipline and
punishing physical exercises, causing her to wail, "There's been a mistake --
I'm in the wrong army!"
The heroine of this novel, Rachel Walsh, finds herself in a similar situation
albeit in a different setting. Rachel is a 27-year-old drug addict. Okay, she's
not REALLY a drug addict. As she says,
They said I was a drug addict. I found that hard to come to terms with -- I was
a middle class, convent-educated girl whose drug use was strictly recreational.
And surely drug addicts were thinner?.I wasn't thin. Instead, I was doomed for


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people always to describe me by saying, "She's a big girl." Then they always
added really quickly, "Now, I'm not saying she's fat." The implication being
that if I was fat, I could at least do something about it.
True drug addict or not, Rachel finds herself headed for The Cloisters, an Irish
inpatient drug rehabilitation program, after she accidentally overdoses on
drugs in the New York City apartment that she shares with her best friend.
Rachel insists she doesn't have a serious drug problem, but she agrees to The
Cloisters because she's heard that plenty of Irish celebrities go there to "dry
out." She figures it will be an easy way to get a free holiday, complete with
massages, spas and health food. And at least her family -- her clueless
parents, two older and two younger sisters -- will get off her back.
To Rachel's surprise, The Cloisters turns out to be a run-down facility with a
noticeable lack of luxuries and celebrities. Instead, she has to deal with early
morning kitchen duty, cooking class, and a confrontational drug rehab
counselor who has little tolerance for the addicts' denial. Like Goldie Hawn,
Rachel must be in the wrong rehab center!
The ultimate horror of The Cloisters is when ISOs -- Involved Significant
Others such as parents or spouses -- come to group meetings to confront their
loved ones about the details of their addiction. Rachel is in luck there. She's
been living in New York for years, so her parents will have few horrible details
to impart. And surely Luke, her ex-boyfriend, won't bother to fly across the
Atlantic just to rat on her, will he? Who needs him, anyway -- just because he
was kind, sexy and funny. He was totally uncool and quite dreadful at the end,
breaking up with Rachel just because she liked to have a little fun sometimes.
There are plenty of other guys to tumble into bed with -- in fact, there's fellow
Cloisters resident Chris, who is handsome and attentive.
Marian Keyes mixes in her trademark wisecracking humor with a dose of
seriousness as she painstakingly details Rachel's two month stay at The
Cloisters, during which she wages a war of denial that ultimately is doomed to
fail. She intersperses Rachel's recovery with reminisces about her relationship
with Luke, from its inauspicious beginnings when Rachel made fun of Luke for
his total lack of cool, to its abrupt ending. When Rachel finally admits her



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addiction, she still has to find a way to survive in the real world without drugs,
an unthinkable concept just a few months ago.
Rachel's Holiday is funny, insightful and powerful. Readers may not be able to
believe that one woman could be so thickheaded when it comes to her
addiction, but they will end up rooting for Rachel to make it nonetheless
because of her inner sweetness and insecurity that lies underneath the chic
facade. The reasons behind Rachel's addiction are realistically portrayed
without any easy excuses.
Unlike Keyes' previous novels, Watermelon and Lucy Sullivan Is Getting
Married, Rachel doesn't start out with the wrong man and end up with the right
one. She has the right one all along but has to learn to appreciate him and
realize that her excuses for not admitting her true feelings for him were
shallow and insignificant. Although I must admit, I might have had a hard time
dealing with Luke's leather pants and the Led Zeppelin on the answering
machine too.




If you enjoyed this book…
Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
Femme Fatale - Wendy Holden
Getting over it - Anna Maxted
Nip 'n' Tuck - Kathy Lette
Stupid Cupid by Arabella Weir
What she wants - Cathy Kelly




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