Thursday 14 December 2017

Review: Popular Fiction: Me and My Sisters by Sinead Moriarty

Penguin Ireland, €14.99

She topped the best-seller list with her debut novel, and swiftly followed it up with five other bestsellers. So expectations, including mine, have been high for Sinead Moriarty's seventh tale, Me and My Sisters.

Although the Dublin-based Moriarty is one of our more successful chick-lit authors, I'd never read any of her novels.

I wasn't indulging in the all-too common snobbery surrounding chick lit. I've read more than my fair share of books encased in pink and bland covers, and enjoyed quite a few of them. But this genre is formulaic, and writers who've got it sussed can sometimes be a bit too prolific for their own good.

So when I discovered that Moriarty has been compared to Marian Keyes, who certainly knows how to plot a page-turner, I was intrigued.

Like Marian, Sinead isn't afraid of the difficult issues. Her choice of subjects, including anorexia (Pieces of My Heart) and infertility (The Baby Trail), has clearly struck a chord with many Irish women.

In Me and My Sisters, she takes three women who have very different ideas when it comes to work and motherhood. Julie is a frazzled stay-at-home mother who is desperately trying to juggle triplets, a toddler and an increasingly distracted husband. Louise, a London high-flier, has happily put her law career before family and romance. But one drunken mistake threatens to derail her self-sufficiency. Former model Sophie loves her designer lifestyle, rich husband and sweet little girl. She knows her sisters consider her spoiled and shallow. Still Sophie doesn't care -- not really. When her life is turned upside down, she's determined to hide her troubles from everyone, including her family.

Me and My Sisters is an engaging tale, and I suspect that Moriarty's legions of fans won't be disappointed with her latest offering.

Her characters are well drawn, their dilemmas are all too realistic and while some of their conversations are flat, their personalities certainly fizzle. Although it didn't keep me up at night, Me and My Sisters is an enjoyable distraction.

As for that comparison with Ms Keyes? Well, Marian's position as the contemporary queen of Irish writing remains unchallenged. Her ability to weave a thread of darkness through a frothy tale is truly unmatched. Moriarty tries but in the end can't resist giving her audience all the escapism they crave.

Rowena Walsh

Indo Review

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