In Bed with a Book

mariankeyes2

This current metro weather, you guys: I am head-over-heels in love with it. I don’t really know how to begin describing it, but let’s just say this is probably the closest this country can ever have to winter. I’m not really keen on the chilly cold air, but there’s just something so laidback and lovely about how the clouds hover around the sky these days like they’re threatening heavy rainfall at any moment but then nothing remotely close to a drizzle really happens. Gloomy and melodramatic, sure, but ah, it makes one go all nostalgic in the head. Trips down the memory lane ain’t particularly a cheery task all the time, but ah, this weather just hits my sweet spot perfectly: it’s the best time to hole up in my room, snuggle under a bundle of warm sheets and stay up all day reading a book in bed—aka one of my top bookish fantasies!

What made me even giddier was the fact that Marian Keyes‘The Brightest Star in the Sky’ is actually my book for this week and holy cheesecakes, ain’t that just glorious? I’ve only read one other novel by Keyes and that’s the ‘Other Side of the Story’ which I’ve read when I was still sixteen and a college freshman. I liked it enough for chick-lit, but I’m curious as to how Keyes will captivate me now that I’m much older. Alas, I jumped on the chance to buy this book during the first half of last year. 1.) I really liked Keyes. 2.) That book cover is just gaw-juzzz and aaah irresistible. But then I found myself ignoring it and putting it off for later that the book just ended further and further buried on my TBR pile because 1.) I’m afraid I’m setting my expectations higher than I should because I really liked Keyes’ first novel. 2.) The book is a hefty paperback at 600+ pages and I just really never had ample downtime to engage with a book of that length in the past couple of months.

Well, sometimes we worry too much for nothing. Half-way through the book it had me so engaged with the story that I found myself wondering why I even delayed reading this book for so long in the first place. Fifty pages away from the ending, I was leafing through the story like mad, holding my breath for how the story will wrap up. And then bam! It ended—in a beautiful, surprising twist I didn’t see coming. Needless to say, I hugged the book and thanked it for such a satisfying reading experience. You do know how it feels right after eating a full course meal, right? It’s that good. It’s probably weird to say this about a book but I feel nourished from head to toe, like my stress just magically disappeared in the air and I was left with nothing but a rejuvenated spirit, restored faith in humanity and a silly grin stuck all over my face the whole day.

It’s hard to pick a protagonist since we have eight characters at the core of the story. Initially, this fact also scared me a bit since having a multitude of characters is usually risky business. In Keyes’ hands however, we are generously provided in-depth background of each character’s life, without any of them hogging the spotlight from the rest. It’s written with such exquisite detail without upsetting the balance of the character exposition nor compromising the substance of the story. The themes discussed in this book are no joke, too. I loved that the author was unafraid to go into darker territory even if we started all sunshiney and the usual cheesiness chick-lit stuff are made of. It says so much about the inner struggles of the everyman on a day-to-day basis, and boy, was I compelled! Whenever they’re happy, I feel as if their triumph is also mine. And when they hurt, ah, it hurts so good! I was so emotionally invested with each of the characters and was repeatedly at my wit’s end whenever their pairings got so entangled and criss-cross. Goodness, I was shipping couples without me even knowing it. And the dialogue, man. It’s zippy with humor and full of heart. It’s pretty much like eavesdropping neighbors’ conversations through the wall, only in high definition. There were moments in this book when I literally grumble ‘No, these two cannot end up together!’ or grumble ‘Ah, just kiss already!’ or cry out ‘Ohmigodsothatswhatthatsfor!’ all in one breath.

How could I ever forget that one of Keyes’ signature strengths is her knack for genius crafting of plot? How could I not remember that it’s exactly what had me smitten on her first book? Marian Keyes, how can I even doubt for a second that you will let me down?

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