Having never read Marian Keyes, I didn’t know what to expect with Under the Duvet: Shoes, Reviews, Having the Blues, Builders, Babies, Families and Other Calamities. What I discovered was a wonderful collection of essays and stories by an Irish woman writer with a gift of humor, wisdom, and insight.
Keyes, author of such bestsellers as Sushi for Beginners and Angels offers us a glimpse into her crazy and chaotic world as if she is reporting from “under the covers.” These bulletins on her life run the gamut from the hilarious to the touching, to the downright moving, especially when she is getting personal about her battle with alcohol. Other essays cover her obsession with shoes, going to holiday parties, dealing with the wild and wacky life of a writer, living in Ireland, being a Catholic (sort of!), getting her first home, first passport, first car, and first driving lessons (watch out for that gatepost!). Whether she is making us laugh, making us think, or making us shake our heads in wonder, her observations are dead-on, even when laced with humor and sarcasm, and her sharp Irish style leaps off the page with a warmth and wit that is irresistible.
Her choice of chapter titles will tickle your funny bone. I especially liked “Does My Base Chakra Look Big In This?” and “Catholicism: Cheaper Than Prozac, but is it Good for You?” This is a woman, and a writer, who is not afraid to face life in all its light and darkness, and find a good laugh or life lesson along the way.
Under the Duvet is a collection of both previously published and unpublished works that span Keyes' career as a magazine writer, journalist and fiction writer. Her voice is unique, but her understanding of human nature in all its silliness, simpleness and profundity makes her just like us. Whether she is expounding on the evils of losing a boot heel or musing on the male obsession with football, Marian Keyes knows how to charm her readers. She has a huge following of fans, and she can now add one more to that long and growing list. Me.