Sunday, 16 March 2008

Forgive and Forget by Patricia Scanlan

Transworld Ireland

IT CAN be a sad mistake to walk out on a marriage that seems ditchwater dull.

In Forgive and Forget, Barry has long since left dependable Connie and gone on his way, shuddering at the prospect of day after day of healthful food and weekend after weekend of dinner with the parents.

Barry - pretty dull himself, if truth be told - hooked up worshipingly with careerist Aimee, who likes to make her own mind up for herself. She doesn't stop at that, also making sheepy Barry's mind up for him.

Now Debbie, child of his first marriage, is engaged, but she doesn't really want Barry and Aimee at the wedding. And Melissa, daughter of his second marriage, is neglected and fat.

As the first wife, Connie, sorts out all his problems for him, Barry starts to wonder if he made the wrong choice, and to dream erotically about his ex.

Playing under this is a subplot about daughter Debbie and her chosen groom - flibbertigibbet Bryan, who loves to spend, spend, spend.

There's another about Judith, boss woman and mum-minding spinster, sliding gradually into bitter alcoholism.

This isn't a novel that's going to keep anyone from work - it's not a book with big themes. It's a cosy story about the preparations for a wedding and the conflicts within a fairly standard Irish family model.

But for curling up while reading dozily by a warm fire, it's just the thing.

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