A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby
|A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Morris|
|Summary: Brilliant fun, this is a family holiday we can all relate to and super easy to read to boot.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 400||Date: June 2014|
|Publisher: Hodder Paperbacks|
Chelsea can think of few things worse than a family holiday. Except maybe a family holiday to a cheap hotel in Lanza-grotty. Or a family holiday where she’ll be constantly ridiculed for her ‘posh London ways’ and her inability to manage the most obvious things in life like holding down a boyfriend or starting a family of her own. It’s going to be a long week.
This is a brilliant book which in theory is both Chelsea's and Ronnie’s stories, but in reality casts the former as the leading lady. She is the one you identify with, the one you feel sorry for, the one you want to give a hug to. Or buy a drink for. Sometimes when you say everything that can go wrong, does go wrong there’s a sense things are a bit overly dramatic, made to bump the story up a few notches, but that’s far from the case here, and though it’s a comedy of errors, the events flow in an obvious fashion without feeling OTT. After all, this is a package holiday. You have to expect that there will be flight drama, delays, kids club nightmares, dodgy stomachs, holiday romances and teenagers acting out. The Benson family are far from unique and though I’m not sure I’d choose to go on holiday with them, I invariably have been on holiday next to people just like them over the years.
This is definitely one of the better books I’ve read this year. It’s brilliantly funny, perfectly combining slapstick comedy with more subtle humour. Chelsea and Jack‘s developing relationship is lovely to watch, as they go from keeping their distance to being inseparable by the end. With four generations of the family on holiday it wasn’t always easy to keep track of who was who, especially in the flashbacks, but it was only the supporting players (generally the men, with the exception of Bill) who got really muddled.
This book is set over a week and this works beautifully as each day can have its own theme or activity without going on too long. The backdrop of the kids club helped with the timetable, too. The story would have been fine as it was, but I did like the flashbacks to the girls’ and their parents’ younger days as they filled in the backstory that really helped flesh out the week and why events conspired in the way they did. Jacqui’s secret seemed to be going nowhere, but it set the ending up beautifully and when I learned that a sequel was coming out this autumn, I squealed a little inside because it sounds ace.
The Bensons are a salt of the Earth family who may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they grew on me quite quickly as I enjoyed both their misfortune and their triumphs. I flew through this book. It’s so easy to read, and the dialogue is great for moving the story on. I enjoyed the island setting as it was a bit more foreign than Butlins, but you didn’t get infuriated by everyone speaking English.
Thanks go to the publishers for sending us this copy. I loved every minute.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Proper Family Holiday by Chrissie Manby at Amazon.com.
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