The Walsh Family

The Walsh family was the first family I ever wrote about, over 20 years ago (!) for my first book Watermelon. ‘They’ say that everyone’s first book is autobiographical but the Walshes aren’t the Keyeses. Not exactly… But there are some similarities – there are five Walsh siblings and coincidentally there are five Keyeses. But the Walshes are all girls, whereas the Keyeses are made up of three girls and two boys.

I wish I could say that I did this deliberately, that when I started writing I had a massive plan of campaign for a long writing career, that I operated out of an underground bunker with massive tables, with huge character maps of all five of the Walsh girls spread out. But alas, that’s not the case.

An upright freezer full-to-bursting with Magnums

Basically, I was familiar with the dynamic of a five-child family, it was what I’d been brought up with and so it seemed like the 'right' thing to recreate for the Walshes.

None of the Walshes are based on me or any of my siblings but the dynamic of a big, noisy family full of big personalities was something I was very comfortable with, it was what I thought a family should be like, so I recreated it automatically.

Mammy Walsh has some similarities with Mammy Keyes – most particularly their fear of cooking and their pride in having an upright freezer full-to-bursting with Magnums at all times.

I’m very fond of the Walshes and it’s been lovely to revisit them as I’ve written the stories of all five of the sisters.

  • Watermelon

  • Watermelon, Marian Keyes's very first novel, tells the extremely funny and wonderfully touching tale of a woman who thought she had it all - until the day she discovers that it's all gone . . .

    'Failed relationships can be described as so much wasted makeup . . .'

    On the day she gives birth to her first child, Claire Walsh's husband James tells her he's been having an affair and now's the right time to leave her.

    Right for who exactly? Exhausted, tearful and tiny bit furious, Claire can't think what to do. So she follows the instincts of all self-respecting adults in tricky situations.

    . . . And runs home to Mum and Dad.

    But while her parents are sympathetic, Claire's younger sisters are less so. Helen wants to share the new toy (she means baby Kate). While Anna is too busy having out-of-her-head experiences.

    So when James slips back into her life, desperate to put things right, Claire doesn't know whether to take a chance on a past she'd feared she'd lost for ever or face an uncertain future on her own.

    But is she as on her own as she really believes?

    'A warm and hilarious page turner' Good Housekeeping

    'Reading a novel by Marian Keyes is like sitting at the kitchen table with your nicest, most confiding friend.' Daily Mail

    'Gloriously funny' The Sunday Times

    'Funny but poignant' Marie Claire

    'When it comes to writing page-turners that put a smile on your face and make you think, Keyes is in a class of her own' Daily Express

  • Buy the book

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