by Marian Keyes Avon, 1999 Review by Prem Dana Takada, B.B.Sc. (Hons) M.A. on Jan 27th 2003
Another bitingly humorous novel
from the best selling author of Lucy Sullivan Gets Married, Last
Chance tracks just that, the last chances of the central characters. A two-tiered
storyline the first focused on the lives of three childhood friends, the
tortured Tara, the fabulous Fintan and Kat-like Katherine. The main heroine,
Tara, as in Keyes other novels, finds herself in an extremely bad relationship
with her take-her for-granted, unreliable, insulting,
no-goodbut-she-thinks-is-very-charming man. Without giving the plot away,
again the reader is given a karthartic experience in the original Greek tragedy
sense of the word i.e. to watch on stage the tragedy and storyline unfolding.
We see the heroine struggle with her delusions, her incredibly low self-esteem
and her very wishful thinking and her diet, before it all crumbles with the
assistance of a dying request from one of the other characters. It is the death
before the inevitable rebirth.
The other female lead,
Katherine, on the other hand, is asked to finally get over an aching past hurt
and get into some serious love action. I can see why my female clientele
raucously enjoy Keyess novels. In this one, with the addition of flamboyant
Fintan, the historical aspects to the novel and the complementary side-show
story of Lorcan-the-laconic-ladykiller, the tales are entwined into a seamless
satire. Well, I hope that satire is at lest part of Keyes intentions though the
lines probably ring too true to be put into that category.
Keyes once again delivers a
highly entertaining novel. She portrays office scenes like nobody in the
business and captures the partying, dieting and love seeking of young
thirtysomethings in London with realistic detail. And it has great recipes go
to the supermarket, buy the open it, put it in the microwave, which shows
that honesty in itself can be a deshaming and liberating experience.
Keyes novels are therapeutic on a variety of
fronts. Women can relate to the pain of dysfunctional family backgrounds often
involving alcohol abuse, and to the humiliation of staying and participating in
dysfunctional relationships but they also get to laugh at their dilemmas and
get to feel that they are not alone in the struggle for love and dignity. In a
way I guess we are all in the Last Chance Saloon and the minute we realize
it, it makes everything more precious. And Taras search for the Holy Grail,
or in this case indelible lipstick, is realized. Also recommended for males
with an interest in women driven by guilt.
Prem Dana Takada, B.B.Sc.
(Hons) M.A. Clinical Psychologyoriginally trained as a Clinical Psychologist in Melbourne,
Australia where she also acquired registration as a Family Therapist. After
leaving Australia, Prem Dana worked as a Principal Clinical Psychologist in
West London where she continued to work with individuals, couples, families,
and as a group therapist and received further training in Hypnotherapy in
Oxford. She has traveled widely having also lived and worked in India, and has
been in Japan for the last seven years where she currently runs the
Psychotherapy and Healing Practice and is President of International Mental Health Professionals Japan--a
professional organization established for international therapists.