A doorstopper-sized third novel from Keyes (Watermelon, 1998; Lucy Sullivan is Getting Married, 1999) exhibits her signature wit but is sometimes slowed by exposition.
From the family introduced in Keyes's first outing, we're introduced to Rachel as she's coming out of a New York hospital after a drug overdose, an episode she's just chalking up to another night of partying. And when her sister flies to New York to escort her home to Ireland to enter into a treatment center, she can't fathom what all the fuss is about. But thanks to Dad, who has virtually had her fired from her job, her boyfriend Luke, who breaks up with her, and childhood friend Brigit, who is kicking her out of their apartment, Rachel "decides" a holiday back home might be nice. And it's not just any treatment center, but the Cloisters, Ireland's own Betty Ford Clinic, filled with celebrities and offering what Rachel assumes will be a two-month vacation. How wrong she is. With not a rock star in sight, Rachel soon discovers that the Cloisters is a no-nonsense place, a little dingy and filled with middle-aged alcoholics (how depressing), druggies (how nasty), and an assortment of other addicts who are nothing like Rachel, just a fun-loving gal. Denial is the operative word, and Rachel soon discovers that it's everybody's modus operandi: to listen to the inmates, no one has a problem. Still, thanks to all-day therapy sessions and a Gestapo-like nun for a counselor, Rachel concedes that perhaps she overdid it on occasion, and when ex-boyfriend Luke comes to testify that her 24-hour drug use ruined their relationship, Rachel breaks down and begins to heal. Though she offers a lively cast, Keyes too often lets her pace slow when explaining the journey to acceptance and recovery, a damper on the story's humor and appeal.
Occasionally long-winded but, nonetheless, a comic glimpse into the life of addiction.