Marrying the Ketchups Review


“The thing about adult children is that they reach a point when they stop listening to their parents. They believe that they know best. They believe that they are the adults now and start to view their elderly parents as slightly ridiculous and maybe even a touch dangerous.” — Jennifer Close, Marrying the Ketchups.

I’m really kicking myself for reading this book. When a publisher entrusts me with a review copy of a new release, though, I feel obligated to hang in there until the very last punctuation mark.

Marrying the Ketchups is about a close-knit, albeit dysfunctional, Catholic family in Chicago. Within weeks, the beleaguered Chicago Cubs win the World Series, Donald Trump is victorious in his bid to become president, and the Sullivan patriarch, Bud, dies unexpectedly. Suddenly, their lives are inexorably changed. JP Sullivan’s, Bud’s Oak Park, Illinois restaurant, was his legacy and their anchor. Now the family doesn’t know what to do.

I’m seeing reviewers compare Marrying the Ketchups to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Malibu Rising, which is absurd. It doesn’t even come close to Reid’s novel. Now, it would be unfair for me to say there is nothing good about Close’s book. It’s nostalgic and although the family is a mess, the familial glue holds together when Bud dies. Gretchen’s storyline is well done, and she is likeable. Then there’s the title… it is ingenious! I’ve mentioned this in reviews before, but I consider myself a foodie. The descriptions of food being prepared made me salivate. “The whole restaurant smelled of coriander and cloves and oranges as Armando made his signature orange whiskey glaze for the top of the corned beef.” Yum! I’m going to try making that glaze on St. Patrick’s Day! I also found some of the author’s wisdom to be spot-on, as per the quote at the top of this review.

The downside, however, is that the author spews a liberal agenda from beginning to end and the myriad political references are as annoying as a flock of jaybirds. The anger, man-hating, and over-the-top feminism ticked me off. (I’m all about equality of the sexes, btw). I also don’t care to read about committed couples cheating on each other. In one case, it is a gay affair between two men, the other a married man cheating on his wife.  2.5 stars. I’d like my valuable time back.

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