Keyes has also been upfront about her own difficulties with depression and addiction, plus actively identifies as a feminist, campaigning with organisations like the Irish equivalent of Women's Refuge to list but one example. Her characters are often strong and independent, both women and men, and the manner in which she deals with issues like sex without love or marriage resonates with my own ideas of a feminist approach to life.
But her latest book has left me with one big niggle; is Marian Keyes pro-choice or not?
(Don't click through unless you want to read several huge spoilers)
HERE BE SPOILERS
Basically my problem is this. The mysterious narrator(s) of The Brightest Star in the Sky are supposed to be souls choosing who their parents will be. Which, if it were true, would rather give the anti-abortionists some pretty Big Material on which to base their restrictive approach to reproductive rights.
Of course the concept itself fails mightily. Why would no soul have chosen Fionn's foster parents, while choosing Katie's awful progenitors? Nevermind outside of the frame of the story, where children are born to abusive parents who have already beaten or even killed earlier children. Why would a supposedly highly intelligent and powerful soul make that choice? It seems to me a ludicrous idea full stop.
But to get back to Marian. The thing is that Keyes is supposedly publicly pro-choice. If you click on this link and scroll right down to the bottom you'll see this quote:
...Marian Keyes is an Irish (and somewhat of a) chick lit author who doesn't write strictly about reproductive rights issues, but she certainly addresses them. In her book Angels, the main character has an abortion, in which she discusses what it meant to have an abortion in a nation where the procedure was illegal. She is also publicly pro-choice and serves as a role model for other Irish women.Many thanks to a good friend for finding this for me.
If you've read TBSitS I'd appreciate your thoughts - did you find this plot device niggled too? Does it undermine Keye's past commitment to a woman's right to choose?