Cover Image: Marrying the Ketchups

Marrying the Ketchups

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

This story is about a family who scattered as the children have grown, but everyone ended up back home in Chicago, to their landing place and safe spot: the Sullivan restaurant. The restaurant has supported the family for many years, but the weird week when Trump was elected and the Cubs won the World Series upended everything. The moment this happened and the earth either stood still or rotated counter-clockwise for a moment seemed to have upended the lives of the Sullivan grandchildren as well. Teddy, Jane and Gretchen are all facing turning points in their lives: Teddy was dumped by a love who keeps showing up after his engagement to another person has been announced, Jane discovered her husband is a deceitful, pitiful jerk, and it is time for Gretchen to finally learn to grow up.

I loved this book because it felt like I was being dropped in the center of the Sullivan family world for a bit. It was an unusual book experience for me - big things happened to the kids, but Close didn't necessarily focus on the events themselves - these were always addressed in a matter-of-fact way - but on the "dealing with the situation" part. Somehow this part became the dramatic part of the storylines, and the reader was taken on a journey of how these siblings moved past the life-altering events and the feelings and emotions wrapped up in processing an event and figuring out how to move forward.

Different type of storytelling, but I really loved it! I also loved how Close didn't necessarily have an epilogue, but through the same, controlled storytelling style, you knew what happened to all of them after the "get-through-it" moments. Highly recommend.

Was this review helpful?

3.75 stars. Everything about this book felt designed to evoke J. Ryan Stradal's cozy Midwestern foodie novels: the shifting perspectives, the messy families, the sense of place. Part of Stradal's charm is how warm and comforting his works are; this is very much the opposite. Darker, sharper, and generally with more bite.

Was this review helpful?

Three generations of the Sullivan family, owners of a family restaurant and trying to be a part of each others in the midst of turmoil in each of their lives. There's delight in their dysfunction.

Was this review helpful?

This family drama could not be more engaging. The characters are incredibly likable even when they are frustrating. The family history and dynamics will have you making comparisons to your own family while rooting for everyone to be ok in the end.

Was this review helpful?

I did not know what to expect from this book despite having read, and enjoyed, several of Jennifer Close’s previous novels. I think the title was some how off-putting (?). Nevertheless, I loved this book. Full of humor and love. I would highly recommend and look forward to the next book by the author.

Was this review helpful?

I’m the first to love family drama. And while this book was all about that it landed flat for me. Gretchen was the most developed character to me. Teddy’s character needs more. I really liked him & that story but it wasn’t enough.

Was this review helpful?

A Chicago family runs a restaurant after the patriarch dies. The adult children are truly dysfunctional, have affairs, try to decide what should be their next career path, can’t decide where to live and finally decide they need each other. Some funny bits and political discussions along with a strong feminist character. Worth a read.

Was this review helpful?

First- what a fabulous title! Fabulous comedy satire about a Chicago restaurant. If you like to smile, read this one

Was this review helpful?

Three generation of one Chicago family running their family restaurant. A brilliant cast of characters. Laugh out loud funny and terrifically endearing. family drama.

Was this review helpful?

If you love a dysfunctional family drama this is for you. If you love a restaurant setting this is for you. If you are like me and love both this is definitely for you! This book was a too 10 book for me this year.

Was this review helpful?

Really enjoyed a story I immediately got involved in.The family the story the characters.A delight to relax and get involved in their lives.#netgalley #knopf

Was this review helpful?

QUICK TAKE: “He chopped garlic, set a pot of water to boil on the stove, and poured a healthy amount of kosher salt into it. He threw the garlic in a pan of olive oil and let it sizzle for just a minute before taking it off the heat. The smell began to relax all of them and Gretchen and Jane settled themselves at his counter and watched him cook. He poured them both large glasses of red wine and watched as their bodies physically relaxed. He could see the tightness in Jane’s jaw go away and he smiled. It was hard to feel bad about the world when the air smelled like garlic, when pasta nd cheese were being prepared, when you had a good glass of red wine.

Sautéed garlic could save the world.”

I mean…I want to EAT that paragraph. It is so visceral, evoking smells and emotions and feelings…and stomach grumbles. If books were comfort food, MARRYING THE KETCHUPS would be my go-to meal, because I could eat it all day. A multigenerational dramedy about close-knit family set against the backdrop of their Chicago-run restaurant, #MarryingTheKetchups is funny and witty and poignant and emotional, and it surprised the hell out of me. Many of you know I’m a huge fan of family dramas, so it’s not a huge surprise that I loved this book, but in the time since I finished MTK, I’ve actually recommended it to 3 other friends who similarly devoured and loved it. It’s THIS IS US meets THE BEAR (minus all that anxietyyyyy), a love letter to anyone with a big messy family or those of you who have worked in a restaurant (as a former server, I loved that the characters dreamt about the restaurant, as I still have similar anxiety-riddled dreams 14 years later where I’m back at my former restaurant forgetting orders and moving too slowly).

MARRYING THE KETCHUPS is available now. Thank you to my friends at @aaknopf for the gifted copy, this is for sure going to be one of my favorite books of the year.

Was this review helpful?

I am a huge Jennifer Close fan, so I requested this one last year and just got it over the weekend—but we are still actively selling copies in the store, so I wanted to read it and be able to do a shelf talker! I enjoyed this funny and complicated family story. I know some reviewers have commented on the politics overshadowing the story, but I didn’t feel that way at all. I thought the novel was solid, and the setting was so well described. I didn’t particularly relate to the characters, but I did enjoy the book overall and will look forward to her next one.

Was this review helpful?

“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.

Was this review helpful?

Good characters in a too-closely knit family drive this story of three central characters' finding themselves and accepting their weaknesses as well as strengths. Light, fun read.

Was this review helpful?

This was an entertaining read about the dynamics in a messy multigenerational family. The book revolves around a family owned restaurant in the suburbs of Chicago. I really enjoyed reading about Bud and his family.

Was this review helpful?

Read 50 pages - just couldn’t get into this story. I love family messy drama but this just didn’t click for me .

Was this review helpful?

This was a fun romp that I really enjoyed. Full of great characters and well paced and edited. AND FUN. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley!

Was this review helpful?

I love family dramas so I was instantly drawn to this one. I enjoyed digging into the characters' lives that make up this restaurant family. I did feel that the author inserted her liberal/democrat viewpoint in a way that felt very forced and over-the-top at times.

Was this review helpful?

Overall I enjoyed this book. The family drama with shifting viewpoints kept me interested and invested in the storyline. It was just enough relatable that pretty sure it reminds a reader of a family member or two. The author is a good storyteller who is able to weave generations of relatives and relationships into one story through the view points of the cousins and their relationships and the restaurant. .

One negative of the book is the overwhelming political distaste of the 2016 election. We get it, the author is dissatisfied as are so many, but we don’t need to hear it over and over again at random points throughout the book:…. Made it feel disjointed.

Thanks to Net Galley for the advanced copy..

Was this review helpful?