Cover Image: Marrying the Ketchups

Marrying the Ketchups

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Member Reviews

I enjoyed the writing style of this author, but unfortunately am giving up due to the political content taking over the story. I am no fan of trump, but it's because he's full of hate.. and the characters are acting just as much if not more hateful to anyone who has different political opinions than them and I find the polarizing extreme political ideas on either side to be exhausting and divisive with no intention of moving forward. The throwing a couple out of a Christmas party because they didn't think a "Fu*k Trump" ornament was appropriate for their tree was the last straw. I was hoping it was just at the beginning due to the election but after the 20% point, it shouldn't still be the main storyline and if it is, it should be listed in the genres so the reader has a choice to pass if they aren't interested. Thanks for the opportunity to review.
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This was such a witty, feel-good multigenerational family story set in Chicago. I loved the third person narration as we get to know a full cast of the Sullivans - a restaurant family dealing with secrets, infidelity, divorce, death and just a gamut of relatable life moments. Perfect for fans of The most fun we ever had by Claire Lombardo. Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance review copy!
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Highly recommend!! My first book to read by this author but definitely not my last!! Uniquely and beautifully written, this story and its characters stay with you long after you finish the book.
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Thank you to NetGalley for my ARC in exchange for an honest review!

It was fascinating to read a story set in the political climate of 2016 and 2017. It both feels like it was so long ago and was just yesterday, all at the same time. As a Midwesterner, I loved all of the Chicago references and the big city/small neighborhood juxtaposition. I enjoyed seeing every character’s perspective on the Cubs’ World Series win and how each one unfolded at the exact right moment for the story. 

I thought the ending was wonderful, but it certainly wasn’t a guarantee. I found two of the three main characters intensely unlikable for a majority of the book. There is some growth for both of them at the end, but it’s rushed and not necessarily earned from our point of view. 

I loved the family dynamics and wish more time had been spent on all of their relationships rather than on watching two of the cousins make the same painful mistakes over and over again. Outside of these MCs, it’s a quick read and a fun look into the restaurant world!
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Marrying the ketchups starts out with that special Chicago magic you only get when watching the cubs, in Chicago.

“Where were the adults? Why wasn’t anyone doing anything” in response to trump getting the election. 

I’ve the same way as many of the characters do in this book and what was very refreshing!
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A family drama set in the hospitality industry? Count me in. This book occurs at the perfect time and place for high highs and low lows: Fall 2016, Chicago. The Cubs win the world series, and a few days later, Trump wins the presidency. At times the political commentary was a bit overdone, but overall I liked this book, especially the family dynamics.
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This story of family and all its complexity will surely be one of my favorite books of the year. It was like a giant hug, one that I needed at the exact time I was reading. I was so sad to leave the Sullivans, their restaurant, and the neighborhood of Oak Park. For fans of family stories, like The Most Fun We Ever Had and Commonwealth.
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Absolutely loved this book about the Sullivans in Chicago. Will be recommending this to those that love reading about the messy life of extended families.
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I adored this book!  The story mainly takes place in a family restaurant and the characters come so alive.  A wonderful novel to get lost in.
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Thank you #Netgalley for this copy!

I read about this new book in a magazine and was so happy to be granted access as the description seemed to be interesting following a family from Chicago.  The book did not disappoint,  If you couldn't tell from the title, the story revolves around a family restaurant and how each member of the family is linked to it.  The Sullivan family each has their own perception and memory of the restaurant and the family grandparents who started the spot.  I enjoyed how the story revolved around the Cubs and winning the world series throughout the read.  Though the family is complicated, they always have each others backs and put each other first.  Loved the dynamics of the cousins, parents and grandparents. I highly recommend this book!
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I loved the Chicago piece. It was heavier than I expected based on the synopsis so I think that could catch readers off guard. I enjoyed!
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3.5 stars

This is definitely a slow book, but very well written. It has some good humor, and the characters are fully developed. It’s not my favorite book but I’m glad I read it.
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Thank you to NetGalley for an early copy of Marrying the Ketchups. This is my honest review. 

I loved this family and they way their story is told. I’m also happy the author was brave enough to tell it during a time in history that will one day be flooded with books on the subject by people who have forgotten or weren’t old enough to have lived through it. As it’s said, if you ignore history it will repeat itself. I’m from the Midwest and either the author is too or she did her homework, because everything was spot on. 

I read this over two days and was sad for it to end. I felt so invested in all of the characters and kind of wish I was a Sullivan!  Five well deserved stars from me.
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Set in the not so distant past, Marrying the Ketchups is a story of a Chicago family, unofficially reunited after their beloved patriarch, Bud, dies unexpectedly. 

Bud was not only the glue that held the family together, he also was at the helm of their family restaurant, JP Sullivan’s, for years. But Sullivan’s, a long time staple of the community, has begun to show its age as well. Now the next generation is forced to take over and keep things afloat, all while trying to juggle their own issues.

This story centers around three main characters in the Sullivan family. There’s Gretchen, the family “wild child” who had dreams of making it big in music. But when her band, Donna Martin Graduates (love this, btw), ends playing more weddings then stadiums and her man child of a boyfriend strays, Gretchen realizes it’s time to move on. To where, however, is another question entirely.

Then there’s Jane, Gretchen’s always put together, successful older sister. Jane is married and living the dream in the posh suburbs with her husband and two kids. So everyone, including, Jane is shocked realize the perfect life she’s been living was actually anything but. Floundering, Jane is also at a crossroads where the path isn’t easy to find. Rounding out the three is Teddy, Gretchen and Jane’s people pleasing cousin who wants to help everyone, but doesn’t even know how to help himself.

All in varying stages of disarray, they end up starting over at the place where it all began, Sullivan’s. Sometimes you just wanna go where everybody knows your name, even if your name is attached to burgers and broken dreams.

Marrying the Ketchups was a sometimes hysterical, often poignant snapshot of the American family, and in many ways, the American dream. With frustration and fear embedded into the story, author @jenniferaclose also doesn’t shy away from politically related strife that scared many Americans, just a few short years ago. It’s also chock full of relatable memories of my own youth. I’ve always been drawn to family stories, perhaps because I don’t come from a big family myself. It’s all of this, coupled with the restaurant backdrop, that pulled me in and gave me comfort- just like only a good meal, and a good story, can.
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Superficially this book is a family drama set in and about their restaurant.  In truth the novel is about tradition, cultural and social change, and the tinder-box of 2016.  We have Bud, who built Sullivan's in the fine restaurant of it's time.  Charlie inherits Sullivan's from his father, and although he sees that business isn't as good as it once was, he doesn't want to change anything about it.  The next generation, grandchildren Teddy, Jane and Gretchen, see that without change to the restaurant it will be out of business soon.  Having been denied the opportunity to save Sullivan's, they embark on their own, bringing a little bit of Sullivan's with them (marrying the ketchups, don't 'cha know).

The reviewers who criticize the book for including political statements are missing the point.  The novel was set during that time because it was/still is a polarizing time of uncertainty.   Families, friendships and communities were harmed by the vitriol engendered by the 2016 election.  The characters in the novel are just reflecting what went on in society.  The gift of this novel is what happens next: we all survive and do well.  Through her cast of likeable, realistic characters, Close shows us that we're going to be okay.  And that's just what we need to hear.
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Jennifer Close writes a character driven family drama in Marrying the Ketchups. Family dynamics, transitions and grief all play a large role in the novel. I was interested and invested in discovering what happens with them.  And I appreciate that they find growth as they adapt along the way.

This book chronicles a family in Chicago with the Cubs winning their first world series in over a hundred years and then Trump being elected president. This is the backdrop of Marrying the Ketchups. There is death, divorce, dating and teenage drama along with the political election and racism. Close details a challenging year for this family.

This isnt a book with huge twists and turns. The pacing is slow following the standard family interactions.  I loved reading about a completely relateable family and I enjoyed the humor that runs through the Close's book.

Thank you to NetGalley, Jennifer Close and Knopf Publishing Group for a seat at the table of this quirky family.
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This just isn’t my kind of book. It’s definitely well written, but so slow. It’s all about the individual characters and nothing really happened to keep my attention. I rarely stop reading halfway through a novel, but I did with this one.
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3-4 stars. I don't think this is one that is going to have long term staying power in my memory bank, but it was an enjoyable reading experience. I think it was a solid decision to set this story in a time of high highs and low lows (the Cubs winning the world series in 2016 and the election only days later) as it mirrored the confusion all the main characters are going through in their personal lives. Complicated family stories are always welcome, and this family's dramas were interesting, and the suburban Chicago setting felt lovingly done.
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MARRYING THE KETCHUPS by Jennifer Close is a fun story about a restaurant family who live in the Chicago area. Frequent references to Oak Park and Lake Forest, plus the 2016 election add local connection and some amusement. Close begins the story in 2016 with the "unfamiliar experience of watching the Cubs in October" at Sullivan's, founded decades ago by Bud and Rose. The majority of the action centers around their adult grandchildren: Gretchen, just moved back from NYC after quitting her band; Jane, mother to Lauren and Owen and struggling to find herself as she contemplates divorce; Teddy, feeling disrespected despite his restaurant experience and unhappy with his relationship with ex-lover Walter; and Riley, Teddy's much younger half-sister who supplies some typical teenage angst. All in all, a pretty dysfunctional group and that makes for tension, but the best part is near the end when each manages to start fresh. Perhaps we will see a sequel soon? Full of realistic, relatable characters, MARRYING THE KETCHUPS received a starred review from Booklist.
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A multi-generational story of the Sullivan family who are in the restaurant business, while complicated at times, is a light hearted romp.

Set just after the 2016 Presidential election and right after the Chicago Cubs won the World Series. Bud the patriarch has just passed away leaving the family to ponder their lives and what’s next for them and the restaurant.

Gretchen returns home, from leading a 90’s cover band, and comes back to help at the restaurant. Jane, her older sister, is deciding if divorce is her next step, after her husband voted for the wrong person, and is possibly having an affair. Lastly, there is Teddy who manages the restaurant and is pining away for his ex-boyfriend Walter.

This really is just a fun family read. I did not walk away with anything grand, but just enjoyed the time I got to spend with this family, where love is in abundance, but everyone has their own quirks.

Thank you NetGalley and Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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