Cover Image: Marrying the Ketchups

Marrying the Ketchups

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Member Reviews

Family members trying to navigate their personal and family relationships and careers in relatable ways keep the reader invested in this cozy story.

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This book moved a little more slowly than most I typically read, but it felt right for the situation. Life moves slowly, often. The family dynamics were beautifully drawn in the story - a lot of it sounded like a big, loud family I happen to know! The inside view of restaurant life was also interesting.

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I requested this book based on the description, and “three generations” caught my eye. I love books that follow generations of families, and this one did not disappoint at all.

Bud Sullivan started the family restaurant, J.P. Sullivans, in Oak Park in Chicago. His children and grandchildren have worked in the restaurant in one way or another. The book takes us through the death of the family patriarch, the election of Trump as president, the Cubs winning the World series, as well as personal trials and tribulations. It is precisely the type of book that I like. The characters were real and easily relatable. There were some beautiful descriptions of food which added a layer of interest to the book for me.

The story flowed quickly, and I wish it could have gone on more. It is one of those books where I will wonder what the characters are doing five years from now.

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I had difficulty getting into the book. Story and style not interesting to me. Kind of thought too light and cutie.

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As Jennifer Close reminds us, family is complicated. And so are my emotions about this book. On the one hand, the writing is lovely, and this book is clearly an exemplar character study. On the other hand, all the characters are miserable, unhappy people, and not much happens in the book.

I felt exhausted by the book because of the people in it. Every character is just so passive in their life and is always complaining about something — or someone — or other, and it’s hard to tell if any of them actually like each other. Trust me, I totally get that family often drives you a special kind of insane, but family is also a source of so much love and happiness. And that latter part felt missing. Instead, we just get too many pages of people doing stupid things, justifying them, and then continuing the cycle. You then get caught up in the minds of these characters who are harsh and hard on themselves, and I found myself starting to get annoyed and dragged down alongside them. The book is ostensibly about a family running a restaurant, but the fact that it follows just three of the family members (the family tree at the start has 13 names) made me feel like there was a missing thread that would tie the whole family together.

The book is set in 2016 after the Cubs have won the World Series and after Trump’s election, and, while I loved the addition of the Cubs‘ win to the storyline, the Trump part felt forced. It came across like Close thought she had to put the election in there given the timeline, not that she wanted to. The reactions to the election didn’t really add much to the story other than to point out the whiteness of the characters and their actions. Maybe it just felt like there weren’t really any stakes for them with the election? One character even remarks on that, saying, “It’s not as bad as you think. Nothing is really going to change for us.” Yes, there’s mention of what this (horrid) election means and what the characters are going to do to protest it, but it’s mostly a sentence every once in a while, and the emotions never really feel explored. All the talk of Trump felt surface-level and shoehorned-in and very, very white.

I do feel like Close really understands her characters, and she did a wonderful job of differentiating them and of describing them in a well-rounded fashion. I didn’t like them much, but I definitely saw where they were coming from and why they were acting the way they were (even if they annoyed the pants off me). The writing in this book was also wonderfully done. Close has an easygoing and approachable writing style, which makes this a read you can slip right into. The writing never weighs you down, and there are some parts that are delightful.

Not all books are for everyone, and I’m bummed this one wasn’t for me. I love the title and the cover and was so excited by the description, but the characters just couldn’t redeem themselves for me. If you’re someone who really enjoys in-depth studies of flawed characters and nice writing, this book will be right up your alley. This book will, for better or worse, definitely make you feel like you’re part of the Sullivan clan — annoyances and grievances included.

Special thanks to NetGalley, Knopf Doubleday, and Jennifer Close for proving me with an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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A multi-generational tale about the Sullivan clan that owns a restaurant in Chicago. Primarily centered around 3 cousins and their lives, relationships, jobs and family struggles. At times laugh out loud funny but also heartfelt and poignant.

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Set in 2016 Chicago - that was the year the Cubbies won the World Series and Trump was elected president. It was also the year Bud Sullivan, the patriarch of Sullivan's Restaurant, died. He was the glue that held the family together. The family is in turmoil, and no one is sure the restaurant will survive. They can't imagine life without the restaurant but they do not know how to go forward. Three stories of three generations of family are told, and how the stories and families come together is what moves the story forward.

The characters never really came to life for me. For every book there is a reader and I was not the reader for this particular book.

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Marrying the Ketchups, while an interesting title and one I' 'll always remember after this novel, was an interesting book about family lives and their successes and failures. Working together as a family has many trials and ttribulations but also rewards as Jennifer Close emphasizes in her novel. However, the book lacked the sparkI wanted to make it the highlight of my reading this week.

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I got my copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

This book centers around the Sullivans, who recently lost the patriarch of the family. They start to realize that he was the glue that really held this family together.

I found it really hard to get into this book. I've read and enjoyed family dramas before but this one didn't have the chemistry that others really did. It also felt like there just wasn't a strong plot running through each character's viewpoint to tie them together.

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This book was fantastic!!! I honestly felt like I was reading about my family. Full of love, laughter and family dynamics it’s a must read.

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What a weird title but I love this book! Once you read it you understand the choice. This has everything I love - big family with lots of drama but in the end, they all put love/family first. Such great friendships and characters. Wish this was real life but unfortunately not in my world. Refreshing!

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I thoroughly enjoy family dramas, and this was no different. I especially related to Gretchen. Also, I just really hate Walter as a character.

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I really liked these characters. I kept wanting to yell at them though to get their acts together to make their lives better. Gretchen especially! I loved how close knit this family was and how they want to do what it takes to keep the family restaurant running.
Slow at times, but has dynamic in depth characters.

Thanks NetGalley for this ARC!

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I love this author and I loved this book. The Sullivans have owned a family restaurant in Chicago for decades. After the death of the patriarch, three cousins come together at Sullivan's to help out and try to find themselves. I

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Marrying the Ketchups tells the story of the multi-generational Sullivan family and their restaurant. This was an enjoyable read and drew you into the family's lives and story.

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I believe Ms. Close is a good writer, but I just didn’t care for this book. Not much happens and I just wanted it to be done.

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This book deserves 5 stars for the witty title alone! I'm a big fan of the author's so I loved her take on the restaurant industry and family ties.

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I have read all of the books previously written by Jennifer Close and I was excited to read this book too. Initially I found the plot and characters interesting and then the story became a little too slow for my preference.

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This is the story of the Sullivan family who own a restaurant in Chicago. It focuses mostly on Gretchen, Jane and Teddy and covers a wide variety of life issues such as divorce, grief and regret in a humorous way. This would be good for book clubs and fans of the Cubs.

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Interesting, fun read. Nothing overly exciting happens, but this was like slipping into a well-worn, comfy sweater kind of book. I liked the characters but the story moved very slowly for me.

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