Some authors are like old friends. They bring a sense of familiarity and comfort during low times. There is excitement when a new book is released that can be compared with the joy of meeting a friend. One author that makes me feel this way is Maeve Binchy. Let me tell you about a book of hers I’ve read recently.
Chestnut Street* by Maeve Binchy is based around a fictional street in Dublin where many characters go about their daily lives. The characters range in age, status and personality, from Bucket Maguire, the window cleaner, who must do more than he bargained for to protect his son to Lilian, a generous girl with the big heart and a fiancé whom no one approves of.
It’s difficult to give an overview of the plot of Chestnut Street as every chapter focuses each time on a certain point in life for a different character. I didn’t realise the book was written as such before I picked it up and I spent the first couple of chapters looking forward to learning more about the characters. When I realised that this wouldn’t happen, I worried for a bit that it wouldn’t be an enjoyable read. However, by the end, I fell in love with the concept and found Chestnut Street to be a much more tolerable/enjoyable Dubliners.
While the feeling of wanting more from the characters (some, not all) never left, I do believe that Binchy offered enough information within the realms of the chapter to get a well-rounded feeling of each person. Overall, this resulted in a very realistic portrayal of one street and the various personalities who lived there.
Yet, there was something I enjoyed more about Chestnut Street. Weaved through these many different chapters and characters were several life lessons each with the same theme: acceptance and living your own life. I didn’t notice these snippets of advice immediately, just when the book was coming to an end. Once I discovered this aspect of Chestnut Street, I loved it much more. What began as a book I was almost certain I was going to be disappointed in, resulted in a very clever, charming read which is now one of my all-time favourites from Binchy.
Are you a Maeve Binchy fan? Which is your favourite book?