Full House by Maeve Binchy

Maeve Binchy was born on 28 May 1940 in Dalkey, County Dublin, Ireland, the eldest of four children. Her parents were very positive and provided her with a happy childhood. She studied at University College, Dublin and was a maeveteacher for a while. She also loved travelling and this was how she found her niche as a writer. Binchy married Gordon Snell who is also a published writer. Her books deal with predominantly with relationship problems and many of them are set in the past in Ireland.She passed away on 30 July 2012, at the age of 72, having suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease before her death.

I cannot remember how I came across this book. My friend, Evelyn had certainly recommended Maeve Binchy to me. However, I do not think she mentioned any particular book. Full House is part of the Quick Reads series so it is a short, entertaining, story, although unrealistic at times.

Full House revolves around Dee, the mother of a family comprising her husband and three adult children all of whom still live in the family home. However, when her husband loses his job Dee decides that this has to change. Her children are taken aback by this as they have learnt over the years that their parents are happy to provide board and lodging free of charge, without them taking any responsibility for domestic chores. Rosie moved out when she got full Housemarried, but it did not work out, so she is back with her parents. Helen is a teacher but does not earn enough for a place of her own. Anthony writes songs and is just waiting for the day when someone will pay him for them.

So far, so good, the context is completely believable but the solution to Dee’s dilemma is a bit too convenient. She manages to completely change years of behaviour, as well as her husband’s attitude to their life , in a matter of weeks. Perhaps this is a necessity because of the book being a Quick Read! So solutions conveniently materialize and people adapt surprisingly quickly to the new ideas. So many people have told me that they enjoy Maeve Binchy books that I had really hoped to enjoy this one. However, I did not. The author may be an excellent story teller but perhaps the format did mot lend itself to her style of writing. On the basis of this, I would not rush to read another book by Maeve Binchy.

Valerie Penny


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