Friday, April 29, 2011

Review : Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

Author: Maeve Binchy
Publisher/Format: Books on Tape,2011, 13+hrs,  400 pg equivalent
Narrator: Sile Bermingham
Subject: Alcoholism, single parenthood, friendship
Setting: Dublin Ireland
Genre: fiction
Source: public library

I have always enjoyed Maeve Binchy's charming tales of life in Ireland.  She does not sugar coat troubles, nor does she always bring us "happily every after" endings.  In this latest novel about life in modern day Dublin, we meet Noel, an alcoholic ne'er do well, who is still living with his parents, who doesn't like his job and who isn't exactly motivated to do anything about it, until he is summoned to the bedside of an old girlfriend who is pregnant and dying of cancer.  She tells him he is the father, and she's leaving the baby in his care. And although suddenly Noel has motivation-- a daughter named Frankie--he still needs a lot of help with the totally unfamiliar world of parenthood.

With the generous and enabling help of a cousin from America, who has recently arrived in town for an extended stay, he finds a place to live, he enrolls in college, he gets a roommate who trades him part-time child care for free rent, he learns to cook, and most importantly he joins AA and begins a life of sobriety.  This is not to say the story is all roses, there are lots of thorns - especially the overbearing child welfare social worker who is determined to find an excuse to take little Frankie away from him.  There are dear friends, nosy neighbors, and doting grandparents. It has its scary moments, but it has heart-warming ending. It is a charming story that leaves the reader wanting another chapter.

If you enjoy stories with Irish charm, if you enjoy Maeve Binchy's writing, you will certainly enjoy this one.  It is especially well done in audio.


  1. I haven't read one of Maeve Binchy's books in a year or so but I've always enjoyed them. She has a knack for realistic, relatable and interesting characters and a story that's hard to stop reading once you start.

    Your review of her most recent book sounds like vintage Binchy. Thank you for a great review. This one makes my TBR list!

  2. my mother was a great fan of Maeve Binchy but I have never read any of her books. But I am a sucker for a heart warming ending...


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