It seems like all Auntie Em has been talking about is cooking! But I promised to share some good books too. I love to read, and if I don’t get to read before bed I feel like I’ve been sadly mistreated.
One of my all-time favorite authors, the Irish novelist Maeve Binchey, died last week. Maeve has been part of my life since I discovered her when my children were little. She wrote about interconneted communities of people, and her characters were flawed but honest and sympathetic. While reading her books, I normally have to keep a Kleenex handy because at some point I’ll cry. And she always dedicated her books to her husband, “dear Gordon.” (There is quite an unexpected love story there if you read it, too!) It always seemed like you would be able to sit down over a cup of tea with Maeve and start talking like you had known her forever!
This was on the front page of her website, which I think is very telling about the kind of person she was.
The happiest moments of my life are connected with family and friends. There is a great comfort about being with people who knew you way back when. There is a mental shorthand, an easy-going feeling that life doesn’t have to be explained or defined; we are all in more or less the same boat. To have a community around you in a changing and unstable world is invaluable and nothing can beat the feeling that there will always be people out for our good.
She wrote some collections of short stories, but my favorites were her thick novels spanning years or decades in the lives of a small circle of people. Circle of Friends was probably the best known, as it was made into a movie. (I didn’t see it.) Her last one was Minding Frankie and I loved it! In it, a young man, gets custody of his child which he didn’t know existed, due to the mother’s death, and the rallying around of his friends and family to show the child welfare worker what an able parent he is.
Her books would probably be rated PG to PG-13. There are some “adult themes” but no explicitness or poor taste. Mostly, though, she presents a kind look at flawed people.