Full House by Maeve Binchy cover with orange cover

There were two things that drew me to Full House – first of all, throughout my childhood I distinctly remember my grandmother always reading a Maeve Binchy book. I always used to ask her what the book was about and what was happening and despite never having visited her work before, it holds a special place in my heart. The second thing was domesticity, the act of a bunch of people (family or otherwise) with all their differences, coming together and that is what this book had in spades, maybe not coming together, but definitely domesticity. It is unlike any book I’ve read before but I went into it with an open-mind and ended up enjoying it despite not being familiar with the title beforehand.

Full House tells the story of an ordinary family – Dee and her husband, Liam and their three children, Rosie, Helen and Anthony. Dee loves her children but now they are all grown up and still living at home. Things are getting difficult, especially considering Dee does everything for them and they give nothing in return. Their situation comes to a climax when Liam loses his job and only Dee is left to support them and their children. She decides that enough is enough and tells the children that they have to start looking after themselves from now on. The children, not used to being independent, have to get on with feeding themselves, looking for somewhere to live and dealing with their seemingly distant parents. However, what follows is the three children gradually becoming independent and realising that they took their parents for granted.

Upon reading this book, it definitely made me think about how much my mother does for me as I also live at home. It made me realise that you can’t expect things for free in life, even from your loved ones, and you all have to help each other. I’d say this book was definitely aimed at adults but is suitable for any age as it deals with universal issues – any culture, religion, etc deals with these problems.

Overall, I did enjoy this book. It was an easy read, even alternating between text message style when Rosie, Helen and Anthony texted each other, this allowed you to stop getting confused with who was messaging who. The chapters were short and there were no info-dumps, everything was to the point and flowed naturally. The characters were easy to sympathise with – Dee, who you feel sorry for but equally frustrated at and the children who become lost after their mother stops caring for them. There is also a side-plot concerning Rosie and her husband, Ronan who have recently separated but are unwilling to give up on each other and Dee and best friend and colleague, Josie who run a cleaning business together. These side relationships are interesting to read about and bring more depth to the main characters, showing that they exist out of the house. Dee also forms a bond with a client who she speaks to candidly about her troubles at home, allowing us to get an insight into Dee’s mind.

Maeve Binchy was born in County Dublin, 1939. Originally a teacher, she went on to join the Irish Times and published her first novel in 1982. During her lifetime, she wrote over twenty novels, each one becoming a besteller and some have even been adapted for movie and television. In 1999, Maeve was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Book Awards and the Irish PEN/A.T. Cross Award in 2007. She went on to achieve a vast array of awards up until her last novel, A Week in Winter. She was married to writer and broadcaster, Gordon Snell for thirty-five years up until her death in 2012.

This book is part of the Quick Reads series: Full House (Quick Reads)

This review is written by Angharad:

AngharadHi! My name is Angharad, I’m 20 and from Wales. I’m a book blogger, gamer and proud feminist. When I’m not hidden behind a fictional book of sorts, I’m looking after my dogs and making candles. My love for reading stemmed from reading Harry Potter as a kid (and yes, I’m still waiting for my Hogwarts letter).

Find out more about me and my work on Two Books Thieves or follow me on Twitter: @autumninvading_

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