Grafton Public Library

Review: Minding Frankie by Maeve Binchy

Posted by bethg on

Minding Frankie book coverMaeve Binchy is a familiar name among readers who enjoy the doings of a close-knit Irish community in Dublin. Especially in the recent past, Binchy has focused on a particular group of people who reappear in ensuing books. This is the case in Minding Frankie.

The Frankie in question is a baby girl who was not born into the most ideal circumstances. Her mother did not survive childbirth, and Noel, the alleged father, was in no position to assume a solitary parenting role. Hence, many folk kicked in minding Frankie.

What makes the story work is that these people were in a neighborhood within walking distance of each other and were able to hand off care of Frankie in shifts while Noel worked and went to night school to improve his job skills.

I will not go through the list of supporting characters who mind Frankie, but each had his own story to be told and his own particular interest in this small family unit. A cousin from America arrived and was the organizer type. She encouraged a recent retiree to go into the pet-walking business, opened a thrift shop for the church, and worked to erect a statue of a local patron saint.

The social worker who was in charge of Noel and Frankie’s case was more than diligent and was often popping in to see if the child was indeed well cared for. She had a couple in mind who really wanted to adopt so she was watchful of any transgression on Noel’s part. The fact that he was a recovering alcoholic put more stress on the situation.

If there is any redundancy in Binchy’s work, it is the fact that many of the characters from previous novels open restaurants. As I read this book, I found those familiar characters and had a hard time differentiating them from the new cast starting up the same kind of business.

Nevertheless there is enough new material offered on the reading menu to make the book a success. It’s all about unconventional families, their relationships, and the care and love they show each other. It’s what makes Maeve Binchy so successful. Plus, what’s not to like about a newborn minded by so many folk?

I give the book Minding Frankie 3 5/8 nappies.

Happy reading from Beverly!

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