Minding Frankie - Maeve Binchy
This review starts with what I wrote while reading the book and then goes into my final assessment.This book is frustrating the hell out of me. I read this book for Noel and Frankie, reading the summary they should be the primary focus. But I can't even remember the last time they were mentioned, let alone the focus of the story. There are like 100 characters and Binchy goes into great detail about all their lives, and I really, really don't care.It's not like the book is bad, but I don't care about all these character's stories. The baby was born and suddenly she and her father become almost irrelevant to the story. They're merely footnotes at this point. We only hear how they're doing from these third parties mentioning it while we read on and on and on about their personal lives. It's like the movie The Grudge. Anytime someone interacts with a new person we then have to delve into the new person's life.There have been chapters on Lisa Kelly, Declan Carroll, and Moira Tierney. Actually, at this point I'm more inclined to say the book is about Moira more than anything else. Binchy seems to stick with her the most. I'm on chapter ten and the last time the book was in Noel's point of view was chapter six and it was literally only a page, if that. Before that there were four pages in the middle of that same chapter. There is no rhyme or reason to whose point of view she jumps to and when. It's all very confusing and vastly frustrating. I wanted to be present for noel's struggles and bonding with the baby. I want to read about Noel making his way as a new single father. I want to know that he loves his daughter. There is a frustrating lack of emotion, too. Her writing is very detached and unconcerned with making me feel with or for the characters. Frankie was born and it just skipped ahead. Nothing about him seeing her for the first time, any of the firsts they'd have. I am so extremely disappointed. The summary of the story should really be changed, because it's completely misleading. I wouldn't have started reading if I knew that this book is not at all about Minding Frankie. I'm about *this* close to flouncing, I am so frustrated. Especially if we are forced to spend any more time with this dolt of a social worker. I have 44% left and I'm trying to decide if it's worth it to finish. ---I did finish, and the story barely went back to Noel and Frankie. Then she brought in this twist I thought was highly unnecessary given the minuscule amount of time we had with the two of them. At least it was wrapped up nicely. Not all of the many, many, MANY storylines did.It is really hard for me to give this book a rating. For my purposes I think I'd give it two stars because the story was entirely unsatisfying for me - it wasn't what it was billed to be. However, I can clearly see why some people would give it four stars. The writing isn't bad at all. My three biggest complaints was that it jumped scenes and character points of view worse than a soap opera, the American didn't sound American, and the lack of emotion (though it did finally shine through at a couple of points in the book, but not nearly enough). So I'm giving it three stars. I think if she stuck with Frankie and Noel it would have been a four star book.Overall, it's not a bad read, as long as you go into it knowing that the summary is misleading and this is more of a neighborhood soap opera than a story about a single father.