Ever since I read her novel 'Vince and Joy', a few years ago I have actively sought out everything else that Lisa Jewell has written and enjoyed them all equally. I'm not quite sure why but I have only just got round to reading '31 dream Street', published in 2007, and what a treat it has been! I read all of its 460 pages in a mere two days and I enjoyed every single page.
This book tells the story of two people - Leah and Toby - and also the story of a house. This house, which is owned by Toby, is a little run down and is filled by an odd assortment of people. Toby was given the house by his father when he got married, but when his wife left only three weeks later, he posted an advert letting rooms - 'rent negotiable but reasonable with preference given to artists and performers'. That was fifteen years previously and over the years the house has been filled with an eclectic mix of unusual performers. The present occupants are Ruby, Joanne, Con and Melinda - each with his or her own hard luck story to tell. There is also Gus, a sitting tenant, but when he suddenly passes away, everything changes and Toby starts to see possibilities for what he can do with the house. The only problem is that he is a nice quiet guy who does not want to upset anybody.
Across the road live Leah who has always been fascinated by the various occupants of the house but has never actually met any of them. However, when she discovers Gus's body in the snow, she helps Toby, and a new friendship is formed. Before long, Leah is helping Toby get to know his tenants better so that he can put his plans in action. Also, while she's at it, she reckons that she can help her new friend smarten up as well. With all of that going on, you might suspect this could all lead to a bit of romance but does it? You'll just have to read the book and find out!
If you do read it and if you are anything like me you will definitely find it compulsive reading. This is one of the most difficult books to put down because the story is so good, the characters are so appealing and the whole book is so well written and put together. It is very well paced with lots of individual stories all woven together perfectly. It's quite an unusual story as well and this is one thing that I do like about reading Lisa Jewell's books - they are all different so I never feel that there is anything formulaic about any of them. '31 Dream Street' is just an immensely readable book that you will not want to put down and you may even feel a little lost when you have finished it!
As you can tell, I think this book is brilliant and I definitely recommend it! It is currently available on Amazon in paperback for £5.17
31 Dream Street is a chick-lit book by Lisa Jewell. The book was released in the United Kingdom in 2008 and so is fairly recent. The book is four hundred and eighty pages long. You can buy a copy of this book from Amazon for a price of £4.39 which I think is good value for money.
Plot: Even though they have lived across the road from each other for many years, suprisingly Toby and Leah have never actually meant. Leah has always thought that Toby's house looks quite interesting especially with all the crazy tenants. Eventually they do meet, and both of them realise that they cannot live without each other? What will happen? Watch 31 Dream Street to find out!
I really enjoyed the plot. I thought that it was really simple, yet so effective, and I thought that it was interesting how a whole book was made out of something so simple. I also liked the fact that the story was set in a 'real' situation. A really interesting read.
I really liked that way that this book was written. I thought that it was very well written. I like how the author captures the reader's attention straight away, and manages to hold it throughout the whole book. The writing is quite simple and fairly easy to understand, which I think is great as there is nothing worse than trying to read a book with complicated words and sentences. This book was good though, which means that it would make a great holiday read as it does not require much thinking.
I really liked the humour in this book. Quite an unusual kind of humour but it certainly got me laughing out loud. It really is a 'cheery' little book, which is sure to put you in a good mood. There was something about this book which I found quite inspiring, as though I could achieve anything.
I had not read any of this author's books before, and so this is the first one for me. However, what I will say is that I was very impressed with this book and so will definitely be on the lookout for more of this author's books in the future.
I thought that there were some really interesting characters in this book. I quite liked the character of Toby as he came across as being really sweet. I thought that it was quite unusual to have a male lead character in a chick-lit book, as it is usually a female.
I liked the characters in this book as I thought that they came across as being quite real. I found them to be characters which I could easily connect with and relate to, and so I found them to be really likeable characters. I felt as though I got to know the characters really well and so I think that that is one of the reasons why I enjoyed the book so much. When I finished the book, it felt like I was saying goodbye to good friends.
Whilst I love a bit of drama in a book, sometimes a lot of books in this genre are a bit over the top and farfetched (yet I still cannot help but love them). However, this book was quite different in the terms that it was quite real, and not at all far-fetched, which meant that the situations involved were really easy to relate to.
If you are looking for a good light-hearted, well written read, then I would definitely recommend this book to you!
Thanks for reading
March 21st 2011
Xd-o-n-z-x (also posted under xdonzx on ciao)
During my recent holiday I managed to read all 3 books I had taken with me so was browsing the bookshelf in the holiday cottage to see if there was anything worth reading and "31 Dream Street" caught my eye. The book is by the author Lisa Jewell and I remember reading another one of her books several years ago although I am pretty sure I didn't think it was particularly great! However as I was needing something to read I thought I would give her another try.
The story is about two main characters Leah and Toby who have been living across the street from each other for years. Toby lives in big rambling house that was given to him by his father and he has filled the house with tenants who pay little rent but who he has given a home to because he has judged them to be needy. Leah is fascinated in who they all are and what their relationship is but has never had the chance to find out as although they have watched each others comings and goings they have never met. Then one day something happens in the street which causes their paths to cross and their lives become changed. Soon Toby and Leah find themselves on a mission to sort out the lives and make dreams come true for all the tenants in the house. The question is will they succeed and what will happen to their own dreams along the way?
I really enjoyed this book it's a lovely heart-warming romantic tale just perfect for a summer holiday read. I really liked the characters in the book and the way they interacted with each other. As well as the main characters there are several other larger than life characters who are the tenants in Toby's house. They each have their own stories and part of the enjoyment of the book is discovering and unravelling their individual stories and finding out what has brought them to Toby's house and what will happen to them in the future. I like the way the author just reveals little bits of information at a time in one chapter and makes you wonder what that characters secret is but then moves on to the next person so you have to keep reading it to find out what happens. It's done in a really good way that it doesn't feel disjointed but makes you curious and what to read on.
I liked Lisa Jewell's writing, her book was funny and full of warmth and the story has a good pace to it and made me want to keep reading. I liked the way she used a combination of ordinary narrative but also letters to reveal to the reader the story and what had happened to the characters, it just makes the book more interesting to read. It is a lovely story and I really enjoyed it so much so that I will probably look out for some more of Lisa Jewells books in the hope that they will be as good as this one.
If you are going on holiday or just want to have a lazy weekend curled up on the sofa with a book then I would recommend this to you if you like a nice romance with some great fun characters.
Pages - 461
Price - £4.99 from Amazon (there are two different covers available, I think to differentiate the hardcover from the paperback)
I had this on my shelf for ages and just thought it would be your average chick-lit so delayed reading it until I felt like reading this. This is so much more though...
It is based on a young man who owns a house and advertises his rooms to those with genuine need. This book follows both himself and his housemates and you gradually get to know more about their lives and their secrets. They are all very different and from different walks of life but I ended up caring about them all - very rare in a book like this!
The characters are well-rounded and interesting; they do not have the two-dimensional feel that some other chick-lit books have. In fact I wouldn't even classify this as chick-lit. It does have some of the elements and finding love is one of them but it is not the main focus.
The book is more about people in the stage of their life where they are at a crossroads and need to make decisions about where they want their lives to go and what is lacking in their lives. It is heart-warming and emotional at times and one of the best books around in this genre.
My boyfriend even read it and said how much he liked it as well so I think this is one that can appeal to different ages and genders. Highly recommended.
Judging this book on its cover and blurb alone, its not something I would usually touch with a bargepole as it screams "chick lit." Not that I have a problem with chick lit but it's just not something I particularly enjoy reading. However this book was given to me along with a load of other paperbacks from a friend so I decided I may aswell give it a go. After a slow start I'm glad I did as it was surprisingly good compared to what I was expecting.
I had never heard of Lisa Jewell before. However on reading her website I love the story of how her first book came to fruitition. She had just been made redundant and her friend was trying to convince her to follow her dream of becoming a writer. She told Lisa she would buy her a dinner if she could write three chapters of a novel. Lisa rose to the challenge, and those three chapters became her first published book, "Ralph's Party."
Leah lives across from 31 Silversmith Road, an unsual yet beautiful rambling old house, known locally as "The Peacock House" due to tiles around the front door depicting peacocks. Leah is fascinated by the eclectic mix of people that appear to live in the house - a wild-haired scruffy looking young mad, an equally scruffy elderly man, a rock chick, an air hostess, a teenage boy and a woman who appears to change her image on a daily basis. She would love to know just how this bizarre mix of people are connected.
After months of wondering who the people are, a tragic occurrence leads to a chance encounter between Leah and Toby, the landlord of the Peacock House. Toby is a reclusive failed poet who was bought the house by his father when he got married. However Toby's wife Karen left him within weeks of their marriage and ever since, Toby has lived a quiet life in his house, renting out the rooms to "lost souls" as somewhere for them to stay until the find themselves.
However a letter from his father and a surprise find in one of his tenant's rooms, causes Toby to re-evaluate his entire life and start living again. His first step is to renovate the Peacock House, sell it and move on. However can he convince his motley band of tenants to move out? They all appear to be in a rut with their lives and Toby is not sure how to help them. However with Leah's assistance, he attempts to help them move on and face the real world.
The story then follows Toby's efforts to renovate his house, improve his life and help his tenants. It is written in third person and each chapter is from a different point of view. I felt this style helped the story because it gives the reader a chance to see circumstances from everyone's perspective and get an insight to the workings of the minds of Toby's strange tenants! It was also very easy to follow - I always knew which characters point of view I was reading.
I did find the start a bit slow; it starts with a prologue from Leah's point of view, then a selection of letters and an ad, to chart how each occupant came to be in the Peacock House. It wasn't until I was about three chapters in that I started to get a real feel for the story.
The ending was appropriate and tied all the loose ends together. I did predict how a lot of the character's circumstances would turn out, however the author has added in plenty twists to keep the plot interesting. Therefore, even if you guess how things will turn out, you'll wonder just how they'll get there!
Toby is the main character and is likeable as the romantic failed poet who has somehow lost his way in life. Leah is also likeable and realistic. She is unhappy with her life, working in a naff shop and living with 30 year old Amitabh who thinks he is still 18. They are irritating at times, which to me is the mark of a realistic flawed character.
The tenants of the property include Gus, an elderly man with a big secret, who was the sitting tenant when Toby became owner. There is Ruby, a thirty three year old singer in a rock band who has lived in the house since she was sixteen and has never had a proper job, instead living off money paid to her by a string of inappropriate sugar daddies. Melinda and Con are mother and son - Melinda abandoned Con when he was a child and left him with his grandmother. She now desperately wants to make amends for this. Con, however, just wants to live out his dream of becoming a pilot, and to find real love at last. The last tenant is Joanne, an out of work actress who drastically changes her image on a daily basis and who very much keeps herself to herself by barely ever leaving her room.
Joanne was the most interesting tenant for me - we find out little about her until near the end so she is as big a mystery to us as she is to the rest of the characters. Her story, when it is revealed, is heartbreaking. However I found all the characters interesting. At face value they border on becoming clichés, but they all have quirks to their characters that prevent them falling into this category.
I also feel that the author writes male characters well, which prevents the story from bordering on chick-lit.
This is a light and easy read that would be ideal for taking on holiday and relaxing with by the pool. Although there are a couple of romantic threads running through the story, there is a lot more to the story than that, and the frequent twists thrown in will keep you guessing!
I first came across this book whilst browsing on Amazon, and I used the 'look inside' feature whereby you can read the first few pages of the book. I thought it looked quite good, so added it to my wish list and was pleased when I recently got my hands on a copy.
Toby is a tall, thin man, who is an unpublished poet with a good heart. When he was in his early twenties, he married a girl called Karen. As a wedding present, his father, Reggie, who had always thought Toby was a disappointment and a waste of space, bought him an old house - 31 Silversmith Street - as a wedding present, before upping and leaving to South Africa to enjoy a new life with his new girlfriend.
The house was huge and very unique, and it also came with a sitting tenant - and old man named Gus. Three weeks into their marriage, Karen is already sick of living with no money in a rattling old house, and leaves Toby never to be seen again.
Toby puts an ad in Private Eye looking for new tenants. He tells people to write to him and explain why they would like a room. This results in a huge array of weird and wonderful people, all with fascinating stories living under one roof.
Firstly, there's his sitting tenant, Gus, an old, miserable man, who is very quiet and mysterious.
Then there's Ruby. Ruby has lived here since she ran away from home aged 16, escaping her violent step father. She is a singer/songwriter playing in dingy bars for a living, sleeping with a string of unsuitable men, even though now she is in her thirties.
There's Con, who is only 19 and grew up with his Gran. He works in the post room of a magazine company, and lives here after becoming homeless at a young age.
Con shares a room with his mum, Melinda, after they were reunited at his Gran's funeral. Melinda left the country not long after Con was born, feeling that she couldn't cope with him. She's quite glamorous and working as an air hostess.
Lastly, there is Joanne. Joanne is somewhat of an enigma. Toby finds it very hard to have a conversation with her, as she does not like to talk to anyone, and is very stand offish. She's an actress and often changes her appearance.
In the house opposite number 31, is Leah. Leah is in her thirties and living with her boyfriend Amitabh whilst working in a shop and feeling increasingly unhappy with her life. She has often wondered about number 31 (or the peacock house, as it's known locally), she sees people coming and going all the time, but is intrigued to know more about them.
The story follows the lives of the tenants of the Peacock house, and their day to day lives, but when a tragedy finally leads to Leah and Toby meeting each other, both their lives change in ways they never dreamed possible.
~What I thought~
I really loved this book right from the start. I usually dislike books where there are a huge amount of central characters, as I find it confusing, and keep having to flick back pages to find out who's who, but this one was different, as all the characters were so unique.
All the characters in this book are really interesting, I found myself wanting to know what their history was, and what made them tick, which made me want to read the book in one go.
So often I seem to read chick-lit, which pretty much plods along, and has the same old storyline, but this one is full of twists, turns and surprises, as well as lots of humour along the way.
Someone asked me what type of book this was - comedy, thriller etc.. and I couldn't really answer them. It's hard to describe, I wouldn't say it is your standard boy meets girl chick lit, because although, of course, there is some romance thrown in for good measure, it's really just the story of a group of people who live together and how their lives work.
I really enjoyed this, it's been the best book I've read in ages, which is why I've given it 5 stars, and would thoroughly recommend it.
When it comes to buying a new booking I tend to rely on recommendations from friends or Dooyoo, however whilst on honeymoon in the Maldives I found myself without anything to read so I made my way across to the library on the island to swop a book I had read and no longer wanted.
I picked up a novel by Lisa Jewell called Vince and Joy and found that I just could not put it down so when I arrived back home I decided to read the other books she has published, hoping they would all be as good and that was when I started 31 Dream Street.
Lisa was previously a secretary and when she was made redundant in 1996 she received a bet from her friend Yasmin to fulfil her dream of writing a novel. Lisa was reluctant to set about this task as a lack of time, money and knowledge was holding her back, but when Yasmin bet her a meal that she wouldn't do it she felt she had something to prove and set about making her dream come true.
After months of rejection an opportunity was posted through her letterbox and she was signed up by Penguin Books.
*~*The basis of the story*~*
Toby Dobbs lives in a 3 storey ageing house that is fairly eccentric looking and stands alone detached from its neighbours by both the position and appearance. The house was a gift from his absent father when Tony got married but a month after the marriage he was desserted by his wife and he locked himself away in his bedroom writing poetry.
31 Dream street became a refuge for people who found them struggling in many different ways and Toby had become accustomed to helping them until a tragedy and a letter interrupt his quiet existence and he finds himself moving on with his life but what will become of his many tenants.
Leah Pilgrim watches from across the road at the strange goings on at number 31 trying to work out the coming and goings of the various tenants and when a chance meeting with Toby occurs she finds that he is in desperate need of her help and he opens up the door to the tenants of number 31.
Moved in with Toby when she was just 16 and determined to become famous, 16 years later she is still living with Toby, jobless and living of the income of her sugar daddies but surely this won't last for long?
Working at Conde Naste in the mail room Con's colleague saw the advertisement for a room in Toby's house and suggested that he let Con stay, now Con is trying to move on with his life and fall in love and realise his dream of becoming a pilot but will it ever happen?
Toby's oldest tenant and also the longest tenant, Gus is a grumbling old man that is hiding a secret, and its not until Toby has a surprise knock at the door that he realises what secrets Gus has been hiding.
An air hostess, she abandoned her son Con to move away with her latest lover and when she returns she finds herself sharing Con's room and trying to make peace with her son.
Keeps herself to herself and hides herself away in her room, she also has a secret and quite a big one that if she only confided in someone maybe it would solve all of her problems.
So far I have read 2 novels by Lisa Jewell and am on my third and she seems to keep the same style for each book she writes basing each chapter on a character to enable us to read the story from each characters points of view.
Lisa writes some beautiful books and each time you start one it is harder to put it down you just get involved in the story and can relate to each and every character.
What I find different about the books written by Lisa is that she bases a lot of the main characters around a male figure which is different to other chick lit books that I have read and maybe is what makes them that bit more interesting.
The characters are all loveable and all well written and all seem to have a little twist to their character to keep you interested.
Lisa writes her books in a way that you can relate to all the characters appear to be very real and also very different to any of the other characters she writes about and when you get to the end of the book you feel really satisfied that you know the end of the story but a little disappointed that it has come to an end and I have to come back down to reality as I really tend to get drawn into the books and lose all sight of reality which is good when you want to relax on your lunch hour in work and I feel that the books written by Lisa Jewell really help you to lose all sense of reality and become involved in the characters in the book.
In a rambling house, failed poet Toby Dobbs has created a refuge for people who need one. But when a quiet tragedy and an unwelcome letter interrupt Toby's sedate existence, he needs his housemates to find some direction in their lives. Leah Pilgrim has watched the tenants of the house over the road for several years, and when the owner of 31 Silversmith Road asks her for advice, he opens the door not only to the eccentric building across the street - but to five lives in various stages of turmoil. Can Toby and Leah help these misfits to grow up, move on and move out? And in doing so, can they make their own dreams come true?