“ Author: Maeve Binchy / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 02 March 2006 / Genre: Modern & Contemporary Fiction / Publisher: Orion Publishing Co / Title: Star Sullivan / ISBN 13: 9780752879543 / ISBN 10: 0752879543 „
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A bit of a family drama that centres around a teenage girl and how she struggles to make everybody happy, Star Sullivan is an okay read that owes its enjoyability to the many characters that it encompasses. Maeve Binchy is known for her dramas which, to be fair, are aimed more at women than men, and my wife did enjoy this somewhat more than I did, but it was an okay read.
Oona Sullivan (nicknamed Star by her mother) goes through life with a troubled family. She appears to be the angelic little girl of the family, but the arrival of an older boy next door starts her hormones going, and she finds herself having strong feelings for this boy, Laddy. All of a sudden, priorities change, and her family's lives start to change.
What Binchy does well is tell the story from Star's point of view whilst maintaining a bit of a neutral level of judgement. Her family have many woes, whether it be the gambling addiction of her father, the anorexia of her sister, one of her brother's criminal tendencies or her poor mother's woes of having to support her family through her supermarket job. These characters, as well as a few others, with Laddy being key to the tale, are well developed, despite the book only being 100 or so pages long. I felt Binchy allowed me to create quite vivid images of the characters in my head, and this enabled me to find the realism in the story.
However, it does drag in places, particularly early on, and even though there are dodgy dealings going on, and Star has suspicions about pretty much everyone, the message is a sluggish one to come to the fore. The moral of the story is really about not being able to please all of the people all of the time, and this is certainly true for Star. She tries to make sure that everyone has nice, peaceful lives, but ultimately her actions don't always have happy endings. There are a few moments where I was a bit annoyed at the author, as I felt she manipulated characters' responses to fit with the story, when they didn't fit with the characters themselves, inexplicable outrage or decisions or opinions coming from nowhere just to make sure the story flowed properly. It was a bit annoying.
Overall, it's an okay read, as I have said. It's not the sort of book I would normally read, and I can't say I am enthused about reading any more of her work. This short story was designed to encourage reluctant readers to pick up a book and get reading. I suppose it may appeal to some readers, and the Quick Reads series this is a part of has a decent range of styles from various well known authors. The book is £1.99, as are a lot of the Quick Reads titles, and this is good value. Nothing special, but I've read worse.