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What goes on at 66 Star Street?
The Brightest Star in the Sky - Marian Keyes
Member Name: katyj10
The Brightest Star in the Sky - Marian Keyes
Advantages: Lots going on
Disadvantages: Bit too much bed hopping for me to keep up with
This is a review of the 2009 book 'The Brightest Star in the Sky' by Marian Keyes. An author whom I am fond of reading and have enjoyed many previous books by.
A little about...
In The Brightest Star in the Sky, the first character we meet is a ghost type character who haunts a particular address, looking to make a couple fall in love, but looking at 66 Star Street, there are many characters who offer great potential in this area.
The Characters (in addition to the ghost)
In the Basement floor flat are Maeve and Matt, newlyweds who have lost their romantic spark. Ground Floor is 88 year old Jemima, her dog Grudge and her adopted (grown up) son Fionn. Next floor is Polish boys Andrei (who has a girlfriend Rosie) and Jan and Irish Taxi driver Lydia. Finally on the top floor is Katie and her boyfriend (who doesn't live there) Conall.
My initial thoughts
In TBSITS, there are a lot of characters and a fair bit of chopping and changing between them romantically, to the point where I got a little confused. You are never sure who's making eyes at who and who's on their way in and who's on their way out but I suppose this is the point of the story.
At the half way point (300 pages) I thought 'I'm not enjoying this book, it'd better get better' and yet I was at that point of no return. I wanted to get it finished so I could read another (different) book quite frankly.
The book begins on day 60 and counts down, with an occasional foray into the past ie. three years earlier when Matt and Maeve were getting married. This is quite clear and gives a great structure to the book and was easy to follow. You were not sure what the count down was about and what to expect when day zero arrives but it is an important part of the book.
I do find Marian Keyes a great humourous writer and always find a few chuckles in her books. I liked Katie's character best, having had a dry spell in her relationships 'zerogamy' used to describe this. Her boyfriend Conall starts off as the most unlikeable fellow but you do find yourself warming to his charms as the book progresses, that's how talented Keyes is, she can change your mind mid way with her writing style.
Least favourite person(s)
The sexy gardener Fionn starts off with promise but frankly his magic pocket where he produces magic herbs and plants as a sort of psychic prediction killed it for me. He is uncaring and selfish towards those who love him and really only on the lookout for his next lay. I also wanted Maeve to pull herself together at first, with a wonderful husband like Matt she should be more grateful but we find out why she is not happy as the book progresses.
An aside / question
I felt left wanting to know exactly what was Katie's mum's problem and why was she so nasty to Katie. It made her reluctant to bring friends home to meet them and as soon as she said anything challenging she got shot down. Although it provided the key to 'a bit of gossip' that was needed in the book, I felt curious about this family reationship.
As this book is written by Irish author Marian Keyes it is set in Dublin and you do get a lot of references to Irish language (eg. gank = ugly or nasty) which is OK and can be entertaining at times. It was a long book so it is for fast readers and may make good lazy holiday reading if you only want to pack a few books as it will take a few days to get through (even for those who read all the time on hols). I will pass my book on to a friend as I think she will like it but would say it may not suit everyone.
At 600 pages you get the chance to know all the characters pretty well in this book so perhaps it is appropriate that there were so many to meet here. I enjoyed reading this book to a point but really felt it wasn't the best book I had read by MK. After the book ends, we are treated to an epilogue which is really essential to tying up a few loose ends. The ghost provides a great form of narration and is determined to fulfil its quest at 66 Star Street. I was quite satisfied at one element of the ending of the book but can't give it away in this review as there have to be some surprises.
PS. I liked the fact that some of the characters were named after people who bid for the privilege in a charity auction, that was a nice thing for the author to do and whilst they were not the main characters, they got a mention a few times.
Summary: A good enough read