I had never read a Maeve Binchy book before ,despite them being very popular, so when I saw `The Builders` in my local library I thought I would try it .As this is a short story book I decided it would be an easy way to get to know Maeve Binchy as an author rather than begining with a longer book.
I was not disappointed as I really enjoyed the book. The story is about Nan Ryan who is like many older ladies these days , living alone after separating from her husband many years ago. She brought up three children alone going out to work to provide for them. The children have all grown up and left home and only come to see Nan when they want something, Nan knows she gets used but is too nice (and too lonely) to say anything.She no longer goes out to work and she is bored because she has too much time on her hands.The house next door to Nan`s is standing empty since the previous owners disappeared several years ago.
Nans life is about to change when the builders turn up next door to modernise the empty house ready to be sold to the next owners. Nan starts by being neighbourly to the workmen , by offering cups of tea, and manages to befriend one of them. This opens up a whole new life for Nan who now has a friend of her own and she realises that her life does not revolve around the needs of her children. We see her change into a confident , stylish older lady who now wants to make the most of what life has to offer. She makes her own demands on her family and she is pleasantly surprised at the results .
I think this story tells us readers a lot about family life today, particularly when there has been a marriage breakup and one partner finds it hard to move on.This story can be an inspiration for older ladies who need to get out there , make new friends as it is surprising the difference a good friendship can make to a person`s life.