Maeve Binchy is not a well-known author, at least in the blogs I follow, but people who have read her novels usually recommend them, so I tried this one. I took it from the public library of my hometown; I saw it in the English section and I didn’t think twice. Later at home, I realized it was a short stories compilation, all of them about Christmas, so it was ideal for these days.
The book includes 20 short stories and they are really-really short: they only have five or six pages and talk about different families in all kind of Christmas situations, and how this year things are going to change. For example, there is one story about a woman who has to deal in Christmas time with a teen step-daughter who really hates her, or another story about four unbearable elders in a nursing home that are ready to complain, as they do year after year, about every Christmas detail – menu, presents, decoration, nursing staff, etc.
Most of them have a little touch of humor; I liked very much a story about a woman who has a full-time job and she also has to do all the housework and cook the meals for her husband and her two adult sons because she thinks they have to spend their time studying their degrees instead of losing their time with this unsatisfying work. But this situation changes one day when she finds herself in the kitchen while the rest of her family is in the sitting room watching TV, and she says Enough!. The way the family faces the situation is really fun.
In addition to enjoy reading, I have also learnt a lot about British and Irish Christmas, which is a bit different from here. For example, we don’t have traditional meals for Christmas, so we “must not” cook turkey for hours on Christmas Day or special mince pies. Or Boxing Day, a day we don’t celebrate – we don’t give gifts to the poor in a specific date. It’s curious to know about other countries’ traditions.
I have to say I usually don’t like short stories, but I have discovered they are great when you are reading in another language because you can stop whenever you want and don’t forget the story, and you can read a little every day without worrying about the length of the chapter you are currently reading (I read very slowly in English); so I like them very much when I read in English, and particularly these ones because I also like Christmas time!
I won’t add any score today: I enjoyed all the stories, but some of them are better than others so, in general, they would be between three and four stars.
My Spanish review here.