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Circle of Friends: A Novel Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Kindle Edition, Sep 4 2007

Length: 610 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Loyal friends Benny and Eve, young women who grew up together in an Irish village, find their relationship tested by the new friendships, romances and opportunities that develop at a Dublin university. According to PW , Binchy's characters have "a colorful way with words, and if the prose is sometimes careless, this is still Irish storytelling at its contemporary best."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Binchy transports readers to the village of Knockglen in Ireland to meet Benny, the only child of doting parents; Eve Malone, an orphan raised by nuns; and a host of local characters. The girls form a lasting friendship that continues when they go on to college in Dublin. There they meet beautiful Nan, who tries to hide her poor background and drunken father; Jack Foley, a doctor's son; and all their university friends. Provincial Knockglen and fast-paced Dublin become intertwined as the girls try to exist in both worlds. A wonderful, readable story of successes and disappointments, intrigues and loyalty, families and friendships, this novel demonstrates that testing values, maintaining relationships, and coming of age are universal struggles.
- Katherine Fitch, Thomas Jefferson Sci-Tech, Fairfax County, VA
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4179 KB
  • Print Length: 610 pages
  • Publisher: Dell (Sept. 4 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B000YE97VU
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
As much as I loved the movie starring Minnie Driver and Chris O'Donnell, I loved this book far more. The movie skimmed the lives of everyone except Jack and Bernadette, nicknamed Benny.
But the book shows exactly how large the circle of friends actually is. It delves more deeply into the lives of Eve, raised by nuns who love her as a daughter, and Nan, the beautiful friend from a wretched family. Eve is also a shunned relative of the rich family with whom Nan is attempting to affiliate herself.
Benny's relationships with her parents are also more thoroughly examined, as is her growth from child to woman in the face of her father's death, going to college and meeting her first love -- and getting her heart broken.
Also - Jack (O'Donnell in the movie) is not the golden good guy that Hollywood paints him out to be. He willingly and knowingly cheats on Benny with Nan, which is far more realistic than the film version where he is liquored up by Nan who then uses him.
Again, Binchy's lilting writing style brings the little Irish vilage of Knockglen and the bustling city of Dublin to life, and she succeeds in keeping her myriad characters (more than in the movie!) on track, believable and interesting.
I think every woman in the world can identify with Benny when she meets Jack --- can't quite believe such a great guy would look at her, much less make her his girlfriend. And you will feel for her and root for her.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Having seen the film long before I read the book, I was excited. Circle of Friends had long been a favorite movie of mine. However, after reading the novel, I changed my point-of-view on the film. The film pales in comparison with the magnitude of this novel.
There is much more to the novel than the film ever lets on. It is much more thorough, the characters are even more fully developed---generally, it's a masterpiece. It quickly became one of my favorite books of all time after reading it.
Binchy's talent for writing about Ireland and the Irish people is unmatched. Her understanding of the Catholic faith, and the Catholic guilt that comes hand-in-hand with it is pure. The novel is a wonderful exploration of young people in Ireland, and it is exceedingly successful. The characters in this book will never leave my heart. The sights of Ireland, have been ingrained in my mind. The tales Binchy has woven to create this exquisite novel are unmatched. Having traveled to Ireland, and experienced the culture and sights, I can say with first-hand experience that Maeve Binchy is accurate, and weaves a beautiful tale that anyone who loves Ireland will enjoy.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I've read through the glowing reviews of this book and am a little baffled. Everyone seems to love it so much! Personally, I found this book to be slow-moving and a little boring. Only toward the end did it begin to get my interest. It took me many weeks to finish this book because I just wasn't motivated to keep reading it. If I had taken it out of the library, I would have returned it unfinished. Because I had purchased it, I stuck with it until the end.
I feel there were many aspects of the relationship between Jack and Benny which could have been more thoroughly and interestingly explored. They never really explain how Jack is feeling or why. It just seems that, at one point, he invites all these women to his home because he can't decide who should be his date, and then, all of a sudden, he is "in love" with Benny. There is very little dialogue between these two characters - no real sense as to why Benny and Jack are in love.
Also, I never quite understood the Simon Westward character. Did he have money or didn't he? Nan seemed to want him for his money, but then at other times in the book it says that he had none.
Well, I enjoyed Tara Road (my first Maeve Binchy novel) a lot more than this one. I think I have now read my last Binchy.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I had heard a lot about this book and finally checked it out of my library for a rainy weekend.
I grew up at the same time as this story is set in, the 1950's, so a lot of it brought back memories. However, my small town in the Midwest wasn't quite so provincial as Knockglen. There were no Catholics and we didn't worry about class.
There were too many references to Benny's large frame. Once or twice would have been enough. I felt sorry for her as the over-protected only child of a very boring couple. Thank goodness she escaped to Dublin.
Simon was a real rat, but so I'm not surprised at the way he treated Nan. He obviously intended to marry money and she didn't have any.
I liked all of the different characters, except Sean. All types seemed to be there. Mother Francis was very kind to Eve and everyone.
I don't plan on seeing the movie after other reviewers have said what characters were left out and that the ending was different. I liked the way it ended.
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By A Customer on Aug. 24 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read Circle of Friends a few years ago when I was trapped with a poor book selection and too much time on my hands... so I read it from cover to cover. And I have to say that this stands out in my memory as the worst book I've ever read all the way through. Binchy's writing is skillful enough... and she does indeed develop her characters and her portrait of Irish town and country life in decades past. I don't necessarily dispute what other readers have said about this book. But I would like to add that the novel is simply oozing with sentimentality and a sense of longing for the values of bygone days... when the social roles of women and men were clear-cut, when a woman could dare to improve her status by marrying a man of a higher social class... charming, yes, if Binchy's novel was a product of the 1950s rather than the 1980s. As a reader in the 1990s, I found that the women were far too dependent/obsessed with their respective male love objects... during the course of the ENTIRE novel... for my own level of comfort and tolerance. I simply do not long to go back to the time Binchy sentimentalizes here. And if I do revisit it, I prefer a viewpoint concurrent with the era in which the story is written rather than that which it blindly and uncritically depicts. As I neared the end of the novel, I found myself glued to the story in hopes of a profoundly tragic ending for each of the main characters. Binchy placated me somewhat with some high drama, but no end would've been too grotesque or tragic for my 'friends' Benny, Nan, Eve, and Jack. Don't say you weren't warned.
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