Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy

author’s website                 movie trailer

Summary: Benny is a “big” girl from a good family in a small country town outside of Dublin. She’s off to University but has to come home nightly on the bus and so feels that she misses out on some of the college lifestyle as she tries to be a good daughter to her parents. She is NOT interested in marrying the creepy Sean, an apprentice in her father’s shop. There are many side plots, but not difficult to keep track: Her best friend Eve was orphaned, brought up in the convent and struggles to understand why her blood family didn’t want her. Nan is looking to marry into several social ranks higher. Benny’s boyfriend Jack wanders when Benny has to stay at home. Etc.

Personal Reaction: I was surprised at how different this book was from the movie in some places. Still very good, of course! My favorite secondary character is Mother Francis.

Any Cautions: college age characters, sexual situations & alcohol

Items to display with book: College textbooks, long scarves; photos of rural Ireland and Dublin (or maps); rosary or crucifix; men’s ties, hats, handkerchiefs

Food items connected to story: Poor dieting Benny – any sweets will do alongside healthy foods (candy bar vs. apple, etc.); tea service




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