book review

The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes

6539596Welcome to 66 Star Street . . . In the top-floor flat lives music exec Katie. She spends her days fighting off has-been rock stars and wondering how much cheesecake you’d need to eat yourself to death. Below her, a pair of muscular Poles share with a streetwise cabbie named Lydia, who has a sharp tongue, an even sharper brain but some unexpected soft spots. On the first floor is Fionn – a gardener who prefers the company of parsnips to people. But he looks like a fairy-tale prince and when he’s offered his own television show, he’s suddenly thrust into the limelight. And at the bottom of the house live Matt and Maeve, who are Very Much In Love and who stave off despair by doing random acts of kindness. But a mysterious visitor has just landed at 66 Star Street, bringing love, friendship and heartbreak, and a new-found optimism. Old secrets are working their way to the surface and all their lives are about to change in the most unexpected of ways . . .

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I have a lot of feels on this one. Like, really. The Brightest Star in the Sky is my first Marian Keyes and will definitely not be the last. I know she’s been a popular one and I don’t know why I haven’t picked up any of her books before. But now, I’m ecstatic to have come across one of her work finally. And in a French library, for that matter. I admit, it was the cover that attracts me. But, I can say I don’t regret checking it out one bit.

The story is about the neighbors in one block of flats at 66 Star Street in Dublin. Unknown to the residents, they’ve got a mysterious visitor who comes to bring something to someone in that flat. Whatever that is, is unknown to everyone until the climax of the book. The mysterious visitor serves as the narrator who tries to know more about the people in the flat and to figure out who is the possible “target” for whatever its purpose is. There’s just turned 40 music exec Katie on the top-floor who’s in a complicated relationship with the workaholic Conall. Below her are the two Polish nationals, Jan and Andrei, who hates their sharp-tongued, untidy cabbie roommate, Lydia, who can’t stand her roommates, either. Living below them is the elderly psychic Jemima and her adopted son, Fionn, a good-looking gardener who is hoping to star in his own TV show. And finally, at the bottom of the house, there’s the married couple Matt and Maeve, that appears to be in a perfect marriage but is really hiding a terrible secret. A secret that keeps them together but also drives them apart. And now, we are left to wonder, who is this mysterious visitor hovering around and what does it wish to accomplish?

The plot of this book is unusual yet interesting. An invisible mysterious visitor, who wouldn’t be intrigued? Its identity wasn’t revealed until the end and when it does, it’s not exactly what I am expecting for. I have a different guess but I’d say I prefer Miss Keyes’ idea. The countdown of the days will get you wondering what could possibly happen that will change the life of one of the residents. It took a while for me to really be absorbed in the story but when it did, I keep flipping the pages. The characters are engaging and though the transition from one character to another is fast, it is easy to keep up with them without getting confused. What’s confusing is the past to present transition. But it also helps the reader to understand each characters’ personalities. And also, there’s a lot of supporting characters that are hard to keep up to. I really like how the female characters have strong personalities. Like the independent Katie, who’s working in an entertainment industry by looking after celebrities.The spunky Lydia, who may not have a glamorous job but trying very hard to be a responsible one. She spends most of her time fussing about her mom. There’s hilarious Jemima, the telephone psychic, who feels the presence of the mysterious visitor. The couple, Matt and Maeve is a mystery. They seem to love each other but they also seem unhappy. It is evident that there is something not right going on. They are trying to masks this by doing an act of kindness every single day. The romantic relationships of the single tenants are going in circles and for some, I agree that it’s plausible. I just don’t understand the thing between Lydia and Andrei. Why does it have to happen like that? Anyway, what I like about the characters are their flawed personalities which make them more realistic and make it easier for me to relate to them. I feel like somewhere in Dublin, these people really exist. I can’t pick a favorite, to be honest. They are all likable in their own way. Well, aside from Rosie, Andrei’s love interest. Her self-righteous attitude annoys me to no end. I also like the mysterious factor of the narrator, the purpose of its presence will keep you guessing.      

The story tackles some serious issues that might be considered taboo by some people. And it affects me in so many kinds of way as it hit something personal. It will be hard to go into details without revealing much. All I can say is, those things happen to our society and we must keep an open mind and try to understand and help the people who experience such monstrosities and struggles. And maybe, just maybe, people will have a different perspective about it. The book may have explored some serious issues but it still had an overall feel-good vibe and optimistic tone to it.

The Brightest Star in the Sky is a witty and charming book but also deals with some serious matter. Marian Keyes is a brilliant writer, that much is true. I thoroughly enjoyed it but I have some reservations about recommending it to young readers as it contains sensitive topics. But if you are the type to enjoy chick-lit, go ahead and give this one a go. I should warn you, though, that it is rather a thick book. 

RATING: 4/5

4hearts

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(*Photos and synopsis courtesy of Goodreads)

Purchase it on Amazon.com: The Brightest Star in the Sky

Purchase it on Amazon.co.uk: The Brightest Star in the Sky

Purchase it on Amazon.fr: The Brightest Star in the Sky

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