My Year of Binchy – Week 10: Ireland’s ‘Twin Peaks’?

Thursday, March 7
  • Book: Echoes
  • Chapters: Prologue – page 46
  • Location: Front stoop during the sunset. Currently 50 degrees and unwindy
  • Smoking: Still on the gorilla ish
  • Playlist: The Leftovers 1+2+3
  • Did I cry? Yes, but it had nothing to do with the book. It happens every time I try to singalong with “Homeward Bound”

Oh shit this starts with a mysterious water death!! Am I gonna be reading an Irish Twin Peaks??

Okay, I’m just gonna have to tell you what page I end on every night, because “Part One” will take me three and a half hours according to my Kindle and I think it will get too chilly by that time. Plus I have to eat and stuff. I have Brussels sprouts a-marinating.

A lot of Maeve’s books, if not most, tackle class warfare and I guess that is another thing I didn’t remember or realize. Feelings were really the only things I focused on, I guess – or the ones that stuck with me. Characters for sure. I can’t wait to get to Mutty and Lizzie. But the worldview big picture thing didn’t really land with my brain.

Okay, this section takes place between 1950 and 1952 and one of the characters they just introduced has been away from boarding school for a year, due to scarlet fever. I didn’t realize this was such a recent occurrence. Not one that closed down entire rich kid schools for a year, at least!

Friday, March 8
  • Book: Echoes
  • Chapters: Page 47 – 93
  • Location: Front stoop, albeit rainy and bleh – 47 degrees
  • Smoking: Gorilla stuff
  • Playlist: The Leftovers 1+2+3
  • Did I cry? Yes, when the combination of this one song with the lyrics “We’re not waves, we’re ripples” and reflecting on what a nice fellow Gerry Doyle seems to be.

In a strange turn of events, I think I am drawn most to a male character in this particular book. Normally, Im drawn to a female character, because I find it easy to see myself in her. In this book, I see myself in David, a doctor’s son.

Huh. Let’s see where this goes.

It is wild how much progress has been made for women, but also wild that it feels like we are kind of standing still, considered less than somehow. In this book David is bemoaning the fact that his tutor (who is teaching him while his boarding school is closed due to scarlet fever) is a woman, saying, “Wasn’t it a pity you weren’t a man? You could have been a priest and taught us properly!”

Despite David learning more with the tutor than he ever did at boarding school – and he tells her this!!

Yikes.

I am in love with how thoroughly I’m getting to know all these characters before anything major happens to them. With that cold open, though, I can’t help but wonder which one of these people that I am falling in love with met their end in the water.

Gerry Doyle seems like a very easy person to be around. Everyone needs someone like that in their life.

Saturday, March 9
  • Book: Echoes
  • Chapters: pages 94 – 136
  • Location: Front porch, gloomy af, 44 degrees
  • Smoking: a mish mash
  • Playlist: 2024 Oscar Nominated Soundtracks and Songs (getting ready for my favorite holiday tomorrow)
  • Did I cry? Yes. This line did it: “He could only see that they were fine with their own beliefs and he didn’t think the Lord wanted them changed at all.” I feel this in the tiniest part in the deepest part of my being.

One thing that is taking me all the way aback during this read is what age is considered “old”. Like, 28 is OLD. What am I then? I am nearly twice that! But I don’t feel that old in my head.

Well, maybe in 1950s ireland standards I feel old.

I do feel seen by Clare (main character) getting yelled at by her older sister for ‘pretending she understood poetry’. Yoof. That took me back immediately to playing Scrabble with my ex and him losing it repeatedly because he said I made up words, despite them being in the dictionary.

We didn’t really play Scrabble more than once.

Gosh the town doctor’s attitude towards sleeping pills is it. “It’s no use just knocking yourself out with these.” He understood the root cause needs to be fixed or helped, not ignored and sleeping pills piled atop it.

Sometimes I feel very cold for not talking to some of my family. This book makes me feel less guilty about it. There seems to be a lot more pressure than previous generations to stay in touch and stay in contact all the time. That wasn’t always so. Freshly matriculated children went off to England for work, never to be seen again.

The daughters of the town drunk go off and get married and their mom never gets to meet her grandchildren. The mother also covered up her husband’s alcoholism in a manner that both gives me the shivers and feels familiar.

I remember talking about my dad to my friend Tina one time and telling her (proudly, at the time) that my dad’s favorite beer was Amberbock and he kept the fridge stocked with it. She asked simply and without judgement, “How many a day did he have?”

And I couldn’t answer her because there wasn’t a number. It’s just what he was always drinking.

”Your dad was probably an alcoholic.”

That made me feel super offended then. I mean he held a job! Owned a company! Raised two kids! Was married! Was fun! Sometimes yelled at us but I couldn’t ever figure out a pattern to what made that switch flip! Smelled sour sometimes! Always passed out in his chair!

Yeah, I think she was right. I wish I would have had the time and brain capacity to learn this when I was so much younger. However, my brain was ate up with making a living so me and my kid could survive. My main goal always was not getting fired, which led me to get spun up in my lil undiagnosed OCD brain and, you guessed it… get let go.

The daughters did what is best for them and hopefully broke the cycle that their mom was stuck in. I wish for nothing more than that.

I keep waffling on this book – I’m not really attached to any of the characters in a strong way like I normally am. However it gives me a lot of room for self-reflection which feels important and good.

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