I renewed my love for Circle of Friends with the hindsight of knowing the ending already. This alters your perspective of your old friend, the novel. Not only do small parts you had forgotten become more magical but it helps you to refresh your opinions of the characters. This time I found myself, quite delightfully, not being swooned by Jack Foley's boyish charms and movie-star good looks. Rather, I fell a little more than head over heels for Aidan Lynch. Somewhat of a class clown, but unafraid to be strikingly honest and witty at the same time. Aidan Lynch is the face of a real gentleman. I love how he consistently jokes with Eve about the eight children they will one day have. How they will spend lovely days in her Knockglen cottage on the quarry while he finishes his law degree. (Okay, the lawyer thing makes him a little more appealing as well.) Aidan is a true gentleman through and through, and in a world becoming increasingly filled with Jack Foley's, he is a breath of fresh air. Attentive, direct, and unashamed, Aidan is more manly than all the Rugby playing Jack's in the whole world. A relationship should be much more like the one shared by Eve and Aidan, and nothing like those moments with Benny and Jack because the roller-coaster they ride on will never build the foundation for a stable life. Just know, Aidan Lynch's of the world, I finally appreciate you and am on a mission to find you.
I am sad to say, that through my first reading the romance of Aidan and Eve took lesser notice, but the Jack Foley's of the world have a tendency to steal center stage. It isn't surprising with all his charisma, easy friendship, devotion, and that winning smile that he overpowers his cute sidekick. Things about Jack Foley cause you to overlook his faults, compensate for them, and even want him back despite whatever has happened. Yet, this time around I have learned my lesson. Jack Foley...I AM OVER YOU! (Even if you resemble Chris O'Donnell.) Your deceptive plans and inability to deal with real issues has helped me to look beyond all your superficiality. Be a man. Confront the situation. And definitely don't come crawling back like a lost puppy once all is said and done. Maybe you should take a card from Aidan's book. He is the real winner in the end. He isn't overcome by his selfish desires. He sees all of Eve's beauty and color despite her somewhat coarse exterior. All the confidence in the world couldn't save you now. For me, and the rest of the Dublin crew, you and the likes of you will forever remain on the outskirts of the circle of friends.
I did once again want to walk the main road of Knockglen and stop for a bite at Mario's cafe. I wanted to mock Mrs. Healy with her pretentious attitude next to Clodagh and her aunt, Peggy Pine. I was ultimately satisfied when the greasy and weaselly Sean Walsh earned his due and was cast out. I wanted to traipse the streets of Dublin while visiting the cinema, the rugby club, and attending debates. I want to stay the night in Dun Laoghaire. I want to stop at Carlo's cafe with Benny. I wanted to tell Simon Westward how shallow he was, and Nan Mahon how she was even worse. The charm of Ireland is only enhanced by the magnificent story and rich language found in the eloquence of Maeve Binchy. I guess you could say she has truly taught me the lessons of becoming more independent and standing on my own two feet. She has helped me to recognize a true friend. She has taught me to form a Circle of Friends.