31 Dream Street

I just finished reading 31 Dream Street by Lisa Jewell. Usually I’m not all that good at picking books that haven’t been recommended to me, but in this case I was thoroughly impressed with my selection.

It has a host if different characters, all from different walks of life, and portrays something so real and relevant to everyday life. I am a sucker for fantasy and get completely lost in the likes of my beloved Harry Potter and Twilight, but 31 Dream Street felt very real to me and I felt a real connection with many of the characters.

It’s written beautifully and is extremely comical. I love Lisa Jewell’s style of writing. Lots of short chapters that keep you enthralled throughout. Just how I like it.

The story jumps between the lives of Toby, Leah and his four tenants – Con, Melinda, Ruby and Joanne.  The initial story is set up by a series of letters which reveals Toby’s past and explains how it is that he ended up living with four strangers. The plot goes on to introduce Leah, the girl across the street, who, like Toby, seems to be trapped in a bit of a rut.

One ordinary day Leah is going about her business when she notices the old man (Gus) from across the road lying face down on the ground.  As she goes to investigate and discovers he is dead. She races to the ‘eccentric house’ across the street for help and meets Toby, the owner. This is their first meeting and a friendship quickly flourishes.

Their time spent together brings Toby out of his shell and gives him the courage to befriend and get to know his estranged tenants who he has been living with, in some cases, for over 16 years.  It becomes apparent that Gus’s death is the start of a new beginning, for Toby, but the other characters as well.

The book also addresses the illness Cystic Fibrosis. Jewell examines the disease in a conversational manner and looks at how it can affect people’s lives, as well as their loved one’s – something I feel can be applied to many illnesses or diseases and examines a basic human truth.

I really enjoyed this book and felt a connection on many different levels. I’d strongly recommend it.

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