We all fall as children and some of us fall harder than other but no matter how hard the fall or black the bruise, we have to find ways of getting back up and moving on. Yet life has a way of repeatedly tripping us up physically, emotionally, spiritually and psychologically. Generally we are able to pick ourselves up and if we are lucky we can rely upon going home to lick our wounds; turning to our families, friends and cultures. But what if home is in Northern Ireland in the 1960s at the beginning and throughout “the troubles” and through the author’s childhood and adolescence? What if the adults are also falling and that the cultural and political fabric of life is being ripped to shreds? To what and to where does a young child turn in order to rise from the fall? The author, tells the story of how she grew up in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles, in a large catholic family, with a father who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, and a mother whose extraordinary courage, resilience and determination ensures that her family will pick themselves up from the falls as they battle through poverty, politics, religion, mental illness as well as the more ordinary business of growing up. The mother’s mantra “if you fall run on” is a golden thread that weaves its way through the comedy and tragedy of this deeply moving, dramatic and inspirational story. The unique nature of this narrative is in the interplay and dialogue between the author’s voice as a child and her adult mind as a psychoanalytic psychotherapist as she tells her story of how she tries to make sense of her world whilst growing up during a significant period in modern history.
Most books on the subject of war and of N. Ireland are either fictional or are politically driven and I don’t know of any narratives which convey real ordinary life events through the extraordinary context of a war which spanned thirty years and where religion was part of the cause and the cure of human suffering. Although the concrete has yet to dry on the N. Ireland Peace Process a book of this nature and style is timely. Essentially this is a book which celebrates the life of a Northern Irish mother; her family and community and reveals how she and many mothers’ like her managed to fight for the lives of their children during one of the darkest periods of Ireland’s most recent history.
Genre: History/ Inspirational/ Personal Growth
Other writers in this category include:
Jimmy Boyle A sense of freedom
Brian Keenan An Evil Cradling Frank McCourt Angela’s Ashes