Meet the Augustts – a loving Irish family, who like so many other families, are a little bit complicated. Bound together by love they have their own quirky ways of managing each others emotions, behaviours and traits until misfortune strikes and they have to figure life out all over again. Queue Granny Mae-Anne – the BEST character I’ve read so far this year (and I’ve read over 25 books already some of which are amazing).
Sometimes, a book makes me want to find out more about the author. Especially a book that touches on Autism – because I want to know how the author got to understand it at such a level that they could then write something so gripping about it. This book is one of those. I spent time reading about Eleanor O’Reilly as I pieced together this review – even before I had finished reading the book. That rarely happens – but there were so many moments in this book that I wanted to capture that I had to begin in advance to do my review justice.
“Sr Mary Assumpta up in the office is the boss nun. Da says she’s like 159 years old in Nun Years. Nun Years are different from human years. Da says nuns live longer than people do. It’s like when they’re born they look like they are about thirty but then everything slows down, so they never really look older than sixty-eight no matter what age they are. Every Nun Year is equal to about twelve human years or something like that. Da says there’s even a Nun Year Converter online to work out the age of a Nun.”
Honestly. I’ve read that paragraph out-loud to more than one person and ended up dissolving in laughter every single time. This book is just so brilliant that you’ll wish you’d written it.
Descriptions, in this book, are epic. We are told the family story through the eyes of each individual character but young Jenny’s story at the start is the one that grips me. Her young years definitely show but at the same time there’s a level of maturity captured throughout that is completely realistic and admirable.
“And then Granny says she offered up a novena to St Anthony that morning coz it was Tuesday and that’s the only day of the week that he works and coz St Anthony’s the saint of lost things she thought he might be able to help Jacob find his lost voice. Da laughed out real loud and Granny says she doesn’t know why he’s laughing coz there’s more chance of Jacob finding his voice than there is of Da finding a job and then Da says F-off with his mouth but not with his voice…”
About the author – M for Mammy is Eleanor O’Reilly’s debut novel and she is described as an emerging Irish talent. I never liked that word ‘Emerging’ when describing talent. Her talent isn’t emerging at all. It’s pretty much right there out in the open, in this book and in everything that she does! She is full of talent. Permanent Irish talent! Authors all come from somewhere before they ‘Author’ something and O’Reilly is a teacher of English and Classical Studies in Co. Wexford. She is utterly brilliant. Check this article out to understand why.
M for Mammy is available to pre-order from Waterstones and will be published on the 21st March. Not long to wait now!