From School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-"Cheeky," Dublin-raised Mary O'Hara, 12, is "not a little girl anymore," but she is still a child in many ways. With her beloved grandmother, Emer, dying in the hospital, Mary meets Tansey, her great-grandmother's ghost. Tansey has returned to assure Emer that dying is not so bad and "it'll all be grand." The narrative skips between time periods and the point of view alters among the perspectives of Mary, her mother, Emer, and Tansey. Readers learn that Tansey died of the flu in 1928 when Emer was only three and has been lingering near her ever since. The four generations of women go on a late-night road trip to the old family farm and the sea, a journey that allows them to learn about one another and helps them cope with past and future losses. The Irish dialect may delight some readers but frustrate others. Windows into the past give depth and meaning to each woman's struggle. The theme that love and affection are handed down through generations of women is a bit understated, but that's part of its charm. Occasionally, the frequent dialogue becomes tiresome and reads more like poetry. Pair this book with Jacqueline Kelly's The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (Holt, 2009). An affecting story about growing up, family, life, and death.-Richelle Roth, Boone County Public Library, KYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
About the Author
Roddy Doyle is the author of nine novels. He won the Man Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. His novels have been made into popular films, including The Commitments and The Snapper. He lives and works in Dublin, Ireland.