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That's That: A Memoir [Kindle Edition]

Colin Broderick
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.83
You Save: $5.17 (34%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

A brutally honest and deeply affecting memoir about growing up in the countryside in rebel country in Northern Ireland.

Colin Broderick was born in 1968 and spent his childhood in Tyrone county, in Northern Ireland. It was the beginning of the period of heightened tension and violence known as the Troubles, and Colin's Catholic family lived in the heart of rebel country. The community was filled with Provisional IRA members whose lives depended on the silence and complicity of their neighbors. At times, that made for a confusing childhood. We watch as he and his brothers play ball with the neighbor children over a fence for years, but are never allowed to play together because it is forbidden. We see him struggle to understand why young men from his community often just disappear. And we feel his confusion when he is held at gunpoint at various military checkpoints in the North. But even when Colin does ask his parents about these events, he never receives a clear explanation. Desperate to protect her children, Colin's mother tries to prevent exposure to or knowledge of the harm that surrounds them. Spoken with stern finality, "That's that" became the refrain of Colin's childhood.

The first book to paint a detailed depiction of Northern Ireland's Troubles is presented against a personal backdrop and is told in the wry, memorable voice of a man who's finally come to terms with his past.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

An Essay by Colin Broderick

Colin Broderick

It was my agent who suggested I tackle my Northern Irish childhood. I said, “No.” She said, “I think you should.” I said, “No.”

At the time, I was newly sober, interred in a small cottage in Northern Ireland with wife number three. It was cold, wet, and gray, in a way that only Northern Ireland can be. We were expecting a baby, our first. I was back living in County Tyrone, a stone’s throw from my parent’s house, after twenty years away in New York. Being back “home” had resurrected in me all the old ghosts of the past throwing my internal compass wildly off kilter. I was in no mood for revisiting childhoods. But my agent had planted a seed, and that seed took root.

I started writing That’s That the same month my daughter Erica was born an Irish citizen. We moved back to New York a few months later and I became consumed with getting to the heart of what had happened to me as a boy. I’d already chronicled the madness of my addiction and alcoholism in my memoir Orangutan. It was time to get at the “why”. I needed to go back into my childhood and look for answers. I had nowhere to turn but inward for the answers, so I dug.

The digging was hell. My wife left to avoid the dark. I dug some more. I went a bit mad. I dug some more. I had to. My daughter’s future depended upon it. I could see that if I were to rid myself of the shadows that followed me I had to dig on, for clarity, for her. So I dug.

What does it mean to be from Northern Ireland? What was the war, The Troubles, all about? How did religion define our nationality?

In That’s That I have used my own childhood as the focal point to paint a vivid portrait of Northern Ireland and The Troubles as a whole. This is a story of a war and a family who survived in the midst of that war.

Does it matter to you that this book has already been successful for me? I am indebted to my agent and to the editors who pushed and carried me on through this process. War inevitably robs children of their innocence. This book has helped me finally come to terms with that loss. Northern Irish hunger striker Bobby Sands said famously, “Our revenge will be the laughter of our children.”

My daughter is the happiest little girl I know.

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Broderick (Orangutan) was raised in Northern Ireland's County Tyrone during the "Troubles" that spanned nearly four decades. These formative years are told through snippets of daily life: beatings from teachers at his school, conversations with relatives, and various "firsts" as an adolescent. The news of the day—the bombings, kidnappings, and murders of Catholics and Protestants—influenced the everyday routine under his protective mother. Desperate to keep her family safe, she refuses him any independence: "The answer is no, and that's that." With her son on the brink of total rebellion, she relents and Broderick matures from the mischievous, curious altar boy into a teenager with everything to prove and nothing to lose. Somehow, Broderick keeps the reader on the edge of laughter through many otherwise horrifying experiences and bad choices. He is a storyteller of great depth, sharing his life with the kind of brutal honesty and narrative skill rarely expected or found in a memoirist. Broderick is a writer's writer who has achieved a profound telling of his experience of Northern Ireland's Troubles. (May)

Product Details

  • File Size: 1291 KB
  • Print Length: 370 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307716333
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (May 7, 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0083DJXL8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,890 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gripping story from one who lived the "Troubles" March 13, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Colin Broderick grew up Catholic in Northern Ireland during the time of the Troubles. This memoir about his childhood leads inexorably to that fork in the road: Will he join the fight or will he walk away?

After you read Mr. Broderick's memoir, you realize what a courageous choice he has made. His book made me experience the Troubles in a way I never did from the pages of a newspaper. It made me understand his rage, his escape into alcohol and drugs, his desperate desire to flee the constricting confines of his home, no matter what he is fleeing to.

Although the book is about Mr. Broderick's political awakening, it is clearly his mother, Claire, who dominates the book. She is the iron gate against which her son repeatedly throws himself. She nixes nights at the dance, runs off girlfriends, shushes his commentary on the evening news, rails about his drinking. "Because I said so, and that's that," she would say, ending every argument.

In the end, we understand her controlling ways -- when there's every possibility that in the wider world you could be shot or bombed or imprisoned and tortured, of course you want to keep your kids safe. But his mother's boundaries will not hold, and Mr. Broderick eventually breaks out on his own, making his own choices, and they are mostly dangerous ones.

I grew up in the same era as the author and was caught up short every time the author mentioned some familiar news event (Bobby Sands and the Irish hunger strikers) or a beloved band (Santana or Van Morrison), because in some ways he writes about an Irish upbringing that is timeless. Except for these references, you could easily be reading along in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, as Mr.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A New Favorite May 9, 2013
Format:Paperback
I was lucky enough to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway which landed me a really cool uncorrected proof copy (which is the greatest thing ever in and of itself because I am a true nerd and appreciate such things!). Aside from being quite happy just for that reason alone, I was also very pleased that this book turned out to be a really great book and one that I am so glad that I got the chance to read. I had to wait to post this review on Amazon until the book had its official Amazon release so here it is now (of course it's a few days after the official release because that's seems to be how I roll these days).

The first thing that struck me about this book was that it started out with a wonderful little history lesson. The first chapter (not a grueling multi-chapter history lesson) gives you just enough information that you get a good idea of historically built up hatred and how it managed to keep on building over the years for one reason or another. I'm simplifying here because, as you know if you read my reviews ever, I am a `I-am-not-telling-you-the-juicy-details-because-you-need-to-read-it-for-yourself-to-find-out-what-happens-but-I'll-give-you-just-a-little-bit-then-the-rest-is-up-to-you' type of person. I hate reviews that ruin things so I won't ruin anything if I can help it. So, as I was typing there, the beginning gives you a nice bit of history to get you going so that you can be nice and prepared to understand the story.

This book is really unique in that it is told from the perspective of one that is brought up in Ireland at the time of extreme violence and hardship known as the Troubles. Personally, I'd not really heard too much of this myself, just the basic stuff that you hear from the parents/grandparents, passed down but not really much of anything.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Started reading and couldn't put the book down... June 6, 2013
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Any book which begins with "Every drink poured in an Irish bar leads back to the mother..." has to be a great read, and Colin Broderick doesn't disappoint the reader. In this autobiography of his Catholic childhood in Northern Ireland, he offers sparing details - some authors wrongly believe we want all kinds of excessive details that are only marginally relevant to the story. Broderick avoids this fatal flaw, making "That's That: A Memoir" absolutely fascinating, in a period of modern history that hasn't been seriously documented from a first-person perspective.

The author also gives as minimal a history as is necessary for the reader to understand the thousand-year battle between England, Irish Catholics and Protestants, about ten pages. One thing he mentions, although only in a paragraph or two, is a bit of significant history that has been largely unrecognized or acknowledged by those outside of Ireland. An estimated 100,000 Irish citizens were kidnapped and taken to the West Indies, where they toiled as slaves alongside African slaves, usually until they starved to death or died from the abuse and the overwork. There's a really important book "White Cargo: The Forgotten History of Britain's White Slaves," which documents the history of the enslaved Irish, including countless numbers of young children who were kidnapped off the streets of Ireland and taken to the West Indies as slaves.

Broderick does often reference the thousand years of conflict between Great Britain and the Irish. It's a stark and sobering reminder of how different our (American) history has been - we count our battles in decades (Vietnam War, the decade after the 9/11 attacks, etc.), but other cultures mark their unresolved disputes by hundred or even thousand-year markers.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent prequel to Orangutan
Excellent prequel to Orangutan. It's an amazing coming of age story about a boy who stands for a symbol for an entire country. The writing is so good that you forget it's a book. Read more
Published 11 days ago by goNYgoNYgo
4.0 out of 5 stars Funny and Depressing all at the same time
THis book gives a wonderfully incisive look into what it was like growing up in Northern Ireland during the height of the troubles. Scenes are person, moving, and educational. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Steph19
5.0 out of 5 stars A different kind of a memoir
It's now been several months since I read this book, I might have to read it again. The author grew up in Northern Ireland. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Martha J. Rozkydal
5.0 out of 5 stars Family, history, Ireland
In That's That the author's mother strives to shield her family from the Troubles rocking Northern Ireland. Read more
Published 10 months ago by MElise
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Engaging And Informative
"That's That: A Memoir" by Colin Broderick is a highly engaging memoir of growing up in war torn Catholic Northern Ireland during the era of the "Troubles. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Wilhelmina Zeitgeist
5.0 out of 5 stars Reminds me of Catcher in the Rye
This reminds me of Catcher in the Rye coming of age story. The character's voice is authentic. It pulls you in. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Jane Hinrichs
4.0 out of 5 stars A Northern Ireland Angela' s Ashes
A Northern Ireland Angela' s Ashes - a story of conflict, heartbreak, and a stern mother's love.
Broderick's honest and relatable voice clarifies the roots of the Irish... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Alexandra Henshel
4.0 out of 5 stars Ah,The Troubles...
I was very much looking forward to this book as two of my paternal family lines come from Country Tyrone, although they left Ireland in the 1830's so they missed the time of the... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Ms Winston
4.0 out of 5 stars Uniique View of the Irish during the troubles.
Colin Broderick, a young lad,and an Irish Catholic, has described his life in Ireland during the "troubles. Read more
Published 12 months ago by hasselaar
5.0 out of 5 stars First Rate Memior
"That's That: A Memoir" by Colin Broderick is a first rate read.

The history of Ireland is complicated and your view of it largely depends on whether you are Catholic or... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Jeffrey N. Fritz
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