THE MAMMY by BRENDAN O'CARROLL.
May container spoilers, hi-light if you wish.
Agnes Browne is a formidable woman. By day she sells fruit and vegetables from a stall in Dublin's bustling Moore Street.By night, she is wife to Redser Browne and mammy, nurse, teacher and psychiatrist to her unruly brood of seven children.
Then Redser dies.
How Agnes copes with widowhood, with the help of her best pal Marion, an unquenchable sense of humour and the attentions of the amorous Pierre, makes this memorable and moving account of one woman's life and of inner city Dublin in the late 60's.
..... Outer back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1: 29 March 1967 - Dublin): Like all government buildings, the interior of the public waiting room in the Department of Social Welfare was drab and uninviting.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 93): "How do you plead, woman?" the Justice snapped.
"Well, I kinda' squash me face up like this ...." Agnes squashed up her face and turned the sides of her mouth downwards, "... and I say ah go on, please .... go on."
MY THOUGHTS: The inspiration behind the tv series MRS BROWNE'S BOYS though those of you who are familiar with the concept should be warned that though this, the first book in a trilogy, feels familiar, indeed some of the scenes (The 'Organism') even made it to the tv version, it isn't exactly the Mrs Browne that you know and (possibly) love. And as for those not familiar, read The Mammy and enjoy.
On the whole a truly humorous read that I felt captured the essence of many a Dubliner without being full of Irish stereotypes. My only concern being that, translated into many different languages (10 I seem to recall), the humour might not be understood by all. Still, a tragicomedy that one minute will have you laughing tears of laughter, the next, tears of sadness, this is essentially a wonderfully warm book all about family and the deep abiding friendship between two women both of which of course are universal themes.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: A present from Husband dearest, The Mammy is definitely one for the shelves after it has been passed around various family and friends that is.
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