Tuesday 25 June 2019

Review ~ M for Mammy by Eleanor O'Reilly

Two Roads
March 2019

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
Meet the Augustts: a loving, Irish family who, like all families, are a bit complicated. But they are bound together by their love for each other and the way their words shape their world.

Things become even more complicated when the mother has a stroke, and the force of nature who is Granny Mae-Anne comes to try and take charge to keep the family together.

She has a job on. There's the son Jacob with all his words trapped in his head by The Autism, the father Mickey struggling to express himself at all, and Jenny, the daughter, quietly writing it all down to try and make sense of it.

My thoughts..

M for Mammy is quite a different sort of story which offers a powerful message about the bond of family and of the drama of holding everything together when it seems as if the world is falling apart.

The Augustts are a loving Irish family who have their share of family problems but they are somehow muddling, as best they can, through life. Told in a series of clear voices a story emerges of a family on the brink of  significant change especially since early on in the book, mum, Annette Augustt, suffers a debilitating illness and Granny Mae-Anne, the family matriarch, with a heart of gold, and penchant for apple crumble steps into the brink, keeping the family together in her own inimitable style.

M  for Mammy is an interesting story, parts of which I thought worked better than others as some of the narrative is a little bit over long in places, but that didn't spoil my enjoyment of this lovely story. I thought the characterisation was excellent, especially little Jenny who I loved from the start, especially her written composition about A Good Day which opens the book,  her description of eating chips with her dad and little brother Jacob, fairly sizzled on the page. Jacob's autism is particularly well done and I heard his voice loud and clear, however, Granny Mae-Anne was, for me, the glue that kept the story together, and, believe me, every family needs a granny just like her!

M for Mammy is a good debut novel and I look forward to seeing what the author does next.

About the Author

Eleanor O’Reilly is a teacher of English and Classical Studies in Co. Wexford who has just completed an MA in Creative Writing at Manchester Metropolitan University. Having first started writing five years ago, she has received several literary prizes, including the 2015 RTE Francis McManus Radio Short Story Award and the 2013 William Trevor International Short Story Award, and has been shortlisted for several others, including the 2016 Colm Tóibín Literary Award.

She lives in a small town on the east coast of Ireland with her husband and daughter.

Twitter @eoreillyauthor


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