“You can talk sh*te about your Irish blood but ah’ll tell ye for free, you’re sure as f*ck not Irish.”
Maeve, Aoife and Caroline are three Catholic friends living the summer between high school and college in a small town in Northern Ireland in the 1990’s. They go for a job at the local shirt factory where the workers are both Protestants and Catholics and learn what really goes on in the lives of the adults around them. Quickly they see how the factory exploits the poor, working them to the bone. The manager of the place is a bit of a lech making Maeve feel uncomfortable right from the get go. The girls begin learn that their differences aren’t as stark as their similarities and that there may be even bigger, more sinsiter forces at work behind it all.
I really enjoyed living with Maeve, she is a teen on the cusp of adulthood realizing just how much she doesn’t know about the world. Her viewpoints on the Troubles and the impact the violence and separatism had on her was so visceral. The ideas that were pervasive in that time separated logical and kind people so deeply that the chasm between them was almost impossible to cross. Maeve and her friends learn some lessons and teach us some as well. The writing is definitely a little gritty and at first it’s a bit uncomfortable, so if that’s not for you, I encourage you to stick with it. I’m glad I did.
Thanks to Algonquin Books for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?