Told from four different perspectives, this is a charming generational tale that is ultimately deeply moving and powerful. Young Mary O’Hara’s granny is in the hospital. Just when Mary and her mother are sure they can’t handle the grim situation anymore, a mysterious woman appears, full of friendliness, comfort, and what seems to be very specific knowledge about Granny. Gradually, Mary, her mother, and her grandmother realize that the woman isn’t a stranger at all: she’s Tansey, Granny’s mother who died years and years ago.
In one night, the three women and the girl revisit their family’s past and embrace their present. Together they visit the old farm where it all began, and, along the way, their individual stories are told.
I couldn’t put this lovely story down. If the above synopsis sounds vaguely like a road trip story you’ve read before, think again. Roddy Doyle’s little novel is a sweet, gentle story that never goes over the top with melodrama. It’s truthful without being harsh, nostalgic without being sappy, and humorous without trying too hard. And it’s just the right length. It’s been a long time since I’ve said that about a book, and it feels good! It’s easily read in an afternoon, and it still has the perfect emotional impact. Well done, Mr. Doyle!
I love this book. I think my mom will, too.
A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle; Amulet Books (Abrams); 16.95; Ages 9+