This is the story of Peter Sheridan and his life in Dublin. It gives a portrait of an Irish family as they chart their way through the 1960s, following the author's journey from boy to man.
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There's plenty of good material here. There's his Ma and Da, his umpteen brothers and sisters, their lodgers, births, deaths--all against a backdrop of an Ireland that is losing its innocence. But to an extent that's all by the by. Sure, it's important to catch both the humour and pathos, but where Sheridan really triumphs is in his ability to capture both the mind and voice of adolescence. So many books of this type credit the teenager with too much insight and reflectiveness. But adolescence isn't like that. I know that teenagers imagine they are fantastically deep, but the simple truth is that they aren't. Growing up is too fast, too overwhelming to really understand at the time. It only makes sense in retrospect. And this is how Sheridan tells it. He conveys the ambivalence of growing up brilliantly. By any objective token, his father is an abusive, arrogant, selfish man. But Sheridan does not ram this down our throats. Instead, he lets the facts speak for themselves while musing on the love and affection he holds for him. This childish dichotomy--the ability to accept the unacceptable and to believe the unbelievable--runs through the book. We see it in his schooling and in his dealings with other members of his family and friends. This consistency of tone creates a powerful picture of the confusion of growing up. And made me profoundly grateful that I don't have to go through it again. --John Crace --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.