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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, 5 Jun 2010
By 
J. Sutton (Somerset, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tatty (Paperback)
I loved this book!

As the story begins, we are in 1964, and Caroline, known as `Tatty' to her family, is 4 years old. Her nickname is a play on the words tell-tale-tattler - she earns it because she's unable to keep secrets. She lives near Dublin with her Mam and Dad and her sisters - Jeannie who is two years older than her and Deirdre who has learning difficulties - and her two younger brothers.

Tatty's parents are drunks who have a volatile relationship. Tatty is particularly close to her Dad, and at times her Mam is very jealous of this closeness. As her parents' relationship breaks down, her mother's drinking becomes steadily worse, and she becomes more aggressive towards her children as they witness their parents' unhappiness.

The story moves through the years to the early 70s and Tatty goes away to boarding school, but life continues to be difficult for the family and the reader follows the emotional rollercoaster, wondering if there ever be a happy ending for this optimistic, vulnerable child and her siblings.

The story is narrated by Tatty. There are no speech marks - it's told in first person, which occasionally, but intentionally, slips into third person. This style of writing really helps to capture Tatty's personality and adds to the overall feeling of her fierce independence mixed with childhood innocence.

If you like books that tie up all the loose ends then this book might not be the one for you, but personally I like to have a bit of something to think about and I really enjoyed it.
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55 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Warm, sweet, funny, sad and unsentimental - a great read, 13 May 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Tatty (Paperback)
This book made me laugh out loud on the bus. It made me cry into my pillow.
I felt obliged to read this book because I'm from an alcoholic family, I'm from Dublin and I'm about the same age as the author.
I was expecting something along the lines of Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt - dark, gritty and miserable. What I got was more along the lines of "Vernon Godlittle" by DBC Pierre and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the night-time" by Mark Haddon - funny, sweet and moving.
I loved the author's way of observing and describing little details such as the ringlets "squirting" out of the head of one of Tatty's classmates. I had to laugh at some of the language that is so particularly Irish - like the word "ecker" for homework. I wonder if a glossary of terms might have been useful for those unfamiliar with such slang words.
Tatty is, inevitably, a sad book as it deals with a child lost in the tragedy of a dysfunctional family but it's not depressing or sentimental, judgemental or didactic. It's warm, real, hilarious at parts and speaks from a child's heart.
Finally, I have to pay tribute to the book's cover - it's a beautiful, quiet photograph of a girl, head bowed, hair akimbo - lovely.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bittersweet tale of a dysfunctional family, 29 July 2005
This review is from: Tatty (Paperback)
A heart breaking tale of a childhood ruined by alcoholism. This book clutches at the heart strings throughout as it depicts how alcoholics try and fool not only themselves but their children. It is written very matter of a factly in the childs own words and not a bit sentimental. This charts the year in the life of a very dysfunctional family.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars both heartwarming and heart breaking, 14 April 2007
By 
Ms. K. Thomas (Essex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tatty (Paperback)
I randomly picked this up from a display of Orange Prize Nominees in the library. I'd seen it mentioned elsewhere earlier this week, though I have no recollection of where.

This was a superb, though very short read. The author creates the childs voice superbly, although I could never get to grips with which narrative voice she was using, sometimes it appeared to be in the second person, sometimes in the third and sometimes I felt like the child was talking about herself in the third person. This would normally irritate the hell out of me, yet in this book it didn't matter. I was transported to a world of a five year old; trying to get to grips with the intricacies of the pub and her Dad's workmates, a 7 year old watching her mother struggle to get her disabled sister into a normal school, a world of many Aunts who bad-mouthed your father and the escape of boarding school.

The charatcer is loveable, standing out from her tumbled family, dealing in her own way with her parents alcoholism and abandonment.

If you liked Carry Me Down, My Sister's Keeper or The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time try this.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Through the eyes of a child, 9 Jun 2007
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This review is from: Tatty (Paperback)
This is the description of a dysfunctional Irish family ruined by a number of difficult and emotional situations, seen through the eyes of one of their children, Tatty. Alcoholism plays a big part in this harrowing story and the seemingly detached tone with which Tatty describes her feelings and the events taking place, is quite heartbreaking.
I also think that the absence of speech/quotation marks during dialogues didn't tarnish in any way the fluency of the narrative. A very nice book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Dwyer Hickey does it again., 5 Dec 2012
By 
Ann Maguire (Birmingham UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Tatty (Paperback)
As usual, a very well written work from Dwyer Hickey. Fascinating and takes one back to Ireland of some time ago. Enjoyed it very much.
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Tatty
Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey (Paperback - 1 Feb 2004)
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