Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars Irish four-letter words, 20 Nov 2013
This review is from: A Belfast Girl: A 1960s American Folk Music Legend Weaves Stories of a Girlhood on "The Singing Streets" of Ireland, Marriage in Scotl (Paperback)
Though I do not yet have a favorite story from my first reading, I do have a favorite sentence, in "The Awakening," when the author, Miss Kerr, was first working at fourteen: "There were some forty women and girls in the big stitching room, and it took me no time at all to gather that there was a hierarchy as rigid and plutocratic as the Court of Louis XIV...and a good deal scarier to boot. For example, the embroiderers kept their distance from the stitchers, whose work was sewing up small bibs and linens."(75) Other clubs include the Examiners and the Smoothers.
I did not read in order, but started from the story about an American visitor, Jo Johnson, a girl who may have prefigured generations of American brats. She was a brat to her own mom, would not accept a bracelet upon her parents' separation, so "Aunty" Ida bought another one, sent them both to the Kerr girls.
I proceeded to those on the most modern theme, about coming of age, "The Awakening" and "Dancing at Maxim's."
MKP has a developed ear for narrative, from years of story-telling. These grow from the oral tradition, but read well. Not easy to do. My last familiarity with actual oral accounts made literate are in books like Amoskeag, a collection of workers' stories.
I recall favorite points throughout, often highpoints of dialog, like "Food! Who cares about food!" or "I suppose I'm really getting to old to play these sorts of games"(59) or "There's not a real reader among them" (53).
Love the Irish four-letter words (usu five-letters) like the "faint skiff of sleet" (93). Sheugh, wean, and farls are a few others. The author actually holds back from the many dialect words that pepper her professional readings. This reader would have loved more.
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Location: Westport, MA, USA

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