1950s southern Ireland is not a native place for Gilla Christe, an eleven-year-old English boy. 'Some Lessons in Gaelic' by McCawley Grange is a rites-of-passage tale charting his childhood to adolescence, in which, due to financial misfortune, Gilla and his family have been transplanted to rural Ireland in the 1950s. We share his minor triumphs. We share his lesser successes with unsympathetic country boys. We sigh for ourselves when we watch his awkward interaction with the adult world. Girls are another species, and because unobtainable (to him) frustrate rather than satisfy his first sexual cravings. Much of this goes on under the watchful eyes of the Christian Brothers, who at times exhibit a matter-of-fact brutality, at others sympathy and understanding. It's a well-plotted novel, with dark undertones and memorably drawn characters, and is told with candour, humour and a genuine sense of humanity.