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On Charlotte's Shoulders Paperback – 7 Oct 2013
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In a dank Dublin tenement in 1942, Julie meets a stranger – her father. Like her severely ill sisters, her father is on the periphery of her early family life, whereas her ma is her bedrock – a feisty hard-working woman who singlehandedly struggles to put food on the table and shoes on the feet of her large family, and does not suff er fools gladly.
Young Julie plays happily in the street with her siblings and cousins, dreaming of being a singer, unaware of many of her ma’s daily battles and ignorant of a better life, but as she grows into a young woman and sees her family go through poverty, illness and heart-breaking troubles, she understands the extent of her ma’s bravery.
On Charlotte’s Shoulders is a touching family portrait of the challenges of Irish family life in the 40s and 50s.
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It has lots of descriptive text which I would complain about in other genres but is so necessary in this story and almost comforting to read.
The story is told from the perspective of Charlotte living in Dublin and is about the everyday life of her and her family. From the first page it invited me in and kept me involved and interested.
I really cared about Charlotte, her ma and da and the antics of her family.
The ending is neat but leaves the opportunity for another book, I do hope there is one.
At times I have laughed out loud and at other have had a lump in my throat like few books manage to provoke. I've not enjoyed a book so much in a long time. I almost can't wait until my next commute to read a few more chapters!
The writing can seem quite childlike, however it is this very fact that makes it so endearing, as these are the words of Julie, one of the many children in an ever expanding Catholic household. Often sad, with dark laughter and the determination to get through whatever life should throw at them. This book will take you there.