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  • Tatty
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This is the third book I have read by Christine Dwyer Hickey [see my reviews of Last Train from Laguria and Cold Eye Of Heaven]. As with another of my favourites Rose Tremain, Ms. Hickey has the rare knack of writing on totally different subjects with authority, drama and humour. She is a gem whom I am so glad I have found.
This book starts in 1964 and covers 6 or 7 years in the life of young Tatty taking us to her early teens as she copes with growing up in a family being destroyed by booze. One sister Deirdre is mentally handicapped while her clever sister Jeanne is asthmatic. Her brothers are scamps and the responsibility for them all is steadily heaped on the bright middle sibling, Tatty. She is her Dad's favourite and she shares with him many secrets of his dubious lifestyle. He is an engaging , likeable, wheeler dealer. Never short of a bob or two, popular in the pub, admired by the ladies but where his cash comes from we are left to guess. The Mam starts as a typical harassed mother looking after her home and children and occasionally enjoying a drink or five with her sisters and pals. The family functions no better and no worse than many others in 1964 Dublin. |They have the outward appearance of a successful middle class family in their nice home with the family car and money for clothes and treats. The demon drink however is rotting the fabric of this family as the Mam becomes reliant on her daily binge and the Dad is out more and more returning very much the worse of booze. Family life degenerates to an existence level. The fights between Mam and Dad which used to be occasional are now one long battle.
This sounds like a depressing tale, but Ms. Hickey imbues it with humour and understanding. Some of the scrapes the children get into are hilarious and I found that in spite of their many faults, I could not bring myself to dislike Mam and Dad and in Tatty I found a young heroine in the style of "Mockingbird's" scout.
The well observed dialogue was scintillating, entertaining and at times heartbreaking as the 205 pages flew by. This is a must read. Well done Christine Dwyer Hickey.
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on 5 September 2009
'Tatty' starts gently, but masterfully reels you in until you can't put it down. The child's voice is completely compelling and never falters. A super piece of writing.
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Truly wonderfully written, from the perspective of a young girl, telling the story of her family in such a brutally honest way - the way of small children I suppose.
How the author has managed to get herself inside the head of a child so realistically is wonderful, it is often funny and often very sad, but there is no 'feeling sorry for myself' about it.
It's a hard book to finish, only because you grow to love Tatty and want to look after her.
I loved it and would recommend it to anyone.
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on 25 September 2010
Observed from child's-eye view, it includes all the stuff that adults forget about being a child.

I was excited to get to the end, and really sad that it is just a small book.

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on 28 July 2014
High expectations but disappointing.
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on 18 March 2012
tatty was an easy read. it wasnt anything special but it was enjoyable. i liked it . probably deserves a 3.5 stars out of 5
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