A Greyhound of a Girl – Roddy Doyle

Received from Netgalley for review, thank you. I love the one-sentence premise: that four generations of Irish women are on a road trip – “one is dead, one is dying, one is driving, and one is just starting out.” And that is the strict truth.

I own a book or two by Roddy Doyle, but this is the first I’ve read by him. I don’t know what I was expecting – but this wasn’t it. Maggie, Scarlett, Emer, and Tansey are vibrant and individual, and believable: Maggie is a precocious 12-year-old, and somewhat obnoxious; Scarlett, her mother, is bouncy and inextinguishable (no matter how hard Maggie tries); Emer, her mother, is on her deathbed, but the glimpses into her heart and her past show her to be tough and pragmatic; Tansey is a little of the best of all of this, loving and gently regretful that she never had the chance to raise Emer and she frightens Scarlett a little and she can’t feel Maggie’s hand in hers. I can’t say I liked all of them all of the time; I never warmed to Maggie at all, I’m sorry to say. Emer’s toughness was not lovable to me, and neither were Scarlett’s !!!’s. I loved Tansey, though, and that made up for it all.

Taken all in all, I was moved by this story; I recommend it for anyone facing impending loss, or recent loss. Or for anyone with strong women in their life. Or – need I say? – for anyone with Irish blood. It’s a lovely, silly, stirring thing, and I’m glad I broke the ice with it.

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