‘Drinking means bad breath and crusted shirt-fronts and bottles of milk wolfed down as a meal and waking in the morning on a pile of coats with noclean knickers and being thin, being cold, being sick’
O’Faolain, a journalist for the Irish Times, was asked to collect her columns for publication, but the introduction she sat down to write eventually expanded into this beautifully cadenced and moving memoir, into which many of the columns have been folded. The second of nine children, O’Faolain lived a bohemian childhood with little money and many books. Her father, a well- known journalist in Ireland, left to her mother the responsibility for their children. O’Faolain’s mother read voraciously and drank with a similar appetite, often neglecting her children. O’Faolain explores the role of women in Ireland and how gender has affected her life. O’Faolain’s candor made a deep impression when the book was published in Ireland; it quickly landed on the bestseller list, staying at the top for 20 weeks. A testament to a full and passionately lived life–all the more affecting because of that life’s vividly described imperfection and pain.