Thursday, August 2, 2012

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

Twelve year old Mary O’Hara is having a rough time.  Her best friend has just moved away and her beloved granny is in the hospital.  One day Mary meets a mysterious woman named Tansey who claims to be the ghost of Granny’s mother and she needs to pass on a message to her daughter.  Mary does not doubt this claim and with the help of her mother, Scarlett, they help Tansey to deliver her message to her daughter with an impromptu road trip to the past that strengthens the bond between these ladies, mothers and daughters.

This was such a delightful book to read.  Mary is clever and very cheeky, despite her protestations that she is not being cheeky at times.  She has a very healthy relationship with her mother and grandmother and the three of them together were some of my favorite parts, despite most of their visits taking place in a hospital.  But you feel the love and respect they have for each other.  It's so refreshing to read their story without any resentment or past family dramas (which there are none, thank goodness) creeping in to overshadow their time together.

I also really like Mary’s musings regarding her changing relationship with her older brothers feeling she doesn’t really know them anymore.  I could relate in a way.  Growing up, my sister and I spent a lot of time with our cousins, three brothers, and we were all close in age and got along fairly well.  But as we became teenagers we drifted and started doing our own thing.  I could also relate to Mary and her minor annoyances with her mother.  It’s something that happens to all of us as we grow and begin to become our own person but they get along well and love and support each other.  The dialog between the two of them is fun and charming.

But this book was not just about Mary.  It was also about her mother, Scarlett, and Scarlett’s mother, Emer, and Emer’s mother, Tansey, the ghost.  Four generations of ladies who spend an evening together reminiscing and providing comfort for each other.  It's also about change, growing up, life and death.  This was a quick read but it definitely packed an emotional punch.  I found myself crying at the end and it made me want to hug my daughter, mom, and grandmother.  Don't let the possibility of tears scare you away.  This is still a book I would love to read again and highly recommend.

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