Monday, May 18, 2015

*Review* Proud Patrick by Michael Aloysius O'Reilly

Genre: Literary Fiction
Published: November 3, 2014
Pages: 379
Ages: 14+


In the tradition of Angela's Ashes, PROOUD PATRICK is an Irish-Catholic saga of the Chicago Sullivan clan told over forty years as they assemble in Dublin to celebrate the Golden Anniversary of Barnaby and Bridget Sullivan.

When two Prodigals not seen in twenty years arrive, an emotional earthquake rocks the family. Somehow comic routines take over. 

The family rule? Sullivans never look back.


I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. I was offered this copy after entering a Goodreads giveaway for a copy. It happened to be one of the rare books that I actually accepted through that avenue.

This is the story of a man who grew up in an abusive Irish Catholic home. Once he graduated high school, he left and pretty much never looked back. I can't say that I blame him. From the memories he recounts, it sounds like he had a horrible childhood with almost no bright spots. I would have done the same thing in his shoes.

This story is told mostly with dialogue, at least the portions that take place in the present. Sometimes it was difficult to tell who was speaking in the rapid fire exchanges between the characters because they had mostly similar ways of speaking, which is perfectly understandable since most of them grew up under the same roof. A few tags like "Patrick said." or "Dougie replied." would have helped to clear things up tremendously.

Because the story is so dialogue heavy, it moves at a fairly quick pace. The dialogue never felt fake or manufactured to me, although I thought it was strange that the children referred to their mother as Momsourmom and their dad by his first name. It actually took me a while to figure out who they were referring to at all. 

Even though I understood Patrick's motives for never going back home, I never really felt connected to him. This is possibly because we have absolutely nothing in common, but it also felt like the book just glossed over his life as an adult, giving us a sort of highlight reel without giving us any real depth of the characters. There were some things that happened that just didn't make any sense to me because I had no clue as to the motivation. 

Overall I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars because it was entertaining and the dialogue was well written, but I never felt connected to the characters and had trouble following the conversations at times. I would recommend this book to people that enjoy memoir like fiction, as that's what it felt like to me. 

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About the Author

Mr. O'Reilly, a novelist, screenwriter and playwright has seen his works produced by the Berkshire Theatre Festival and Actors Equity at Lincoln Center. A graduate of Marquette University, he is the father of six and married to Marjorie O'Reilly. They reside in Chapel Hill.

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