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December 25 , 2008

What Would Ma Say?


“Ma came from inner city Dublin, an ordinary woman with very little education behind her. But maybe not so ordinary in the way she learned how to survive and handle life.”

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The Best of Both Worlds and Other Ambiguous Tales

In the longest story in this collection, an eleven-year-old girl has a strange adventure in an overgrown garden, and probably saves the world from a fate worse than any conventional apocalypse. Her parents would undoubtedly think that she’s been dreaming if she attempted to explain what had happened, but that’s what parents do, because they think…

Kathleen Doyle never had a childhood. She was always “the big sister”, the one her siblings turned to when her mother was working and her father drinking. Born into a tenement flat in Dublin before moving to Crumlin, Kathleen grew up in the 1950s and 1960s in an Ireland we wouldn’t recognise today. Her mother was the backbone, the one who kept them together as a family, stopped them sinking into poverty.

But through it all, Kathleen and her eleven brothers and sisters had a laugh – turning their kitchen into a swimming pool on a hot summer’s day, or trying to hide a stolen pig’s carcass in the bath, or eating chocolate from the dump until they all got the runs . . . Kathleen’s big dream was to some day sink into a hot bath filled with bubble bath. And then Kathleen grew up, met and married Alan, and their honeymoon was a time she’ll never forget . . .

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