Sunday, January 27, 2013

A Review of 'The Country Girls' by Edna O'Brien

"Meet Kate and Baba, two young Irish girls who have spent their childhood together.  As they leave the safety of their convent school in search of life and love in the big city, they struggle to maintain their somewhat tumultuous relationship.  Kate, dreamy and romantic, years for true love, while Baba just wants to experience the life of a single girl.  Although they set out to conquer the world together, as their lives take unexpected turns, Kate and Baba must ultimately learn to find their own way."

This was another book from my Irish and Scottish Literature class that I really liked!  Like a lot (almost all) of the Irish literature that we read, this was another sad one.  Why am I so attracted to sad books?

I really liked watching the characters develop.  It was a little scary to see how much Kaithleen and Baba relied on each other, even as they transitioned from girls into women.  There was no Baba without Kate and no Kate without Baba.  In other words, they are inseparable.  They change and in a way, kind of turn into each other just by associating with the other for most of their lives.  It was a little bit sad to see that they couldn't truly function on their own.  When Baba wasn't like boarding school, she didn't plan to just get herself out, she planned for both she and Kate to get out, despite the fact that Kate was better suited for school than Baba.

Kate's relationship with her dad was an interesting one.  She didn't really have much of a relationship with him to begin with, but it is very obvious that Kate's mother was the one holding them together (by force or otherwise).  The story of Kaithleen's mother and father is just so tragic.  They were so in love when they married, but then Kaithleen's father took up drinking and suddenly, the whole family began to fall apart.  I think Kaithleen's relationship with other men was determined largely by her relationship with her father.  She went for guys who were almost nothing like her father.  They were older, they were sophisticated, oftentimes rich, and they typically weren't Irish.  It's very interesting to me.  My life is not like this, so it's very interesting to read and think about.

I know that this book is part of a trilogy, so I hope to get around to reading the other two books and learning about what ultimately happens to Kate and Baba.

Edna O'Brien writes in such a way that I'm just drawn in.  By her characters, by the story she weaves, etc.  She is a wonderful Irish writer and if you're looking to read more Irish literature, this would be a good start.

I give 'The Country Girls'
Thanks for Reading!


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