Sunday, October 26, 2008


Pages: 300
Date: 26/10/2008
Grade: 5
Details: First read for the Bailieborough Library Reading Group

This was neither a fast nor an easy read, and I can understand why somebody might give up on it and decide not to finish it.
Yet, anybody deciding not to read or finish this book would be doing themselves a great disservice. This was, for me, a very beautiful and moving book. Based on the content of the book, reading the story should have been heartbreaking, but that is not the emotion I was left with. I was left with a feeling of serenity and beauty, which surely must be down to the author's writing; simple and slightly detached, the way we do tend to look at memories from long ago, no matter how painful the events we are remembering.
The story:
In Roscommon Regional Mental Hospital Roseanne McNulty (or should that be Clear) is about 100 years old (nobody knows her exact age) when she decides to write down the story of her early life. A life that was difficult from the start since she was born a protestant in a Catholic country in times of great turmoil. A life filled with tragedy and a life that lead her to spend most of her adult years in mental institutions.
At the same time, her psychiatrist, faced with the imminent closure of the mental hospital starts looking into Roseanne's history, and the reasons for her having been committed, in order to decide about her future.
Both stories are told in the form of journals, and it soon emerges that Roseanne's narrative doesn't always agree with the documents Dr. Grene can get his hands on.
The question is, what is the true account? Or even, is there such a thing as a true account? Or does the truth, like beauty, depend on the eyes of the beholder, and on the tricks the passage of time plays on memories?

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