Monday, August 6, 2012

A Greyhound of a Girl

Because it was first published
elsewhere, there are loads of
different covers - this is
the one I have.
by Roddy Doyle
Amulet Books | May 2012

I have loved Roddy Doyle since I first discovered him while I was travelling abroad. I fell in love with the family in the linked stories The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van. I fell in love with his writing. So imagine my delight when I discovered this new American publication of a new Doyle children's book this spring. It can be your delight as well.

Twelve-year-old Mary O'Hara's best friend Ava has just moved house and Mary's none too pleased about it. On the first day after Ava's left, Mary meets Tansey on her way home from school and assumes she's moved into Ava's house. It soon becomes apparent, though, that Tansey isn't a normal woman. Soon, it becomes apparent she's not even a woman at all--she's a ghost.

Mary's mother, Scarlett, and her grandmother, Emer (who's deathly ill in hospital) soon get involved and an adventure of a lifetime begins. Something very special happens to these four generations of women (and girl).

Doyle's Irish sensibility and wry wit come through beautifully in all the characters, but especially Mary. Her most oft-repeated refrain, "I'm not being cheeky," is met with some excellent replies by her elders. How these women interact and why is a fantastic story to remind us to appreciate each other every day.

For a quiet treat on a lazy afternoon or a starry night, join Mary and Tansey on the stone wall for a spell.

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