Memories of the Rare Old Times: Through The Eyes of a Dubliner by Bernard P Morgan
|Memories of the Rare Old Times: Through The Eyes of a Dubliner by Bernard P Morgan|
|Reviewer: Amy Taylor|
|Summary: A mix between fiction and non-fiction this is the story of Bernard Moran growing up in Dublin in the 50s. A 'nice' story but nothing out of the ordinary. Ok for anyone wanting a bit of very light reading.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Maybe|
|Pages: 220||Date: September 2008|
|Publisher: MX Publishing|
This is the story of Bernard Morgan, one of nine children growing up in Dublin in the 50s. As a boy Bernard tells us about his love of football and boxing. He played truant from school, preferring to smoke cigarettes instead and, as he got older, he hung around in gangs with his brothers and friends. We hear of the wars they had, and how the Irish stick by one another. Finally we see him go to England where he tries to find work, sleeping rough and living on nothing. Along the way we meet the street people of Dublin and above all Bernard's family.
A short book, this is a mix between non-fiction and fiction but it's nothing out of the ordinary. 'Nice' is what came to mind after reading it and that's not a good sign. It's like two books in one. The first, starts with his parents, Maggie and Joe, in third person, and tells the story of how they met. We hear of Joe's escape from prison in Belfast, and about Maggie's hate towards her father, who left when she was young. Maggie's mother, Catherine, then tells the story of why her husband left to go to England, due to being hunted down by the police. I actually really like this first part. The style of narrative suits the story telling, and brings out the characters. It hints at the political history of both Ireland and Northern Ireland, and how it affected peoples' lives and views. The sad thing is, the first part is the shorter, and when it goes into the next, you don't really hear anymore of these characters, only in passing.
The second part is told through the eyes of Bernard in the first person. He has a clear and simple way of describing Dublin and all its characters but in a way that doesn't make it exciting. There is not much of a plot, it is like someone relating a story to you, but forgetting to put the point in. Or worse still, it is one you have heard before, by someone else. As I read on I found myself reading it without taking it in. Bernard tries to do the casual approach, sometimes repeating things to the reader, like he is next to you reminding you of something you have forgotten, but in this case you haven't. The repeating becomes irritating, and you realise he hasn't much to tell. I could understand, if it was all fact, but it's not. There is fiction in there somewhere, but it is not used to its potential. There were many times when I thought he could have gone further with the narrative.
So, not a good book you are probably thinking. Well, it does have something. Nostalgia. For those of you who grew up in the 50s, in Ireland or not, why not take a trip down memory lane?
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag. We also have a review of The Lighthouse by Bernard P Morgan and Rikin Parekh.
For more of growing up in Ireland try Lord of the Rams: The Greatest Story Never Told by Ronan Smith
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You can read more book reviews or buy Memories of the Rare Old Times: Through The Eyes of a Dubliner by Bernard P Morgan at Amazon.com.
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