Me and my sisters, by Sinéad Moriarty

I read this book on the recommendation of a patron whose two-word justification: “She’s Irish!” apparently explained everything – meaning that  because the author is Irish, this is a really good story, obviously very humorous, as well as heart-rending. I couldn’t not read it.

When I first started out I was highly skeptical, as it all seemed a little too nice for my tastes, even with the random expletive thrown in. I stuck with it, though, and actually couldn’t put it down. Yes, it is very, very nice and the characters are all very, very clichéd, but I did laugh out loud at times and bawled my eyes out at others.

With three sisters, each leading very different lives, as the main characters, I think each and every one of us could find something here to relate to. Julie is a mother of all boy triplets and another 18 month old son. The triplets haven’t reached school age and are an absolute typhoon, destroying everything in their path. Julie adores her family, including husband, Harry, but feels unsupported, invisible, taken for granted, and exhausted.

Louise, is the single, control freak lawyer married to her work as senior partner in a highly reputable firm. After a drunken one night stand, she finds herself pregnant. Usually, ultra-organized and in control, this one and only mistake turns her world upside-down as she stubbornly refuses to adjust her former lifestyle and routine to fit in with the needs of her baby.

Sophie, the youngest of the three, was a model, but is now married to a high-flying hedge fund manager, Jack. They have a daughter who they indulge to the max., and Sophie spends money like there’s no tomorrow. In an unstable Irish economy, though, anything can happen, and Sophie comes face-to-face with the utterly unthinkable.

With each chapter devoted to the perspective of one sister in turn, Moriarty builds the story, showing us that in the long run, family is the basis of all our lives – the one thing we can always depend on. Even when we seemingly want different things out of life, blood, as they say, is always thicker than water.

So, yes, totally predictable and at times repetitive: a hundred less pages might have made it easier going, but it’s a decent, already-done-a-million-times-before-but-that’s-okay, kind of story.  If you like Marian Keyes, you’ll probably enjoy Sinéad Moriarty as well.


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