Are You Somebody

Are You Somebody

The Accidental Memoir of A Dublin Woman

Book - 1998
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Baker & Taylor
An Irish journalist offers her autobiography in a work that includes columns that originally appeared in "The Irish Times"

McMillan Palgrave
Are You Somebody is a moving and fascinating portrait of both Ireland and one of its most popular and respected commentators. This gem of honesty and insight had its first life as the introduction to a collection of Nuala O'Faolain's Irish Times columns that became a number-one bestseller in Ireland. It now stands alone. Ireland has fallen in love with this memoir of an Irish woman of letters, and now this country will too.


Book News
O'Faolain is a columnist for the Irish Times , and when she was asked to write an introduction for a collection of her columns, she just kept writing until she had produced a full- scale account of her life, thoughts, and feelings. She tells of growing up in Dublin and searching for a sense of self within the conservative Irish Catholic environment. Originally published by New Island Books, Dublin, in 1996. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.

Holtzbrinck
Are You Somebody is a moving and fascinating portrait of both Ireland and one of its most popular and respected commentators. This gem of honesty and insight had its first life as the introduction to a collection of Nuala O'Faolain's Irish Times columns that became a number-one bestseller in Ireland. It now stands alone. Ireland has fallen in love with this memoir of an Irish woman of letters, and now this country will too.

Are You Somebody is a moving and fascinating portrait of both Ireland and one of its most popular and respected commentators. This gem of honesty and insight had its first life as the introduction to a collection of Nuala O'Faolain's Irish Times columns that became a number-one bestseller in Ireland. It now stands alone. Ireland has fallen in love with this memoir of an Irish woman of letters, and now this country will too.


Blackwell North Amer
Irish times columnist Nuala O'Faolain opens her past and looks at it in this searingly honest midlife exploration of the love, pain, loneliness, loss, and self-discovery she has experienced. The result is a classic memoir. Born one of nine children in a penniless North Dublin family headed by an overwhelmed mother and a charming but absent father, Nuala not only survived but pushed at the boundaries of the confining Catholic Ireland she grew up in. The author spends much of her life seeking the sense of self that hostile environment denied to girls and women. But Nuala sees this past with new eyes when she takes the opportunity, in her fifties, to examine the meaning of her life and to review her accomplishments as well as her deep yearning for a sense of fulfillment.
Gifted commentator that she is, Nuala shows us her private thoughts and public actions as they play against the backdrop of the rural Ireland she knew as a child, the blossoming intellectual scene of Dublin in the fifties, and the unspoiled Oxford of the sixties. We see the richness of her native land's culture and its natural beauty as she herself rediscovers them after years in England. With their help she makes her way back to health from a black period of alcoholism and debilitating depression.
Nuala has distilled these experiences into a wisdom that could come only from a woman who refused to shrink from life. She escapes the example of her passionate but defeated mother and comes to her own terms with the love she yearns to share with men and women. Even the solitary life, she realizes, that includes neither lover nor child, has its deep contentments.

Baker
& Taylor

Praised by the likes of Frank McCourt, Roddy Doyle, and Edna O'Brien, a powerful and intimate autobiography by an Irish woman of letters became a number-one best-seller in her native country. 20,000 first printing. Tour.

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt & Co., 1998.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780805056631
0805056637
Branch Call Number: 920 O'FAOLAIN, N.
Characteristics: 215 p. ; 22 cm.

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Quietday
Feb 06, 2017

I enjoyed this book; it was honest and frank. But more importantly it resonated with me as a woman who was raised in a devoutly Christian upbringing while also wanting more for myself than simply a husband and children. The notes at the back of the book detail feedback from other readers, predominantly female who felt the same. My granny was raised in Ireland and had a profound effect of my youth, sometimes living with us. Everything was about marriage and finding a good man, even when there were examples all around us of rushed marriages that were failing because the women did not know enough about the men they were marrying. And of course, a lot of the rush is to avoid premarital sex (a sin that requires discipline) which is a terrible premise upon which to make a major life decision.

Ireland, I believe, is a microcosm of strict Christianity. It seems to have its own rules, regulations and ways of doing things that is quite black and white. Some of these characteristics are charming and endearing. Others are stifling. This is echoed in other books such as Angela's Ashes, Brooklyn, Nora Webster and Secret Scripture. Fascinating to read about and enlightening as to this cultural trickle-down effect in my own family.

Loved this:
p. 24 "The most useful thing I brought out of my childhood was confidence in reading. I was born and I learnt to read."

The author mentions begging one man to marry her without even really realizing she was doing it, it was just so engrained. But her mother said to her she didn't care how many degrees she got so long as she had a man and a couple of kids. Her mother said this after raising 9 of them, poverty stricken, primarily alone and having become a heavy drinker. It makes you see how strongly the ideas we are raised with stay, even when everything around us points to a better way.

bibliotechnocrat Dec 09, 2015

Irish newspaper columnist, Nuala O'Faolain, was asked to write an introduction to a collection of her columns - and found herself unable to stop. Introducing herself turned out to be far more complex than anticipated and this memoir is the result. Born into an Ireland that no longer exists, that had no real place for an intelligent and independent woman, O'Faolain rode the slow wave of modernity quietly asserting a place for herself, transforming and being transformed. Her voice is strong and honest compelling the narrative forward despite some of her cringeworthy choices. It truly seems as if she is unaware of the impression she might be leaving with her openness. Not to be missed.

s
santiano9
May 14, 2015

Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful memoir. A terrific read for every woman especially.

ser_library May 27, 2010

a memoir of growing up in Ireland that is much much better than Angela's Ashes

s
seaspirit
Mar 20, 2008

I found the first half of this book fascinating. Nuala's early life in Ireland is intriguing. I got lost in the latter half as I am not familiar with the people or books she describes. I did not get past this spot, but may go back to it someday.

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