Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Review of "That's That", an Irish Memoir by Colin Broderick

I finished reading Colin Broderick's memoir, "That's That" in two, very long sittings. I'm usually suspicious of the reviewer's cliche, "I couldn't put it down", but I even got out of bed two hours earlier than usual (on a weekend, no less) to keep reading this amazing book.

Being of Irish heritage, and having traveled to Ireland and Northern Ireland, I've developed a strong interest in learning more about the place my great-great grandfather emigrated from. Although I have read a number of books about various aspects of Irish history, none grabbed me anywhere as viscerally as "That's That". Colin Broderick is a superbly-talented writer who has the ability to put the reader inside his skin, and his mind. I felt as if I was present during so many of the scene's at home, at school, and at the much so that I was a bit mentally exhausted after reading some of those chapters. While I won't pretend to really understand what it was like to grow up in Ulster during "The Troubles", I sure developed an appreciation for what Catholic families experienced for so many decades.

I won't rehash what Mr. Broderick has recounted in perfect detail, as that would surely spoil the tremendous impact of his story. I will say that this is not a book for anyone seeking a pretty, Disney-version of growing up Irish in the 70s and 80s. Colin Broderick's story is painful, funny, and sad, sometimes all at once. I am sincerely grateful that Mr. Broderick was willing to share his story with the world, and highly recommend "That's That" as a Must Read for anyone even casually interested in Ireland.

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