Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Excellent book about a difficult subjectOct. 24 2008
- Published on Amazon.com
This is a book about the devastation that the act of "date rape" can bring to everyone involved, from the perspective of the older sister of the man accused. The author doesn't minimize or explain away the act, but does show that there were definately shades of gray in the incident, and that it can be as devastating for the man involved and his family as it is for the woman. The book covers much more that this one act, however, it is a coming of age story about the heroine, the sister of the accused, who was more a mother than sister to her much loved but difficult younger brother. It details her struggle to better herself, to form relationships, and learn to both help and "let go" of her younger brother. It has a true sense of place, and I felt like I learned much about Ireland. The people were unforgettable, and I had trouble both putting the book down and forgetting the story...thinking about it for many months afterwords, and at times forgetting it was only a book about imaginary people.
Love Like AdoreJune 22 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
Angela Devine has raised her nineteen year old brother, James, since he was three months old. Her mother, a substance abuser, died leaving behind five children, all the progeny of different fathers. Angela persuaded the social workers to allow her to raise James instead of being taken into care as has happened with her other three siblings. It’s now Dublin, 1996, and Angela keeps her head above financial waters by working three jobs; as a cleaner, kissogram and wedding singer. Angela loves her brother as if he was her own son, trying to protect him from everything that is bad in the world. However, that ‘motherly’ protection becomes much more difficult when James is accused of rape.
“...you’ll forgive if sometimes I use what you might think are inappropriate words. Or at the least words above my station! I’m not all that educated and my grammar or tenses may not always be the best...But I adore words...I have to squish a lot of them when they pop into my mouth in case people think I’m showing off.” Chapter 1, Page 1
Angela not only has to ‘squish’ words but also her thoughts, emotions and relationships. She also squishes her own desires, like finding her father, so that all her energy is focused on giving James all the love and attention that she never received from her own mother. Like a ‘mother’ she refuses to acknowledge that James is now a nineteen year man and still perceives him as a young boy. Angela is an ordinary woman but has an extraordinary strength of character and resilience. That extraordinary strength is pushed to its outer limits when James is arrested on the charge of rape. Angela can’t and will not believe it and she begins to ask questions that she knows she shouldn’t be contemplating; was it the girl’s fault by leading James on or was she lying to cover up her own indiscretion;
“Do you know what I think? I think she got in a row at home about where she was that afternoon – maybe they started getting on her case about mitching from her bookkeeping course. Or the mother found grass stains on her - or even the torn knickers. Yes, that would have been it. She had no way to explain the state of those knickers without implicating herself. So to defend herself she cried rape.”
Deidre Purcell has written an astonishing novel about the ordinary. An ordinary woman leading a prosaic life, invisible to others, walking a road well travelled but possessing an inner strength that will come to the fore in a three month period that will change her life. Angela Devine is a wonderful character written in an unapologetically honest manner. This honesty is why this reader allowed their emotions to be dragged through the proverbial ringer, bleeding profusely but still willing to follow Angela through to the end. The honesty that pervades the book not only comes in the writing of Angela’s character but also the character of Dublin in the 1990s. No clichéd holiday brochure like mention of the warm welcome, the pubs full of music and the engaging craic.
“Shut up, shut up, you don’t know. It’s like effin’ Beirut out there. You can’t walk down a street any more with any of your friends. You can’t have a drink in a pub, and it’s not only at night, it can be the middle of the day, you don’t have to do anything to them, you only have to be minding your own business. It’s all right for women, they don’t get hassle-“
Ms Purcell has written a novel that one can honestly write about as being genuinely difficult to put down. The author has managed to avoid all those clichés that appear in so many modern Irish novels: the religiously zealous mother, the alcoholic father, the abusive uncle and the ‘troubles’ in Northern Ireland is mentioned only in passing. It is a genuinely powerful book that doesn’t resort to literary tricks or contorted techniques to capture the reader’s attention. Angela has a love of language that shines through the novel like sun through stained glass. She also has a sharp sense of humour that punctuates a novel that could have easily allowed itself to drown in Angela and James’s despair. However, the novel’s humour, warmth and audacious writing do more to help one to understand the nature of the startling, unquestioning love one can feel for another person even when that person has been accused of a heinous crime.
First Line – “Every second of this summer hammered a spike into my memory.” Memorable Line – “It’s funny how people can just slip out of your life. You’d think you’d have some clue. In a film you’d have all the music, telling you it was significant. It’s always a humbling experience to know that something terrifically important to you is of no importance whatsoever to the world at large.”
Number of Pages – 483 Profanity – None Sex Scenes – Yes but not explicit Genre – Fiction
Love like hate adoreMay 7 2014
- Published on Amazon.com
A young woman who has spent most of her life shoring up a druggie mother, or caring for her siblings so they wouldn't have to go into care after the death of said mother, is the narrator. The scene is nineties Dublin and one or two current affairs issues are mentioned to fit the story into context.
Angie has a brother aged nineteen at this point, and they've been living together since he was a couple of months old. They each have bitty jobs but she makes the rent. Then the lad is accused of rape by a better-off girlfriend, and their lives crash to pieces.
The social system is shown to us through Angie's experience, the free legal aid, the continuing bail, and pressure to plead guilty to a lesser charge. Meanwhile the young woman concerned has decided to make a career out of being an assault victim and no sooner is the case over (with a female judge) than she is in every media channel telling her story. Nobody is interested in hearing the man's story or asking if it takes two to tango. To be clear, neither Angie nor the author (nor this writer) condones rape of any kind.
I found the tale well-written to show us this responsible sister trying to cope, trying to find a life for herself, pass an exam and retain even one friend. Angie's an ordinary woman and this must be an experience many family members of young accused men would share. I thought the vague ending was unsatisfactory and could have been stronger.