Having just read Frank McCourt's "Angela's Ashes", which also describes Catholic childhood in Ireland, I expected to find the two books very similar. I was wrong; whilst "Angela's Ashes" mainly revolved around the problems of poverty and alcoholism in the family, "Reading in the Dark" is decidedly more intricate. Deane has created a beautiful book, full of pleasant (and unpleasant) childhood cameos that are so delightful, as a reader, to share. What I enjoyed most about the book was Deane's ability to create amazingly vivid scenes. The secret passage in "Grianan" was an exceptionally memorable passage (pardon the pun).
All in all, "Reading in the Dark" was a thoroughly enjoyable experience which gathered momentum and just became too good to put down.