A brutally honest and deeply affecting memoir about growing up in the countryside of rebel country in Northern Ireland
Colin Broderick was born in 1968 and spent his childhood in Tyrone County in Northern Ireland. It was the beginning of the period of heightened tension and violence known as the Troubles, and Colin’s Catholic family lived in the heart of rebel country. The community was filled with Provisional IRA members, whose lives depended on the silence and complicity of their neighbors. At times, that made for a confusing childhood. We watch as he and his brothers play ball with the neighbor children over a fence for years but are never allowed to play together because it is forbidden. We see him struggle to understand why young men from his community often just disappear. We feel his confusion when he is held at gunpoint at various military check points in the North. But even when Colin does ask his parents about these events, he never receives a clear explanation. Desperate to protect her children, Colin’s mother tries to prevent exposure to or knowledge of the harm that surrounds them. Spoken with stern finality, "That’s that" became the refrain of Colin’s childhood.
The first book to paint a detailed depiction of Northern Ireland’s Troubles, That’s That is presented against a personal backdrop and told in the wry, memorable voice of a man who has finally come to terms with his past.
This memoir of Colin Broderick's childhood, spent in Ulster during the Troubles brought unique insight into a fascinating period of history, simply because it was told from the perspective of a child. I've read several memoirs written about the author's childhood and in most instances it becomes evident that even if the book is about a childhood, it is told through the filter of an adult's perspective. Broderick seems to keep hold of his childish self and write about events from the perspective of the age he was when the event occurred, not as an adult remembering a distorted historical event.
What I found fascinating was he never came across as a truly religious or political person, yet he moved inevitably towards the IRA/liberty movement as he got older. His anger and vitriol spewed at the British and the Protestants seemed more habit-formed than heart-felt. It is as though boys his age at that time realized they had a role to play once they met a certain age and they played it no matter how unnatural it felt to them.
Even more fascinating was the relationship with his mother. I spent equal time hating her for her narrow-minded and conservative child raising skills, feeling a great deal of sympathy for Colin the boy and admiring her tremendously for the strength of will she exhibited and her ability to keep her family all alive during a time when most families lost loved ones to the cause.
I highly recommend this book. As usually, Gerard Doyle's narration is amazing.
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Could not stop listening was a wonderful honest book on coming of age during confusing and tumultuous times
Have you listened to any of Gerard Doyle’s other performances before? How does this one compare?
I never listened to a performance by Gerard Doyle before, but I think he did an amazing job.