James's Reviews > Childhood Interrupted

Childhood Interrupted by Kathleen   O'Malley
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Sep 27, 07

bookshelves: memoir
Recommended for: Interest in Irish History
Read in September, 2007

This book was a disappointment because I went into it with a huge interest. I had heard about Irish industrial schools and was told that this book gave a great first hand account. It certainly does, but the execution of the prose and the development is extremely weak. Kathleen O'Malley is without a doubt an astounding woman with a measure of bravery I couldn't even fathom coming close to, but her horrifying account of being snatched from her mother and institutionalized in the corrupt Catholic run industrial school fails at gripping the reader and holding them through the short memoir. I found myself getting disinterested in the events as they repeated, and though a theme was the repetitive mundanity of her imprisonment, it was hard to stay focus or want to continue reading. Her language and use of slang is almost directly taken from McCourt, and its upsetting that such a powerful story is lost in the pages.

Needless to say, the book is essential for anyone studying Ireland, and is eye opening in knowing about this cruel and horrific institution that existed not to long ago. It is moving and heartbreaking, but you'll have to apply your own empathy and belief because the connection just isn't there for much of it despite its powerful reflection on human indecency.
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