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The Fields

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  719 ratings  ·  149 reviews
A warm and funny debut about a young man in trouble and a family in love and in pieces. It's the first summer of lust for 14-year-old Jim Finnegan, a boy trying to become a man in 1980s Dublin. Jim's vivid and winning voice leaps off the page and into the reader's heart as he watches his parents argue, his five older sisters fight, and the local network of mothers gossip. Jim hil ...more
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.45  · 
Rating details
 ·  719 ratings  ·  149 reviews

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Susan Johnson
Sep 16, 2013 rated it liked it
There are parts of this book that are really good and then there are parts that just make you shake your head. The books starts well with the story of young Jim growing up in the mid 1980's in Dublin. There are a lot of humorous moments and you think this is a feel good book. Then it takes a gigantic turn when something awful happens. This part has a of depth of feeling and you think it's going to be exploration of the aftermath. No. It takes another turn and goes into absurdity. It's like three ...more
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: postmillenium, irish
Everyone who picks up this book about abuse and abortion in mid-eighties Dublin will walk away with one huge question reverberating around their soul.

Jesus, were the eighties really three decades ago?

Though technically, that should be Jaysus, because, as mentioned, this book is set in Ireland. And it’s a very Irish book. Yet although its action unfolds a good thirty years ago (I’m not going to stop saying that until it sinks in) The Fields deals with issues that are sadly all too contemporary. The death of/>Jesus,
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
At the start of the book, I was reminiscent of Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs”. I thought it would be a lighthearted coming of age story of a young boy – Jim would be similar to Eugene and I’d just swap a Brooklyn backdrop with Ireland. Weeeeeeeellllll, mayhaps I should begin reading book jackets a bit more carefully because “The Fields” soon took a drastic turn when the subject matter got heavy and I realized that Jim’s local parish priest was a devout member of the Loyal Order of the Kid ...more
The narration and story are UNeven a lot of the time. There are parts that are very unbelievable and left me wondering what the point was. Nonetheless it had some entertainment value. I felt that publisher decided to hype this book for some reason. The author was born in Dublin but now lives in Britain - maybe he has connections there.

* I edited this to change even to uneven. Boy I need to read more carefully. Also I changed my rating from 3 to 2 stars.

Looking back at this I want to
Rebecca Stevenson
I was confused at first because the book started off feeling like a memoir about a guy with a crazy Irish family... and it's true, it was. Nonetheless I grew to appreciate the humorous parts when the book got into some really tough territory, namely the sexual abuse of the main character by the local priest. I have a lot more simpathy for the victims of sexual abuse by clergy. At the same time, the author did a good job of countering the bad priest with the main character's hero, a good priest. ...more
Dec 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The five-star rating here is giving The Fields benefit of the doubt.

So why the benefit of the doubt?

It might be because I just finished a day of binge-reading less than ten minutes ago (which speaks volumes about the book anyway) and am still feverishly overexcited about what I just read.

Or it might be the strength of the narrative and Jim's narrative voice. The style of prose, wavering on the edge of stream-of-consciousness and always slightly manic, is fantastic -
Jonkers Jonkers
Mar 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
I found this an absorbing read but I didn't find it 'laugh out loud' as I have seen it described. There are some great moments of humour, much of it very dark, but above all there was a powerful and provocative novel facing some major issues such as child abuse and abortion. It is very hard-hitting and not for anyone with a delicate constitution, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. Not convinced about the ending or else I may have given it a 5. Fascinating and a 'grabber'.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it liked it
Interesting. I read it based on a recommendation that it would be a great read for fans of “Derry Girls”. It wasn’t. Not a bad book but a misleading recommendation that lead to disappointment. But it’s not the first time I’ve been lured in by a comparison like this.
Jun 10, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gr-first-reads
I received my copy free through the Goodreads First Reads giveaways.

Tackling issues like abortion rights and sexual abuse at the hands of a priest certainly take some nerve, especially for a debut novel. But somehow, Kevin Maher manages this with an overall sense of optimism throughout his coming of age tale, The Fields . While the subject matters covered may be heavy in nature, don't expect something that will bog you down. Maher creates an interesting space between cause and effect, all with
Beth (bibliobeth)
Mar 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Three and a half stars if I could...

The book follows a young boy, Jim Finnegan, through his early adolescence in Ireland during the eighties. The book starts with a punch, with the family cat being hit by a car and a young girl being hit in the face with a hockey ball all in the first few pages. The drama never ceases, as we become involved with Jim and his family of five sisters, and a paedophile priest who lures Jim into becoming an altar boy so that he can have his wicked way with
The story takes place in Dublin in 1985. The author makes many many references to pop culture. Initially fun, but it was too much. The protagonist is 14 year old Jim Finnegan and he's dealing with all the typical teenage issues. I felt like the author tried to do too much in this one book, he was juggling too many story lines. (view spoiler) Any one of th ...more
Apr 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
there is some gross racism in this book i don't care if it's supposed to represent 1980s ireland it's gross
Jun 13, 2017 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 10, 2018 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book's depictions of family life and the ins and outs of friendships and of the difficulties of adolescence. The use of language is spot on and helps to evoke time and place very effectively. Some of the subject matter will probably be too much for some readers (i.e. child abusing priests and abortion) but these are real issues and the author has the right to address them; they do sit a bit at odds with each other however. The problem though is the ending which I can only describe ...more
Kim Mallady
WTF? That was my first thought when finishing this book. The ending was ridiculous. If I hadn't been reading this on my Kindle I would have thrown it across the room. When I first finished this it was a 2-star book, but after a few days to think about it I've decided to give it 3. It started out very promising. It was a well written and interesting first-person perspective of a boy growing up in Dublin during the 1980's. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there and the author had an annoying h ...more
Pamela Shauger
Oct 12, 2017 rated it liked it
This book started out so incredibly strong. If I had only read the first two sections, I would have rated it 5 stars. So much of it was so well written. But the third and final section of the book was all over the place, and to me, not in a good way. It was a bit of an effort to get through. Still, because the earlier parts of the book were so entertaining and well done, I recommend this book to folks who like to laugh and aren't afraid to read about uncomfortable situations.

Kathy Gray
Jul 09, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This I found tiresome as well as massively off target with its tone. There was an awful lot of repetitive waffle that I was probably supposed to find charming, but it just made me roll my eyes. The shift into ever darker territory feels clumsy and all the pay offs felt VERY undersold.
Tracy Griffin
First two thirds of the book was great, funny, a really likable protagonist, potentially a 4 to 5 star book. Then it looses it's way and becomes rambling and finished with an absolutely ridiculous ending. Hence the 3 stars.
Jul 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: team-b
Fantastic if somewhat sad novel about an Irish boy grappling with family trauma, relationships, and abuse. The first person southern Irish vernacular is one of the highlights of this book, as well as the poignant examination of suffering young kids can go through while coming of age.
Kathy Linton
Aug 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this. A 13 year old growing up in Ireland in 1984. Starts off so funny and carefree then life gets tough. Sad but keeps its humour throughout
Mrs Julia Clare Grouse
Great Irish read

Really good book, cover serious situations but in a good old Irish light hearted way. Would recommend this book, will read another by the same author
Maria Day
Lots of dry humour in the face of some pretty horrific circumstances.
Reminded me of growing up in a catholic half Irish family in the 1970,s!
Nancy McKibben
Nov 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: readers who like Irish novels, coming of age novels
The Fields
By Kevin Maher

Fourteen-year-old Jim is the youngest in the boisterous Finnegan family, and the only boy. The story is set in Dublin the l980s, and Jim introduces himself with a story about, Jack, a childhood pet.
Jack’s wheezing, from day one, got louder and louder, and by the end of the first week it had turned into full-on flu. The vet said . . . that Jack might actually die instead of getting better. This scared the girls no end. And that, combined with all the snotty green dripet.
Aug 14, 2013 rated it liked it
It is about a boy named Jim Finnegan who lives in Southern Ireland in the mid eighties and comes from a large family of sisters. Being “typically” Irish, the book contains God, the IRA and sexual abuse by a priest. I have yet to read an upbeat book set in Ireland without misery and looming bleakness.

It is written in first person using a narrative style that is very internal and what I’d describe as a stream of consciousness. There are no speech quotations and Jim just rattles off in
Mar 03, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: coming-of-age
I'm glad I didn't see any reviews of this book before reading it as I agree with many of those who found it to be patchy and tedious in sections.

Jim Finnegan is a thirteen year old boy growing up in Dublin in the 1980s, the youngest child with four older sisters. The initial story tells of his exploits with his school friends and his boisterous family mealtimes and how the Mams all get together for coffee and gossip each morning and try to outdo each other with terrible stories about
Brenda A
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I'm not so sure that "warm and funny" are accurate for this debut novel. I was upset and sickened way more often than I felt light-hearted reading this. I give this author a ton of credibility for being able to elicit such strong reactions, especially on his first go-around.

The main thought that I have over and over again with The Fields is "this fucking kid"! I got so frustrated with his inability or stubbornness or whatever it was to tell people what was going on. SO MANY things that were hap
Nov 18, 2013 rated it liked it
Kevin Maher's The Fields is both hilarious and heartbreaking. I found myself laughing aloud one minute, then a few pages later, coming close to tears. Jim, the 14 year old narrator, presents an "innocent eye" view of life in 1980's Dublin, before the Celtic economic upsurge. The Fields made me think of an updated, less poverty stricken Angela's Ashes. Jim Finnegan is the sole son in a middle/lower middle class family with 5 daughters. He spends a lot of time at the beginning of the novel tooling ...more
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
*I won this on a Goodreads Giveaway*

I feel really bad that this took me a while to finish, but I was really busy when I started it so I never got the chance to read more than a few pages at a time.

The reason I feel bad is because this was written really well and had great voice throughout the entire book!

My main problems were in the characters and in the ending - personal problems at least.
I thought a few of the characters were unnecessary or that the co
May 07, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was a book that was sent to me to review, this was something that I had not requested and knew nothing about. Saying that I am always willing to try new books so was keen to get started.

This book follows a boy called Jim, he is thirteen and we learn about him growing up on the 80's in Ireland. There was a lot going on in the book, it is full of drama right from the fist page to get you sucked into the book.

From the back cover of the book there are quotes that suggest the book is 'laugh -o
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Goodreads Ireland: Spoiler Thread: The Fields 25 29 Oct 28, 2013 10:53AM  
Goodreads Ireland: September Monthly Read 2013: The Fields 62 41 Oct 12, 2013 08:03AM  

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