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The Fields

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  753 ratings  ·  156 reviews
A warm and funny debut novel 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
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published August 13th 2013 by Reagan Arthur Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  753 ratings  ·  156 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 its a very Irish book. Yet although its action unfolds a good thirty years ago (Im not going to stop saying that until it sinks in) The Fields deals with issues that are sadly all too contemporary. The
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
At the start of the book, I was reminiscent of Neil Simons 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 Id 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 Jims local parish priest was a devout member of the Loyal Order of the Kid ...more
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
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 add that a
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 - I read everything in an Irish
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'.
John Tobelmann
Jun 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Loved this book.
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 wasnt. Not a bad book but a misleading recommendation that lead to disappointment. But its not the first time Ive been lured in by a comparison like this. ...more
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 him. Along
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 those would have made for a ...more
Johanna C. Leahy
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
I don't normally write reviews with my rating but as this is an unusually low rating for me, I feel it's only fair to explain why.
I really tried to persevere with this book, and wanted to like it, but by 25% I couldn't push myself any further. There is some great writing and insights but there is a lot of tedium as well and once I started skimming through sections at a house party that goes on for pages and pages but only moves the story along a smidgen, I gave up. A good editor could have made
charlotte, (½ of readsrainbow)
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
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 ...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 11, 2020 rated it liked it
This book was compelling until it took a strong left turn during the last third. I gave it 3 stars for the strength of its beginning. I admit to skimming when I realized it no longer made sense. This is a talented author who disappointed my expectations when the suspension of logic and disbelief was the conclusion.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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
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
Dec 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The end really hit me hard.
May 23, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: dnf
This is a dark book about the ongoing problems with Irish priests and hteir young charges. It is not enjoyable or funny at all. ...more
Jack Walters
Jul 31, 2020 rated it did not like it
The Fields isn't very good.
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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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