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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  394 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Published to huge acclaim, Christine Dwyer Hickey’s Tatty was hailed by the critics as a masterpiece, and went on to become a bestseller. With the brutal clarity and touching honesty of a child, Tatty tells the story of her alcoholic family. The result is a stunning portrait of a disintegrating family, and the child lost within it.
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
Published February 1st 2004 by New Island Books (first published 2004)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
Rating details
 ·  394 ratings  ·  91 reviews

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Mary Lou
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish
Set in Dublin in the 60s, narrated by Tatty, one five children in a troubled family. This is beautifully written, sad and funny. A wonderful read.
Caroline (Tatty) lives in Dublin with Dad, Mam, and her siblings, including Deirdre “the special child Holy God sent to us because he loves us so much” and she struggles to survive and grow in a household being destroyed by alcohol. We meet her in 1964 when she is four and stay with her until she is 14. At the beginning all seems to be working fine. As Tatty grows, so does her perception of what is happening around her, allowing us to enter her mind and observe all that happens around her, what ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A story that centres around the disadvantages of growing up in a household affected by alcohol.
Good read.
2009 bookcrossing journal

Well that was a thoroughly depressing book. Thankfully it was a fast read so I only have to feel depressed for one day! I don't understand either why it is described as hilarious on the back of this book. I didn't laugh out loud once whilst reading it, and I feel pretty miserable now that I have finished this book.

The narration and the writing style were very fitting for the age of the main character - Tatty - so it was very believeable as the story of a girl's childhood
Nov 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bought-in-2017
حبيته للغاية بتفاصيله، بحواراته. يا ريته كان أطول
I loved the way she narrated the story; the beginning and the end although the end makes you wonder will they finally have a happy ending or things remain the same but I enjoyed it.
Oct 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is just a simple novel about the family, which is destroyed by an alcohol. Maybe not simple, because it shows every detail issue that those kids have to deal with, as a surprised in the begging it was normal and daily staff for them what makes plot even more shattering. Tatty just as a kiddo spent her free time in bar with dad who was supposed to take care of her, horrible isn’t it? What is more mother was mentally sick for me, because of her bad tempered behaviour, violence the author ...more
Nov 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I started reading this book I didn’t like it. I thought it had been written in a weird language and everything was chaotic. However, later I got used to it and I was able to enjoy the book. I’m glad I did, because it was amazing.

The plot was interesting and gripping. The idea of writing it from the perspective of a child was brilliant, because it gave the readers something to reflect back on.

What I remembered the most were the scenes in which Tatty’s Mam was beating her or one of her
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
harrowing misery lit but really engrossing for all that. Christine Dwyer Hickey is a gem of an author.
Hoda هدى
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it.
Really Heart-breaking.
Oct 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was a very difficult book. Because of the hard subject it brings up it wasn’t pleasant to read. But of course novel was intesting and important. It made me appreciate the things, possibilities and life I have. Perhaps I will be more understanding for people who has difficult situation at home.
Ula Pisarek
Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey tells the story of Caroline who is called Tatty. She lives in a underprivileged family in Dublin. She has 5 siblings. Little girl grows up and everyday sees her dad being drunk, her mother who is falling into depression and alcoholism. It is so sad and touching story.
In my opinion the biggest plus about the book is the fact that the picture of Tatty's family is changing when she grows up. As a 4 year old child she is naive, can't understand the situation. Then
Penni Russon
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
A very different book. It's told from the perspective of a little girl who experiences some very tough experiences. It took me a while to get into as the writing style is a bit odd, but it did have me gripped at points.
Sherif bakr
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read it in one shot ... one night
Very touchy .... I felt .... A lot of things
Apr 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There is nothing impressive in this book. One more narrative about miserable childhood in large family with alcoholic parents.
“Tatty” is a book that’s neither sad or happy, because it’s a pretty sad tale told from the point of view of a child and children see good in even the worst situations.
It’s a real story, about a girl with real life problems who manages to smile through the trauma even though it’s tough.
I think all these things will leave a mark on Caroline in the future even if she is too young to understand it now. In my opinion she was a very strong girl and didn’t deserve all the bad that happened to her,
Marysia Kwapisiewicz
At the beginning it was quite difficult to read. I couldn’t get who the narrator is and it was hard to catch where are the dialogues. That’s why I didn’t really understand it. But then when I learned who was the main character and about her situation I started feeling sorry for her. Her life was pretty spoiled, while she was still just a child. It was painful that all her lying and her own being spoiled was caused by her parents. She had to watch all these bad stuff happening in her home, of ...more
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I started Tatty I hadn’t realised it was by the author who also wrote Last Train from Liguria. I enjoyed that book very much. Tatty is completely different and quite brilliant. The author has got into the head of a child in a large family living with an alcoholic father and desperate mother. The wonderful humour and the many acts of loving kindness by family, friends, strangers and the nuns at school are the bright spots in the children’s lives, but you know that at the end of the day the ...more
Dec 18, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish-lit, trauma
Set in 60s and 70s Dublin, this novel follows Caroline, called Tatty, the middle child of five. From a very young age, she's aware of the disharmony between her parents, and as she gets older is escalates into violence and alcoholism. She is described as "highly-strung", tells tall tales and is occasionally beaten by her mother for doing so, and struggles to make connections with other children. I admire how Tatty's voice and expressions are captured by the author, and some of the Dublin phrases ...more
Susan Kavanagh
A 4.4. What an excellent use of a child's voice to describe her place in her dysfunctional family. The reader hears her story from the age of 3 to 13. I understand this Irish writer's books are all completely different and can't wait to read another.
Tracy Bacenas
Nov 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brillian book!
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
non stop reading with dark characters and enough twist to keep you on the edge. one of my best of modern reads.
highly recommended
Jan 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sad, really well written as a child's view of her world!
Dec 04, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tatty. That wasn’t her real name. her real name was Caroline, but Tatty stuck because she was a “tell-tale-tattler”, a child who made up and told stories.

That wasn’t surprising. Tatty was a bright child in a large and troubled family, growing up in Dublin in the sixties.

Tatty’s story tells of her family.

An ebullient father, full of good intentions but oh so easily distracted by his love of the bookies and a good time. A mother who is struggling, maybe with mental health issues, and growing ever
Aug 01, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book!

As the story begins, we are in 1964, and Caroline, known as ‘Tatty’ to her family, is 4 years old. Her nickname is a play on the words tell-tale-tattler - she earns it because she’s unable to keep secrets. She lives near Dublin with her Mam and Dad and her sisters - Jeannie who is two years older than her and Deirdre who has learning difficulties - and her two younger brothers.

Tatty’s parents are drunks who have a volatile relationship. Tatty is particularly close to her Dad,
Tzu-Mainn Chen
A heartbreaking tale of a little Irish girl growing up in a broken family, 'Tatty' feels less like a novel than a bleak portrait. Told from Tatty's point of view, it begins with her as a four year old; each chapter moves her forward a year. Her voice changes as well, becoming increasingly modulated and aware; it's her growing understanding of her choices and circumstances that depresses the reader so.

Hickey is extremely effective at projecting the reader into the mind of a little girl, and she
Carole Yeaman
May 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library-loan, fiction
I met Irish author Christine Dwyer Hickey at the Ottawa International Book Festival last month. The reading she did from her new book, The Lives of Women, was so funny and bitterly sharp -- intriguingly parallel to my own life. I had to ask her if it largely autobiographical (I know this is a no-no but it was written in such strong intense way). She told me, "Not exactly, but if you read my book Tatty ... that's where I put most of it down." So before I read my copy of The Lives of Women I had ...more
May 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I re-read Tatty today as I sat in the sun in my garden. I am pleased to say I found it even more poignant and moving than I did when I read it almost a decade ago. This is a novel I recommended to all my female friends and family at that time and those who took up the recommendation echoed my feelings about the book.

Set in suburban Dublin in the 60s and 70s Tatty is the story of a little girl growing up in a difficult family. It is notoriously difficult to write in the voice of a child and still
Katja Steenberg
Nov 16, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people working with people
This book is about growing up in an alchoholic and dysfunctional family. It captures the chaos, hurt, fear and rage in a girl of eight that naturally follows growing up with emotionally unstable parents.
The book is about alchoholism but the patterns of instability and the emotional impact on children is the same in any dysfunctional family.
The book is partly autobiographical and perhaps this is the reason why the book is so emotionally captivating and compelling.
This is a read worthwhile for
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful little book written from the perspective of Tatty, not quite the middle child, growing up in a Dublin family during the 60s and 70s.
The narrative is pacey, which is refreshing.
The plot is revealed carefully in little snippets and observations by the main character, a technique which I am in awe of.

The story could have been told many ways, from any one of the character's perspectives, but I think the author was right to choose Tatty.

This book is proof that you don't need
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Christine Dwyer Hickey is a novelist and short-story writer. Her novel Tatty was short-listed for Irish Book of the Year in 2005 and was also long-listed for The Orange Prize. Her novels, The Dancer, The Gambler and The Gatemaker were re-issued in 2006 as The Dublin Trilogy three novels which span the story of a Dublin family from 1913 to 1956.

Twice winner of the Listowel Writers Week short story
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“Tatty says oh yes, she knows what he's like. But when she thinks about it, she doesn't.” 2 likes
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