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3.78  ·  Rating details ·  779 ratings  ·  129 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 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  779 ratings  ·  129 reviews

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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
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.
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.
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.
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 sibli
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.
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
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.
Frances Wilde
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastically written, although from a child's perspective, not patronising to the reader at all. Bit of an abrupt ending is my only criticism! ...more
Jacqueline Sinnott
Quite a triggering read for me personally with the issues of violence in the home, alcoholism, childhood trauma etc. Some of it very close to home. However it's a beautifully written book, heartbreaking and maybe even grim but again that's due to my own personal history ...more
Hoda هدى
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved it.
Really Heart-breaking.
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 cou ...more
Z K Bodzan
‘Tatty’ by Christine Dwyer Hickey is an incredibly moving story of a young girl growing up in a troubled family.
What I particularly liked in this piece was the childlike simplicity of the language which helps to imagine the main character’s life better. Although detailed descriptions of alchohol abuse and Tatty’s parents’ problems cannot be found in this book, it brilliantly depicts the feelings of a child faced with the problem of living in a disturbed family. It is a picture of the confusion
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 sh
Feb 21, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I’ve heard some of my friends mentioning the title of this book, saying it was good blablabla so I decided to take it from the shelf.

Good lord what was that.

This is one of the examples why you should never judge a book by its cover, because in this case it shows young girl hanging head down from the tree but as I go through these pages it doesn’t look so colorful.

Let’s start with something easier and definitely worth mentioning – careful choice of words. This title is all about the
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. ...more
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.
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
The Quill Hand
Christine Dwyer Hickey’s semi-autobiographical novel, Tatty, was originally published in 2004. This year, it was rereleased with a spellbinding introduction by Dermot Bolger, and has been chosen as the Dublin One City One Book title for 2020. Set in the 1960s-70s, Tatty tells the story of a young Dublin girl whose family has been torn asunder by a devastating addiction to alcohol. The novel begins when Tatty, the titular main character, is three years old, and follows her, along with her five si ...more
Mar 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: drama
Interesting short novel about the life of an Irish family in the 60-70s.
As a Spaniard living in Dublin, I always find super interesting to learn about the way Irish people lived during the last century, which problems they faced, what did they struggle with, how was the city... This novel helped me understand better, for example, the impact alcohol has had in Irish culture during the last decades.
Learning from the past is the best way to correct problems today. And this novel shows in a very en
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 c ...more
“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, b
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
Anne Goodwin
Sep 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As children do, Tatty both knows and doesn’t know about her parents’ limitations – or perhaps the limitations of the situation they find themselves in. Both would like to be better people but, with no adult confidants, the drink makes a bad situation worse. Yet Tatty’s humour, optimism and charm makes for enjoyable company; it’s a lovely novel about tragic characters with all too believable flaws. ...more
Natasha Mairs (Serenity You)
I listened to this on audio book. The only really thing that I enjoyed about listening to this was the Irish accents.

This is told by Tatty, a 4 year old girl up until she reached 14. It basically tells us her everyday life and what it's like living in a large Irish family back in the 1960's.

The blurb does say that it is a humorous book, but I didn't really find that. It felt bland and more like a diary of a child in a dysfunctional family. Didn't really pay much attention to much of it as it was
Linda Coyle
Apr 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautifully written book, from a child’s point of view, of growing up with alcoholic parents in 60s/70s Dublin. So sad, yet funny at times and the author captured the voice of Tatty perfectly, and also life in Dublin at that time. Sometimes reminded me of my own childhood, as I grew up during that time in Dublin, made me remember lots of long forgotten things. Really wonderful read.
Elaine Harold
May 15, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tough read but very effective in getting across the chaotic, painful nature of growing up in a household where both parents are alcoholics. A short read that packs a punch. I have no idea where the descriptor of hilarious on the fly leaf comes from. I found nothing remotely funny in this story. An excellent read.
Therese O'Reilly
May 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well that was fecking devastating. I had to take a break from it for a few days. I thought Christine Dwyer Hickey brilliantly inhabited a young girl's inner mind. I read as it was chosen as the Dublin 2020 One City One Book. All I think of now is the horror some children are living through without the break school gives them from living with alcoholic parents. This will stay with me. ...more
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Tatty by Christine Dwyer Hickey 1 1 Apr 28, 2020 04:34AM  

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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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