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Big Girl, Small Town

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3.56  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  29 reviews

'Milkman meets Derry Girls. A cracking read' Sinead Moriarty

'Bawdy yet beautiful, full of everyday tragedy, absurdity and truth. I grew extraordinarily attached to Majella' Sara Baume

*Stuff Majella knows*
-God doesn't punish men with baldness for wearing ladies' knickers
-Banana-flavoured condoms taste the same as nutrition shakes
-Not everyone gets a volley of gunshots

...more
Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: February 20th 2020 by John Murray
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Average rating 3.56  · 
Rating details
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Anni
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm feeling bereft to get to the end of this novel, after spending so many entertaining hours in the company of the indomitable Majella . I was engrossed by her tales of the chippy with all the gossip and the unforgettable characters - not forgetting her co-worker Marty - who knows everything there is to know about any of the customers. I loved reading about Majella’s daily routines, especially as told in the Northern Irish vernacular which spares no blushes. I shall really miss reading more ...more
SueLucie
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley
This novel is a work of art, cleverly structured and subtly presented. Majella is somewhere on the autistic spectrum and finds daily interaction with others a chore. She has learned responses to the chip shop banter by rote which has the effect of making her shifts there repetitive and therefore something she can cope with. Her life is one of routine for her but most aspects of it strike the reader (well, me anyway) as unusual. But then life in a small town right on the border between Northern ...more
Anni
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm feeling bereft to get to the end of this novel, after spending so many entertaining hours in the company of the indomitable Majella . I was engrossed by her tales of the chippy with all the gossip and the unforgettable characters - not forgetting her co-worker Marty, who knows everything there is to know about any of the customers. I enjoyed reading about Magella's thoughts and (often intimate) daily routines, especially as told in the Northern Irish vernacular which spares no blushes.
I
...more
Siobhan
Sep 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Big Girl, Small Town is the story of Majella, a woman with a predictable life that other people find odd, and how a family death shakes up her routine. Majella lives with her alcoholic mother in the same small town in Northern Ireland that she's always lived in. She works in the chip shop, doesn't like small talk, and knows her daily routine. Other people seem to think her grandmother's recent death should have more of an impact on her, but Majella doesn't see any change in her life, until it ...more
Charlotte
Oct 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Think Eleanor Oliphant in small-town Northern Ireland and you'll be some way already to understanding Gallen's debut novel.

Only child Majella likes routine, predictability, Dallas and, is happiest in, her own company. But her father has disappeared in the 'Troubles' and her mother is rarely sober-either from the whiskey she consumes by the bottle or, failing that and when the opportunity arises, is "drunk on the attention of others."
So, Majella relies on her working week at 'Salt and
...more
Alexandra [[The Hungry Book Dragon]]
Thoroughly enjoyed this book by Michelle Gallen. A fantastic debut set in a small close knit town in Northern Ireland. The book follows a young woman navigating her life after the death of her grandmother whilst dealing with an alcoholic mother and an absentee presumed dead father.

Marjella is witty, realistic and completely recognisable. I loved the fact that she knows and loves who she is and doesn't change herself for others. Her coworker Marty at the Salt and Battered! Really lifted the book,
...more
thewoollygeek (tea, cake, crochet & books)
I loved this book, Majella is one of the best characters I’ve read or seen written in a long time, she takes time to warm up to but once she is in your heart she doesn’t let go. This book is about the everyday, the mundane and real emotions, I get why people may not enjoy it as much, but for me makes it a truly relatable, empathetic and powerful read. I really hope there is a second book and we get more of Majella


Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Annelies
Dec 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thank you to NetGalley and John Murray for the ARC

I have never been so happy about someone treating themselves to a new duvet.

Set in a small town in Northern Ireland somewhere near Strabane and Omagh, it brought back some good memories. I enjoyed the Norn Iron dialect, the chippy, all the customers with their own backgrounds, details thereof provided by Marty, and the ever present complicated history of the place. It was really lovely spending this time with Majella, always walking around in her
...more
Cassie Holland
Nov 05, 2019 rated it it was ok
Hailed as another Elizabeth Oliphant but I found Majella a difficult person to empathise with.
For me it was difficult read, I could not find the humour in it and I struggled to get to the end.

I received a free copy of this novel from NetGalley in return for an honest review.
Louise
Oct 30, 2019 added it
I tried hard to like this book, far harder than I usually do. The reviews were Good,so I thought I just needed to get into it.
I got into 50%of it,then gave up... I found it dull,repetative and a little depressing. It's probably supposed to be. Same old same old.
But I found no humour... and so I gave up.
Not for me.
Marjorie
Dec 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Majella O'Brien lives with the shadow of "The Troubles" on a daily basis. Living in a border town means that even after the Good Friday Agreement there is still a simmering undercurrent of tension between the Loyalists and the Unionists in Northern Ireland and from what little we glean of Majella's earlier life it seems her father and his family and wider range of acquaintances were intimately involved in the Unionist cause. Throw in the fact that Aghybogey still has clear separation between ...more
Elaine's Reviews
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
Big Girl Small Town is the story of Majella, 28 and stuck in a border town in Northern Ireland shortly after the signing of the Good Friday Agreement, so somewhere around 1998/1999. The book is narrated by Majella, who is somewhere on the autism spectrum (she is not aware of this), and is written in Derry dialect, which was wonderful.

We read about Majella and the day to day happenings in her life. She works in a chipper every night. Her mother is an alcoholic. Her father disappeared some years
...more
Elizabeth
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Twenty-seven year old Majella lives in a small close knit border town in Northern Ireland; she lives with her ma and works in the local chip shop. Her life is all about routine, at home and at work; she knows what time to expect her regulars and she likes her life like that. She was perfectly happy working Monday to Saturday evenings in the local chip shop and her Sunday evenings in the local pub.

We follow Majella over the course of one week in November; her Grandmother was recently tragically
...more
Alexandra [[The Hungry Book Dragon]]
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Charlotte Booth
Jan 07, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure whether I enjoyed this book or not - I don't think it is one that will stay with me. but I was compelled to finish it,

The book is narrated by Majella O'Neill who lives on the border in Northern Ireland in the aftermath of The Troubles. There are so many fascinating plot points which could have been expanded on including the brutal murder of her grandmother, the disappearance of her father, her uncle Bobby (a potential paedophile) being killed when his own bomb exploded, and her
...more
Sonny Side Books
Dec 17, 2019 rated it did not like it
I tried, I really did, but I found very little about this book enjoyable. Such great praise for this book, but I just didn't feel the same about it.

At first, the language used was tricky but I still understood it. I love shows like Derry Girls so for me I was super excited to read this but felt the more I read, the more I became disheartened and uninterested.

Majella as a character didn't endear herself to me at all. I liked how the portrayal of her grief came across in the book, as in real life
...more
Sonny Side Books
Dec 17, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I tried, I really did, but I found very little about this book enjoyable. Such great praise for this book, but I just didn't feel the same about it.

At first, the language used was tricky but I still understood it. I love shows like Derry Girls so for me I was super excited to read this but felt the more I read, the more I became disheartened and uninterested.

Majella as a character didn't endear herself to me at all. I liked how the portrayal of her grief came across in the book, as in real life
...more
Lindsay
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received this book for an honest review from
Netgalley, I read the book description and was intrigued.
Majella is 28 and lives with her mum in a small house in her village, based on her mannerisms and ways she sees the world she’s either Aspergers or Autistic she has ticks and ways of coping.
We see her through many weeks over the book as she goes through her life working in the local chippy, looking after her mum and dealing with the aftermath of her grandmothers murder in a village that feeds
...more
Rosalind
This was described as the next Eleanor Oliphant, well as I haven't read that I can't compare.
There really isn't a lot to say about the book. We follow Majella on her daily life over a few days. She doesn't do much except sleep, work in the local chippy and eat a free supper most nights.
Her father has gone missing, her mother is an alcoholic and enjoys being one and her grandmother has been murdered.
All makes for one very depressing read. I know the troubles were tough, but I read to escape not
...more
Andrea Hicks
Dec 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My thanks to Michelle Gallen, John Murray Press and NetGalley for the ARC.
Majella's world is very small. She works at the local chippy, creatively named a Salt and Battered on the evening and nightshift, lives with her alcohic mother in Aghybogey, and after her da goes missing years before has missed him and wondered what happened to him. She has no close fiends yet knows many people. Marjella is clearly on the autistic spectrum and the unique way she looks at life is intriguing. One can't help
...more
Cat
Nov 24, 2019 rated it liked it
As many others are saying, this is set to be the “Ms Orliphant” of 2020. Set in small town Ireland, this follows a big lass called Marjella through her daily life, just after her grans been murdered. Set mainly in the chip shop where she works and her bedroom, we trudge through her monotonous life.

I found this a good read, but odd because nothing actually happens and none of the mysteries thrown up at the beginning are actually solved... I found the menagerie characters we encounter interesting
...more
Ailsa
Dec 23, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'll be honest: the highlight of this book is the main character buying herself a new duvet. But I was so invested in her by this point that it was an absolute delight that she was treating herself.

Big Girl, Small Town is not like Milkman or Derry Girls in much other than the setting but it's still a quietly funny book which I think will divide readers. If you want to really get to know the characters, it's for you - if you're looking for an exciting plot then maybe avoid.

A solid 3.5 stars.
Irene Campbell
Jan 13, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Initially I found this novel hard to get into. However after the first few pages I was quite amused by the day to day life of Majella. A little crude perhaps, but definitely a good read for fans of the Derry Girls. My thanks to Net Galley, the author and the publisher for my advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Angie
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Majella makes an excellent protagonist, supported by a cast of diverse and endearing characters in Aghybogey. Much of the book is hilarious but there is also a lot of sadness and some serious themes under the surface. I found it authentic, refreshing and compulsive reading. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to hearing more from Michelle Gallen.
Sinead
Sep 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed how this book was written and how the characters were portrayed. Majella will be a character I remember for a long time. Though I think if you live outside of Ulster you will struggle with the language and words that are used.
Frances
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was ok
Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers and the author for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Sadly this book wasn't for me. In my opinion none of the characters were very likeable or charismatic, nothing really happened and there was too much swearing.
Frances
Dec 27, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Thank you to Netgalley, the publishers and the author for an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. Sadly this book wasn't for me. In my opinion none of the characters were very likeable or charismatic, nothing really happened and there was too much swearing.
Morgan Schulman
Sep 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reader-s-copy
I received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review

Kitchen sink realism done bleak but done right. You come to like these people despite themselves, and I will miss them. Look forward to reading more from this other
Tracy Collier
Dec 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: 2019
I have read a large number of books this year and this is definitely in the bottom 3! There is no storyline what so ever, just full of random mumblings from start to finish. Not a book I would recommend to anyone!
Rebecca Mc
rated it really liked it
Jan 21, 2020
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