Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The Mammy

The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll
Paperback, 174 pages

Published 2012 by The O'Brien Press
First Published in 1994.

My shelves:
 adult-fiction, better-than-expected, books-i-own, cultural, favourites, historical, lasting-impression, movies-or-tv, read-in-2012, realistic-fiction
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Description via Goodreads:
Brendan O’Carroll’s hilarious first novel, and the basis for TV’s Mrs Brown’s Boys. Read about the joys and sorrows of Agnes, mother of the famous Mrs. Browne's Boys from the daily radio soap. A book of hilarious incidents, glorious characters, and a passion for life.

I'm a big fan of Mrs Brown's Boys, a very popular comedy here in England with Brendan O'Carroll acting as the lead character, Agnes Brown. It will probably be a surprise for quite a few people that the series is based on a trilogy of books written by O'Carroll himself. It was definitely a (very pleasant) surprise to me when I saw the trilogy in the bookshop. I knew I just had to pick them up!

Agnes Browne (With an e, unlike the TV show) is a loud, funny (though often not intentionally) and caring (in her own way, at least) Irish mother of seven children, struggling but trying her best to get through life after the death of her husband and a loss of income. To be honest, I couldn't tell you what a Northern Dublin neighbourhood would've been like in the 1960's, but it's the place and time period portrayed in this book and it seemed quite realistic. I have been to Dublin a couple of times and it was great to see a lot of popular places referenced - anybody who has been will recognise some of the mentioned locations. I thought that the atmosphere and the working-class struggle of Dublin was very well described and I really got into the setting.

Mrs Brown's Boys, as I've said, is a comedy and it is guaranteed to make me laugh out loud (often for quite a while afterwards, too!) every time. I was worried that the book wouldn't be as humorous after seeing it acted out, but oh, how wrong was I! I absolutely loved the humour in this book and was laughing nearly throughout each page. I instantly warmed to Agnes Browne and found her absolutely hilarious. Her connection with the other characters was fantastic. I really enjoyed reading about Agnes and her best friend Marion, their relationship was especially touching. Although the book was, for the most part, amusing, it also touched on some rather sensitive subjects, including love and loss. There was a real sense of community as everyone helped each other and even though times were difficult, good relationships and positivity helped to get them through. 

I really commend O'Carroll for executing this book so well. This was a very quick read as it was a short book at less than 180 pages, but it felt as though the author packed a lot in during that space. Without being overly descriptive, a very vivid scene was set and the personality of each character shone from the pages. I still have the next books, The Chisellers and The Granny to read and frankly, I can't wait! This is definitely a book that I'll keep hold of and can already see myself  wanting to revisit it in the future! 


  1. That sounds like a good read (and watch-- I hadn't heard of the show before either). I'll keep an eye out for it.

  2. I've never heard of the show, the books or the author of this one! Sad, as it sounds lovely- thanks for bringing it to my attention :-)

  3. I've seen lots of reviews of this for the Ireland Challenge, but haven't read it myself yet. I need to fix that!

  4. Fabulous review, I didn't know the T.V. show was based on a trilogy, but I think I need to pick it up. I am a big fan of Mrs Brown's boys and I roll about laughing every-time it comes on :)

  5. My friend keeps recommending this book to me. Your 5 star rating makes me want to read it even more! Thanks for the review.

  6. I had no idea the show was based on a series of books. I love Mrs Brown's Boys (even if it hurts from laughing so much).

  7. I read it years ago and then quickly read the rest of the series. I wonder if one can rent the shows somehow. Thanks for visiting my blog!

  8. I will have to read this one. Sounds fun!
    Now following you on GFC.

  9. This sounds like something I would really enjoy! Alas, I'm on a self-imposed ban from getting any new books this year (except for those in series I'm currently up to date in) so it will just have to go on my wish list. :)

    Thanks for visiting me recently!

  10. Ah, I totally want to read this. I haven't heard of the TV show but I grew up in an Irish Catholic family with 4 kids and my two best friends are the oldest of 9 kids and the fourth of 12(!) kids and I've been to Ireland a couple of times:) I'm pretty positive I'd love this. Thansk!


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