Author: Michelle Gallen
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: December 1, 2020
Book Description: Meet Majella O’Neill, a heroine like no other, in this captivating Irish debut that has been called Milkman meets Derry Girls
Majella is happiest out of the spotlight, away from her neighbors’ stares and the gossips of the small town in Northern Ireland where she grew up just after the Troubles. She lives a quiet life caring for her alcoholic mother, working in the local chip shop, watching the regular customers come and go. She wears the same clothes each day (overalls, too small), has the same dinner each night (fish and chips, microwaved at home after her shift ends), and binge-watches old DVDs of the same show (Dallas, best show on TV) from the comfort of her bed.
But underneath Majella’s seemingly ordinary life are the facts that she doesn’t know where her father is and that every person in her town has been changed by the lingering divide between Protestants and Catholics. When Majella’s predictable existence is upended by the death of her granny, she comes to realize there may be more to life than the gossips of Aghybogey, the pub, and the chip shop. In fact, there just may be a whole big world outside her small town.
Told in a highly original voice, with a captivating heroine readers will love and root for, Big Girl, Small Town will appeal to fans of Sally Rooney, Ottessa Moshfegh, and accessible literary fiction with an edge.
Rating: 2 1/2 Stars
Book Review: Magella is a twenty-something woman living in Northern Ireland. She lives with her Alcoholic Mum and her father is no where to be found. She goes to work every day where she sells fish and chips to the same customers just about every day, and comes home after work and a night of drinking to watch her favorite TV Show Dallas. All in all she lives a pretty mundane life.
There is a life changing moment for Magella, when her Grandmother dies, when she starts to have an epiphany that there is much more to this life that she is leading.
I personally did not like Magella for the most part. There were things I was definitely in awe of, her work ethic, and the ability to save money the way she did. However, after that it goes all downhill for me. The major problem might be how this book is written, broken up by days of the week and different points of the day. However some of the sections went on and on like when Magella purchases a Duvet cover. I thought it would never end.
I believe this author wanted our heroine’s personality to really shine, especially as this book progresses, however I never saw it. It dragged for me a lot.
One thing is that is billed as hilarious, but I never felt that all. It just felt more like an underlying sadness than anything.
Thank you NetGalley and Algonquin for an Advanced Reader’s Copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.