Tone/mood: thoughtful/humorous at times/wise/life/time
cnw rating: buy-worthy
Nuala O’Faolain is a beautiful and honest writer. Although she has (sadly) passed away, her writings are living on, strong. And this book was just what I needed to get back on the reading train I somehow missed over the past several months.
As I was reading along, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of connection to her character Rosie. Although she is much older than I am (in her mid-50s, I believe), her heart seems just as unsettled and her love for travel and meeting new people was very familiar to me. I remember reading a passage and thinking that the only way to describe her writing is that it’s beautiful. She has such an eloquent way of saying exactly what I have once thought and felt regarding significant life events, but could never describe it well, even to myself.
Rosie is an older adult who has traveled all around the world. She lives moment to moment with plans to go from one place to another; particularly from New York to Ireland, where her Aunt Min lives. With her Aunt being her only living relative, she checks in with her from time to time and eventually returns to Ireland to take care of her. From there, she is met with a multitude of positive and negative interactions with her loved ones. Her age and lack of committed relationship seems to be a topic that is brought upon with judgement and misunderstanding. Her story grows into more description of her relationship to Min and her childhood. The more I read, the more I saw little bits and pieces of personalities that my own friends and family possess. I somehow understand them more now because of this book. Rosie, like a lot of us, also struggles internally with her age and figuring out exactly what she needs and wants from life. Her Aunt Min, surprisingly, is a refreshing, cute and amusing character. With a tough exterior (for all the years she had to care for Rosie and her father), she has a tender heart. All the characters in the book were intriguing to me and each had their own set of fears, courage and insecurities that Nuala O’Faolain had gracefully unfolded.
O’Faolain’s wisdom and love of life is so warm and right on target that I felt a little more complete after reading this book. She made growing older a little more enticing and lovely. She taught me many, many things while reading this book. Gratitude for the love I receive from my family, friends and partner in life. How important it is to accept myself in every age I am and to really appreciate the little things that come like a warm smile from a friend or the comfort of petting a dog or cat. She also taught me a little more of the Irish culture, which is completely foreign to me. The perspectives of her characters on America was also interesting. Overall, a good read and a book I would definitely read over and over again.
This is my first book review. I find writing these kinds of reviews particularly complex due to the nature of length of the media. Because I spend days and weeks reading this one book, I find it difficult to convey an overall, singular thought on the book. To me, stories in general, are interesting and well-connected in depth. It’s impossible for me to write everything I thought about of the book while I was reading. This is definitely something I’d like to work on further. Although, I also feel that there is beauty in just reading and not thinking about it as a “review-to-be-topic.”