“Beautifully written coming of age story set in 1950s Ireland. Sometimes you have to wonder at the friendship between Caithleen and Baba but as in most relationships it's hard to understand the nuances that makes something work so well for those involved. O'Brien does a wonderful job of presenting...”see full review » see other reviews »
“Beautifully written coming of age story set in 1950s Ireland. Sometimes you have to wonder at the friendship between Caithleen and Baba but as in most relationships it's hard to understand the nuances that makes something work so well for those involved. O'Brien does a wonderful job of presenting those nuances and making there characters come to life.”Carolyn F wrote this review Friday, August 2, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Something I picked up at Andrew's little library in Cambridge to read, but never got to. Had read about the author maybe while in Ireland.”Michelle H wrote this review Wednesday, May 4, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Sara W said 3.5 Stars, rounded to 4
The Country Girls Trilogy and Epilogue is a compilation of three novels that span the lives of two girls, from childhood through middle age, who were both rivals and friends in rural Ireland. The first of the three novels, The Country Girls introduces us to Caithleen and Baba. Caithleen is practically raised by a single mother, her father often drunk and absent, leaving them with little or no money most days, while Baba's father is good provider who comes home every night, even if the family isn't exactly a happy one. Together they go off to a convent school, Caithleen on scholarship, Baba out of jealousy. The second book in the set, Lonely Girls (more commonly known by the name Girl With Green Eyes), picks up where the first leaves off, in Dublin, where the girls are set to start their lives. They live together as boarders, Baba to attend school, and Caithleen working in a grocery. What they are really looking for though is freedom and men, rich if Baba has anything to say about it. The final book of the series, Girls In Their Married Bliss opens with both of the girls marriages, both of them seemingly getting exactly what they wanted. Yet nothing is ever as it seems, and life still has many surprises in store for both of them.
Both the first and second book were told by Caithleen, later known as Kate, while the last of the trilogy and the epilogue are narrated by Baba. Kate was often ruled by her emotions, and though intelligent, she let her feelings blind her to common sense and reality. Baba is far more pragmatic; she is also brazen and bold, and in my opinion makes a far more interesting character, though Kate's story is richer. In the end, I quite enjoyed all of the books and I'm glad I read them together in one book, because I'm not sure that I would have made a point to continue soon after the first.
Both The Country Girls and Girl With Green Eyes can be found on the list of the 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die, though I actually enjoyed the last book far more. The story told in Married Bliss, while much darker, was more interesting and far richer. Yet, without the first two preceding it, it couldn't have been told. These are quintessential coming-of-age stories, both realistic and tragic, telling a story that unfolds every day, in every town and city.”
“Mary B said:
5 stars (heart pending)
This charming and humourous coming of age tale touches on the darkest elements of Irish culture. Humour about alcoholism, spousal abuse and evil nuns, you may ask. YES! The darker elements blend into the background as the reader follows Kate and Baba as they grow up in their small town, attend secondary school at a convent, and make their way to the big city. It's a timeless tale that happens to take place in a time and place that's very specific.”
“Poor Caitleen has a hard life but doesn't know it - she only really concentrates on love. Hilarious tales about life of a growing girl. ”Jane H wrote this review Saturday, September 25, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“My coming of age book - I've read it repeatedly since the 1970s and still feel such a strong connection. Kate grew up in a strict family and was expected to behave and a nice young man came along to marry. God, it was so restricting - Kate and Baba showed me that you could escape, cause scandal and live ever after, and I followed their path.”Yvonne B wrote this review Monday, August 2, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“charming rites of passage tale of Irish girls abroad. well written and engaging.”val l wrote this review Thursday, January 14, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Two Irish country girls grow up and move to Dublin. I like the main character. Quick read and intertaining.”Autumn F wrote this review Wednesday, January 13, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent story of two young Irish girls in the sixties. Caithleen and Baba want to step out into the world leaving their rural life behind. It tells what happens when the girls arrive in Dublin ready to savour life in the city.”Laurel L wrote this review Tuesday, March 31, 2009. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No