The Troubles With Us, Allie O’Neill ( hardback 24th June 2021)
£14.99A hilarious memoir about growing up in Northern Ireland in the 90s towards the end of the Troubles and a brilliantly propelling narrative of the extraordinary background story of her mother. Her mother's vivid personality and witty colloquialisms dominate the book and help to give a social history of life in Belfast from the 1950s onwards. Growing up on the Falls Road in 1990s Belfast, Alix O'Neill has seen it all - burnt-out buses blocking the route to school, the police mistaking her father for a leading terrorist and a classmate playing hide and seek with her dad's prosthetic hand (blown off making a device for the IRA).
Not that she or her friends are up to speed with the goings-on of the resistance. They're too preoccupied with the obsessions of every teenage girl - booze, boys and Boyzone - to worry about the violence on their doorstep. Besides, the odd coffee jar bomb is nothing compared to the drama about to explode in Alix's personal life.
Desperate to leave Northern Ireland and the trials of her mother's unorthodox family - a loving yet eccentric band of misfits - behind, she makes grand plans for the next stage. But it's through these relationships and their gradual unravelling that Alix begins to appreciate not only the troubled history of where she comes from, but the strength of its women. Warm, embarrassing and full of love and insight, The Troubles with Us is a hilarious and moving account of the madness and mundanities of life in Northern Ireland during the thirty-year conflict.
It's a story of mothers and daughters, the fallout from things left unsaid and the lengths a girl will go to for fake tan.