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The Mammy: 01/07/10

The Mammy by Brendan O'Carroll is the first book of the Agnes Browne trilogy. The other two books are The Chisellers and The Granny. There's also a radio show, Mrs. Browne's Boys.

The book starts off with Agnes being newly widowed. Her husband was abusive but he never hit the kids. Agnes misses the brute but knows she has to stay strong for her seven kids.

These opening chapters are written with an oddly light touch. From the notes I took while reading the book, I compared The Mammy to the Georgia Nicholson series if the main character were older and with children.

Unfortunately this manufactured light-heartedness doesn't hold up well against all the different tragedies of Agnes's life and the lives of her friends. The humorous facade begins to wear thin. Agnes's mistakes and the narrator's flippant approach to her struggle cheapen a plot that would have been better served if written as a straightforward drama.

After all the tragedy and melodrama, The Mammy ends happily. There's a caper involved in this ending that seems out of place in this book even though it has been foreshadowed a little.

One thing the book blurbs on the cover promises is that the book is funny. I didn't laugh once. The humor is awkward and uncomfortable. Had I laughed, it would have been a nervous, embarrassed laugh. I don't plan on reading the last two books in the series.

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Comment #1: Thursday, January, 7, 2010 at 08:41:46


I had a completely different feeling from The Mammy. I loved it, especially the humor. The opening was even hysterical, where she and Marian were at the welfare office. It was charming, and at the ending I couldn't help but cheer for Agnes to succeed.

Well, everyone sees things differently.

Did you know that there's a movie based on the book? Agnes Browne starring Anglica Houston. It's a great movie, too, although, since you didn't care for the book you might not like it.

Comment #2: Friday, January 8, 2010 at 18:48:04


I didn't know there was a film but now that I do know, I'm not interested in seeing it.

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