A Year in Books/Day 216: Wild Irish Women

  • Title: Wild Irish Women Extraordinary Lives from History
  • Author: Marian Broderick
  • Year Published: 2001/This Edition: 2002 (The O’Brien Press)
  • Year Purchased: September 2012
  • Source: My momma.
  • About: Besides hailing from the fair island of Ireland (or, in some cases, having Irish parentage), all of the women profiled in this book have one thing in common: they are all dead. Just my cup of tea! I love historical ladies, whatever their professional or social province or claim to immortality, however slight. The more eccentric, the better. The 75 women included in this volume, for good or ill, do our complicated place in history justice. The stories of their often oppressive lives are stimulating, maddening, thought-provoking, and inspiring. They were artists, writers, intellectuals, wives, mothers, sisters, daughters, lovers, republicans, actresses, scientists, and activists. One thing they never were, was boring. Since my curiosity about the women who smoothed my path is unapologetically insatiable, I couldn’t flip the pages fast enough. It’s a wonderful tease into the fascinating subject of forgotten women.¬†Distilling-or gutting-the essence of a life, human and flawed and fertile, into a few pages comprised of paper and ink could be, and often is, problematic. Lives aren’t edited, but history is; what is left out is as important as what remains. Take this book as a nice starting point, then go forth and learn more.
  • Motivation: My love of feisty, original, gutsy women is well-known. Naturally, this book reminded my mom of me.
  • Times Read: 1
  • Random Excerpt/Page 49: “However, there was something that lifted the spirits of Peig (Sayers) and the other islanders on the long, dark winter nights: storytelling. This important form of entertainment was part of the old Irish oral tradition. A dail, or assembly, would meet at night in a house, and a comedy, mystery or tragedy would slowly unfold. Peig, with her pure Irish and her beautiful embellishments and turns of phrase, was an acknowledged master of the art. She kept hundreds of stories in her phenomenal memory, and she was able to memorize a story that would take a week in the telling after hearing it just once.”
  • Happiness Scale: 9 1/2

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