Patrick’s memoir recalls a deeply traditional world, on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, that grappled daily with the harsh realities of farming, poverty, and the powers of The Church. Patrick was caught between the demands of his father, who wanted the boys to help on the farm, and his ambitious mother who wanted to give her children opportunities through education. In a distinctive, teetotal, non-smoking family Patrick, the seventh son, struggled to find his place.
You will follow a deeply conflicted child wanting to be one of the men as well as a good student. An acute observer of the farming year and the physical demands of planting, sowing, reaping, and digging. Singled out at school, young Patrick is voiceless in a world of silence and violence. His minutely drawn account of events, place and personality allow the reader to be transported to childhood fears and incomprehension.
Patrick narrates his story through the dialogue of his youth as he shows the challenges of subsistence farming life lifted by moments of family humour. His yearning for belonging, his endurance and his eventual escape speaks to generations of a remote, but not distant, Ireland.