Why did I love this book?
Edna O’Brien’s 2012 autobiography Country Girl is a blunt, gripping, lyrical and non-self-pitying depiction of her early life in the west of Ireland. It exposes the stultifying conformity imposed by the Catholic Church, family and community which I experienced myself. She rebelled as she sought freedom and self-expression from a domineering mother and drunken father. Edna’s escape to Dublin, London and New York as well as her exile from Ireland reflects an individual addicted to drugs and alcohol who seeks acknowledgement, liberty and success through many failed relationships. Edna’s autobiography resonates with many of my own experiences of the 1960’s. Country Girl demonstrates how one Irish female writer broke the cultural silence so that others would not feel alone. Her writing was an inspiration to me for my own memoir.