Rory & Ita by: Roddy Doyle

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Rory Doyle and Ita Bolger were both born in the 1920s, not long after the Irish rebellion. Their lives span most of the twentieth century, which saw Ireland transformed and the lives of its inhabitants dramatically changed. Roddy Doyle's oral history of his own parents shows what daily life was really like in Ireland, especially in the first half of the last century. The experiences here are almost quintessentially Irish. Their own parents were involved in politics (Ita's father as a young man had guns hidden under his bed; Rory's father--who makes a cameo appearance in A Star Called Henry--drove a tram and performed some discreet sabotage). Both Rory and Ita spent time in the city and in the countryside; both were conscious of the political changes going on around them; both went to work when rather young; and as newlyweds they moved into a house in the suburb that was so new it didn't yet have a road. There is a strong sense here of the emotional lives of two individuals: the joys, large and small; the hardships that you just dealt with; the inevitable losses and grief. By turns poignant, wry, and hilarious, sweet but never sentimental, Rory and Ita is an account of the moments that make up a life, offering a refreshingly real glimpse of a world becoming modern, independent, and--at the same time, ironically--an object of nostalgia.

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