Saturday, October 14, 2006

Tea and Green Ribbons: A Memoir by Evelyn Doyle

Because novels are written in the first person with narrators telling what has happened in their lives, the entire genre of the memoir can be thrown into the category of "nonfiction that reads like fiction." That is unfair, as it is really the first person novel that is posing as something it is not, but it is a useful ploy for librarians trying to connect books with readers. One memoir that might particularly interest fiction readers is Tea and Green Ribbons by Evelyn Doyle.

When Evelyn Doyle was eight years old and living in the slums in Dublin, her mother left her family to live in Scotland with one of her father's cousins. Because her father was out of work, he placed her and her five brothers in orphanages and moved to England to find work. When he returned to Ireland with his earnings, he found a job, applied for public housing, and tried to reclaim his children. The Irish government, however, refused to return his children without the signature of the missing mother on the release papers. She was not cooperative.

In Tea and Green Ribbons, Doyle weaves together the stories of her father's legal battle and her life in the convent with orphans and nuns. Readers who enjoyed Brendan O'Carroll's Irish novels will enjoy this true Irish story.

Doyle, Evelyn. Tea and Green Ribbons: A Memoir. New York: Free Press, 2003. ISBN 0743242599

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