Official Review: Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Ir...

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MarisaRose
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Official Review: Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Ir...

Post by MarisaRose » 31 Aug 2017, 14:09

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Irish Memoir" by Niall John Kavanagh.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Told through a series of yarns, Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Irish Memoir, Childhood and Coming of Age in Dublin, focuses on the author’s early life as an adolescent growing up in Ireland and continues up to his early twenties. Specifically, the memoir covers the period 1942-1966. These yarns are mostly chronological; some are simple vignettes about a person, place or singular event, and some are fully fledged short stories describing specific incidences in the author’s life. Family, growing pains, friendships, political strife and work-life are all touched upon in the 64 yarns that make up this collection. The author, Niall John Kavanagh, blends personal experiences with insight about historical and political events in his emotionally charged memoir.

The author successfully brings the Irish setting to life by utilizing various elements. For instance, intertwining historical facts within the memoir brought much needed context to the events described. Similarly, the introduction of many colorful characters and their quirky personality traits added a sense of realism to the stories. The element that most effectively brought the setting to life was the clever use of the author’s Irish brogue throughout each story. Combined, all of these elements made it easy to picture the places, people and things at the forefront of each yarn.

In addition to the apparent realism imbued in this memoir, the author does a wonderful job mixing humor, nostalgia and history. Like most young boys, Niall’s antics are outrageous at times, and there were quite a few laugh-out-loud moments in this collection. On the other hand, Niall suffered some tragedy in his early life, and these yarns are handled with care, becoming rather emotional. Throughout all of this story telling, the author sprinkles in quite a bit of Irish history. Thankfully, the historical points in this book are described in an interesting manner and genuinely add to one’s understanding of Niall’s life events.

Although many of the vignettes and short stories succeed in eliciting emotion without a typical plot arc, some tended to be a bit more mundane and didn’t have as powerful an effect. Simply put, some of the yarns never reached that atmospheric level of storytelling that can turn monotonous life events into worthwhile reading material. Unfortunately, this made parts of the memoir a little boring.

Part memoir, part history book, I highly recommend this book to those interested in Ireland and its past and to those who enjoy a bit of humor in their reading. Although the author successfully combines stories from his early life with important Irish history in a meaningful and interesting manner, some of the yarns are significantly more interesting than others, and for that reason I rate Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Irish Memoir 3 out of 4 stars.

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Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Irish Memoir
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Post by Karolin » 01 Sep 2017, 03:32

Thank you for this wonderful review! Very insightful and really inspiring. Makes want to read the book. And anyway, sounds like a fascinating and relaxing read.
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Post by Amagine » 01 Sep 2017, 04:02

I love whenever an author's written experiences are enriched with historical and educational content. This sounds like a good book.

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Post by kandscreeley » 01 Sep 2017, 07:29

I honestly don't know a lot about Ireland especially during that time. It sounds like this would be a good book to learn some. Thanks for a good review.
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Post by geoffrey ngoima » 01 Sep 2017, 11:29

Your review also made me want to read the book though the genres don't sit well with me.
Thank you, MarisaRose, for the very informative review.
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Post by IsabelMay » 03 Sep 2017, 02:51

I'm in love with Ireland and its people, but I also plan on visiting Dublin soon so I think this will be a lovely read that will introduce me to the city. I'm sure it's changed since then, but it's always nice to learn a bit about its history.

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Post by MarisaRose » 03 Sep 2017, 07:13

IsabelMay wrote:I'm in love with Ireland and its people, but I also plan on visiting Dublin soon so I think this will be a lovely read that will introduce me to the city. I'm sure it's changed since then, but it's always nice to learn a bit about its history.
I actually visited Dublin two years ago and I recognized many of the landmarks the author referenced! This would be a great read before you go traveling :)
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Post by kimmyschemy06 » 16 Sep 2017, 03:37

Sounds like an interesting book. Collections can be like that, some stories are life changing, some are simply better than others and some are plain and ordinary. Great job on the review.

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Post by KlareAllison » 16 Sep 2017, 05:20

I love narratives which put me right there in the midst of interesting places, peoples and things. I think Laughter, Tears & Wonders: An Irish Memoir is one of such narratives. I enjoyed the review, it's nicely done.
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Post by Mercy Bolo » 27 Oct 2017, 09:53

Nice review. I like that this isn't a memoir infused with history. I'd like to travel to Ireland someday.
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