I am trying to read more non-fiction this year, so both of these books not only fit the bill, but also sounded extremely interesting. Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? is all about being raised in a family of 11 children, after the death of their mother. Maid is the story of a single mother and trying to make a living for her and her young daughter. Both were very interesting and engaging.
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died?: A Memoir by Séamas O’Reilly
Published June 7th 2022 by Hachette Audio, Little, Brown & Company
I had not heard of Séamas O’Reilly, an Irish columnist, but had seen several reviews of Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? and thought it would be an interesting book for my non-fiction challenge. I was engaged, laughed a lot and introduced to a very different family than I had ever met before. To begin, he describes his family this way: “Seven would have been considered crisply eccentric, and nine plainly mad. To be one of eleven was singularly demented.”
Séamas was only 5 when his mom died and his father was left to raise a family of 11 children. What follows are the adventures and lessons as they learn to cook, clean and run the house. The village they live in tries to help, at least spiritually, and the priest often adds humor to this memoir. All does not go smoothly for this family with near misses while on vacation, an IRA bomb blowing out their windows, and more. I can only imagine the stress this harried father went through as he pulled himself together after the loss of his wife to keep this large family together, teach them to live, love and survive. He certainly has my admiration! This book is full of smiles, laughs and poignant moments. Séamas O’Reilly took tough times and looked at the humor and life in them and penned an engaging and enjoyable memoir that I recommend.
Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive by Stephanie Land, Barbara Ehrenreich (Foreword)
Published January 22nd 2019 by Hachette Books
4 Stars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
I watched the mini-series, Maid, on Netflix earlier this year and when I found out it was based on this book by Stephanie Land, I immediately checked it out of the library. Maid tells Stephanie Land’s true story of what it is like to raise a child alone. Having no support system, little to no finances and hard work for very low pay, she has to navigate the social services to support herself and young daughter. Hearing what it feels like to be yelled at “you’re welcome” by other customers after you have used food stamps or EBT cards to pay for your groceries. Not being able to give your child extras, or even nutritional meals, not being able to go places or take them to events because you have not gas or just enough to get to work the next day is something that many people, including myself, can not possibly understand. Stephanie gives a realistic and sad picture of the reality in America of what a single, low income mom has to do to get she needs to do to survive. The series takes literary license and changes things up somewhat, so I am very glad I read this book. It opened my eyes to what the working poor have to deal with, and the fact that the rich get richer, people have no idea who really uses social services, and that many people who proclaim to be Christian or caring, really aren’t at all. This is a book that I think should be highly promoted and that more people need to read to open their eyes to the plight of the working poor.