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Have you ever wondered about the sectarian violence in Ireland? That's That: A Memoir explains it better than any other book I have ever read. Colin Broderick writes about growing up in Northern Ireland during the height of "The Troubles."
Much of his story is typical adolescent stuff--interest in the opposite sex and rebelling against parents and authority figures. I totally fell in love with his portrayal of his mother. She reminds me of my own mother in some ways.
The title of the book was a phrase that the author must have heard unendingly during his childhood when he complained about decisions his parents (usually his mom) made, no matter how much he protested or argued that other children were allowed to do what he was denied. My mother would have responded "That's that" also and probably would have added, "If the other children were allowed to drink sea water, fall off cliffs, run in front of cars, etc., would you want to do that too?"
The family component of this book makes for an interesting read. The terrible prejudice that was endemic to Irish society of that time period was painful to read, but certainly explains some of the reason behind the violence in Northern Ireland.
There are many great quotes in the book, but here's one of my favorites: "Once you taste freedom, the residue clings to your tongue like a thin veneer of hope."
Mary Wilmes is a library assistant at Half Moon Bay Library. Irish history holds a special place in her heart.