Katie, Maeve and Evelyn – friends forever, united by their childhood games and their dreams of escaping the tiny Irish town of Glenbruff.
Outspoken, unpredictable and intoxicating, Evelyn is the undisputed leader of the trio. That is, until the beautiful, bold Pamela Cooney arrives from Dublin and changes Glenbruff forever…
Told from Katie’s witty, quirky perspective, Frances Macken’s debut beautifully captures life in a small town and the power of yearning for something bigger.
Filled with unforgettable characters and crackling dialogue, You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here takes a keen-eyed look at the complexities of female friendship, the corrosive power of jealousy and guilt, and the way that life can quietly erode our dreams unless we’re willing to fight for them.
Very Enjoyable Debut!
There’s something about novels from Irish authors which always gets to me; I find, as far as their sense of humour goes, that I’m on the same wavelength.
Glenbruff is a very small town in Ireland; very little happens and the youth have to make their own entertainment until most of them up and leave for the bright lights on offer elsewhere. Katie, Evelyn and Maeve are close knit friends who stick together through thick and thin .. and then Pamela Cooney from Dublin comes into Glenbruff and life is never the same again . . .
This is a very astute debut; it demonstrates the desperation of teenagers to get out of what they regard as their dead-end home town and make a life for themselves in the big, wide world. The characters are well-drawn and the humour runs throughout but this is no whitewash; this is an author who tells the story warts and all. The thing about country living is that everyone not only knows all about you but thinks they retain the right to have an opinion about your decisions and Frances Macken nails it. With a bit of mystery waiting to be revealed, this is a very enjoyable read. Certainly an author to watch out for in future and I’m very happy to give this first novel 4*.
My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is – as always – my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: coming-of-age women’s fiction
- Format: ebook, paperback, hardcover, audiobook, audio CD
- Size: 288 pages
- Publisher: Oneworld
- Publication Date: 26 March 2020
- Links: Goodreads
- Google Play
- Barnes & Noble
- W. H. Smith
Frances Macken (b. 1982) is from Claremorris, Co. Mayo. She completed a BA in Film and Television Production at the National Film School, Dún Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology. She has a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Oxford and is the author of several short stories. You Have to Make Your Own Fun Around Here is her debut work of literary fiction.