Pat Carey,
Growing up Irish Catholic &
Surviving My Mom's 11 Sisters

(Aventine Press, 2003)

Pat Carey has written down his life's memories growing up as an Irish-American Catholic in a very entertaining book. Readers may fall out of their chairs more than once from laughing so hard -- so don't disturb the neighbors! These are true stories of Carey and his family, but they also give a glimpse into Irish-American life near Boston.

Carey's grandfather always wanted a son, but kept getting daughters instead. He finally gave up after the 12th daughter. Because they were a large family, they were almost a tribe unto themselves. This grew even larger once the daughters got married and had kids of their own.

This family had its own words for all kinds of things. They also had some interesting customs and traditions, like trying to get into a theme park that charged only by car and not by the number of people in it.

Carey's immediate family was not as large as his mother's. He had three siblings. His mother ruled the house and organized work details and other things. She also organized how the food of the family was to be saved and when it was thrown out. She organized their clothing needs -- which meant cheap stuff or hand-me-downs.

Carey's book starts out with his aunts bringing lots and lots of potatoes to his home before his father got home from teaching high school. The sisters hauled potatoes in that had just been dug up and had them washed. Then they spread them throughout the house. Carey's father arrived and knew the sisters were up to something; it is not exactly clear what, but it gets your attention. Similar wacky things go on throughout the book.

If you are concerned about foul language you will want to be careful. It has some foul language, but not too extreme. It adds color to the stories. This is not a serious book. It is for leisure. If you need a good laugh or two, read this book. It will keep you rolling on the floor -- just watch out for the potatoes.

- Rambles
written by Benet Exton
published 2 July 2005

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