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The Boston Globe


Across the Pond

No Irish misery from a childhood lived in Medford

DUBLIN — Here in Ireland, misery-laden memoirs remain popular nearly 20 years after the ground-breaking publication of “Angela’s Ashes,” Frank McCourt’s graphic depiction of his early life in Limerick. Thanks to the late Mr. McCourt, the “Irish mammy” in particular continues to cut a pathetic figure on the national bestseller charts.

Well, with Mother’s Day here, I figure it’s my turn to have a go at this genre. Unfortunately, the deeper I delve into my Medford upbringing, the clearer the truth becomes: My formative years were unspeakably . . . ordinary. No matter how hard I try to conjure up scenes that a publisher might find sufficiently harrowing, the fact is that my mother has always behaved like a well-adjusted and normal adult whose primary concern was the welfare of her family. (And the same could be said about my dad.)

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