Book Review: Big Girl Small Town

This debut novel by Northern Irish author, Michelle Galen, has been well loved in the UK and praised for its humor, especially with the Troubles as a background, not a humorous subject at all.

I have to confess that I missed the humor, maybe it is because I don’t get the characteristic dark British humor. But I did find Majella O’Neil, the unique and quirky protagonist, a very lovable character. She’s an introvert, not a people’s person and brilliant, though her tough life diminished her chances of success. She’s real and unapologetically herself, awkward and funny. Like a Seinfeld character. And this novel is kind of a Seinfeld episode: just normal life happening with funny characters popping in here and there. There’s not much of a plot, but character development makes up for it. Though I had no idea where the author was going with this story, I felt that rush to read it all the way to the end. It is a charming book that captures the essence of a life in a small town with limited prospects. Like a Northern Irish Schitt’s Creek.

I was particularly a fan of the way that the author transliterated the accent, which makes it the kind of novel you want to read aloud. Or even better, listen to the audiobook. I heard a little sample and it sounds like it might even be better than in print. If you are looking for a light, fun read, this might be something you should consider.

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