The Young Wan
By Brendan O'Carroll
(Viking Adult, Hardcover, 9780670031146, 224pp.)
Publication Date: February 10, 2003
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In The Mammy, star Irish comedian Brendan O'Carroll introduced fans to the earthy and exuberant Agnes Browne, a fiesty young widow struggling to raise an unruly, high-spirited brood in The Jarro, the gritty tenement heart of 1960s Dublin. Over the course of two subsequent novels, The Chisellers and The Granny, fans accompanied her through all her children's escapades and the other adversities that challenged her starch, street smarts, and wit. Soon there was a movie, Agnes Browne. But hungry fans wanted more.
Now, in The Young Wan, they have Agnes as even her children never saw her-a girl, a "young wan," growing up in the 1940s. The shy child Agnes Reddin and Marion Delany, destined to be her lifelong best friend, together survive the indignities and demands of schoolteacher nuns, unwelcome siblings, first jobs, first dances, and first encounters with the opposite sex. Agnes learns the street market trade from a tough ex-con and is about to marry the good-for-nothing charmer Redser Browne. But in a world where everyone knows everyone else's business, it's not only her mother-with a past of her own to recount-who fears Agnes will be turned away at the altar if she persists in wearing white. For within Agnes there buds already the first of the family to whom she'll become the ur-Irish mother.
Filled with O'Carroll's trademark wicked wit and loving, larger-than-life characters, The Young Wan reveals the inner workings of one family and one woman who cheerfully and irreverently defy everything life throws at them.