“Our lives are simply fleeting glimpses of time, as we never know when our journey ends or a new one begins.”
Greg McVicker grew up near Belfast, Ireland, during the times of the “troubles.” His family was Catholic and that often resulted in the teasing and beating up of himself, his siblings and his friends. His mother would keep a watch on the roads and tell them not to kick cans in case they were bombs. His father shielded him and his siblings when a bomb exploded outside of a movie theater and cautioned them not to run outside in case there was a second bomb. Due to all of this, and with his father only being able to find work being out on a boat most of the year, the family relocated to Canada when Greg was 15. It changed his life.
McVicker contacted me to review his book of children stories and two books of poems. I wanted to learn more about the story behind the poems, so I requested to read Through the Eyes of a Belfast Child, too. I was offered free copies in exchange for a fair review. The books and poems are written in memoir style – he is sharing his memories of life through his eyes. The stories are not necessarily in chronological order, but he groups topics together.
I first read The Adventures of Silly Billy and thought they were great children’s stories. McVicker does a good job of explaining the differences in language for children who don’t know much about Irish customs. Each tale has a good lesson – my favorite was the one where he is asked to run an errand by a teacher and decides to take the long way, only to find all the stores are out of the chocolate he is searching for. I read his two books of poetry next – An Irish Heart and One Cross to Bear. The poems are interesting in that they cover a variety of topics and McVicker gives some explanation with each poem. They do all rhyme, so it is more about telling the thoughts and stories than about prose. Through the Eyes of a Belfast Child gave a lot more background into how McVicker grew up and why he sees the world as he does.
While The Adventures of Silly Billy is great for all ages, the other three books are for adults. McVicker addresses topics such as AIDS, divorce, sex trafficking and domestic violence in his book and poetry. He is honest in his feelings, though, so it is interesting to read about. I would recommend these books to adults who enjoy reading memoirs and different people’s perspectives on life.
Do you enjoy reading memoirs? What is your favorite? Comment below!