Hopscotch: A Memoir
by Hilary Fannin
‘Quite brilliant; beautifully, cleverly observed; funny, heart-breaking.’ – Roddy Doyle
Hilary is four, not yet five, and she has a mother and a father and an older brother and sisters. She even has a name at home – Billy – that is different from her written-down name. But now that she is in Low Babies in the local convent school, it seems Hilary has something else called responsibilities.
The world is a changing place. Hilary’s parents, themselves products of a country bathed in sanctifying grace, and presided over by leather-strapped Christian Brothers, wimpled nuns, and a strictly ingrained moral code, start to question their own life choices. As she begins to mature, Hilary’s perspective shifts from a confusing mosaic of half-understood conversations, bizarre rules and surreal religious symbolism, to a growing awareness of the eccentricities of the adult world around her, where money is tight, ideas are unorthodox and where living life to the full is the goal.
As her parents’ unconventional lifestyle rubs against the grain of a pervasive Catholic society, the cracks begin to appear: siblings are expelled from school; final demands litter the hallway; and Hilary discovers the truth about the always-present but never-to-be-mentioned golden-haired lady.
Hopscotch is a funny, poignant and beautifully written memoir, a spellbinding meditation on innocence, love and memory itself.
The most moving memoir I’ve read since Nuala O Faolain’s Are You Somebody? A mesmeric, evocative tour de force.
The best book I read last year. A heartbreaking story masterfully written.
Truly extraordinary and lyrical prose . . . a hymn of boundless love and gratitude and redemption . . . this rather wonderful book.
Brenda Power (Sunday Times)
Completely enthralling; poignant, vivid, laugh-out-loud moments.
Brilliantly written and absolutely hilarious. Hilary is an extraordinary writer and Hopscotch is destined to become a classic of the form.
Consistently funny, frequently touching and full of passages studded with sharp observation, impressive psychological insight and surreal invention . . . a small masterpiece.
Enda O'Doherty (Dublin Review of Books)
Quite brilliant; beautifully, cleverly observed; funny, heart-breaking.
Hilary Fannin carries the reader deep into the mind of a little girl baffled by the world around in her candid, intoxicating memoir . . . a lucid, crystalline and intoxicating style. Hopscotch tells a private story with candour and exactitude, love and understanding, artfulness and wit.
Carlo Gebler (Irish Times)
Hopscotch is searingly honest, hilariously funny and utterly memorable.
Mary Shine Thompson (Irish Independent)
Hopscotch captures the joys, fears and bewilderments of a 1960s Dublin childhood through the wonderful prism of an innocent young girl’s puzzled attempts to navigate the muddy waters of her parents’ world. It is written with a deft sleight of hand that makes it wonderfully funny and moving.
Dermot Bolger (Sunday Independent)