So I was recently asked to review Alabama Irish. Released in 2016, I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of it but in the past I’ve found that sometimes, the books and authors that I’ve never heard of, have become some of my favourite books. Like all books, I went in with an open mind…
We start with a poem. One of my favourites. Rudyard Kiplings, IF. At first, it seemed like a strange choice of poem. I wasn’t sure how this fitted with the book. However, after the first chapter (there’s only 5 and they’re quite long), I can 100% see why this poem was chosen, without a doubt it suits the book!
And so we begin. We meet Brian, a kid from Alabama, growing up on the wrong side of the law. Now with a juvenile record and a troubled past, Brian grows up thinking there’s not much more to life than working in his uncles gym, MMA and helping other fighters train…then, by freak accident, he meets Shannon, an aspiring actress and very quickly, learns what true love is.
When you fall in love, no one can tell you you’re in love. You just know. Others will even make fun of you for falling so soon, but it’s just because they don’t understand. I get that now. Falling in love is really beautiful and terrifying all at once.
Motivated by this, he does everything he can to be reunited with her at her college and does whatever it takes to get there. He fakes his nationality, puts on an accent and being unable to afford accommodation, sleeps in the library every night. He soon realises that people actually like him for him, that he is capable of more and worth more. He makes friends he never thought he’d make and does everything he can for the woman he loves and finds a home away from home…a place where he feels at home, and has a family.
In this life, we shouldn’t look for someone who will fix us or solve our problems. We need to be with people who help us want to become better, and who will stand, walk, and crawl with us during our times of pain and loss. And they’ll know that we would do the same for them.
Alabama Irish is a wonderful, coming of age story, reminding us that no matter where we come from, no matter our pasts, the possibility of finding true love remains and is never lost. It reminds me of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. Diary entries let us follow Brian, entry by entry, watching him grow, mature and realise that he can do whatever he wants too… when he puts his mind to it!
This novel has a motto, a beautiful motto. This novel teaches us the necessity of honesty and openness in the pursuit of loving, long-lasting relationships; with friends, with family and with the one.
A highly relatable novel, you’re bound to take something from this book, I know I did! Recommended read for anyone who needs a confidence boost. Who needs to hear that you can be anything you want to be, anything you want to do.
Until next time,