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That's That: A Memoir    by Colin Broderick Amazon.com order for
That's That
by Colin Broderick
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2013 (2013)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Colin Broderick grew up in Northern Ireland when the Troubles were at their height - the end of the 60s, the 70s and into the 80s. The world read of these times as killings escalated. The Republic of Ireland had separated from Britain the 26 counties of the Republic had voted for partition and became free of British rule.

However, the six counties that made up the North voted to remain British. Many Catholics living in the North felt endangered. I won't go into the liberties that were lost and the atrocities committed by both sides. I would have hated living there as a wife and mother, never knowing when men walked out the door in the morning if they would be carried home on a door at night. And one has to wonder what lives those that died might have lived.

Broderick's memoir chronicles his life from the time he was about twelve until he changed his life around. Until then, it seemed his only food was alcoholic. He also enjoyed drugs and tobacco. How he's survived as long as he has is a mystery to me.

He does, however present the feelings of Catholics in the North during the Troubles. How young men he grew up with suddenly disappeared. How they were harassed at military checkpoints as they drove anywhere, concerned they might be removed from their cars and shot on the spot. Not knowing if a bomb might go off when they started their car. Or they might be arrested and held without counsel. Catholics and Protestants might live on the same block in perfect harmony but their children were rarely allowed to play with each other.

At the center of this book is Roderick's mother to whom he just couldn't listen. When asked why about anything, she might answer, 'No. And that's that.' He didn't realize that she was trying to keep her two daughters and four sons alive. What a battle that must have been. That's That presents a gripping history lesson about a sad and bloody period, along with the story of a man trying to live through it.

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