IT'S A LONG WAY FROM PENNY APPLES

Bill Cullen, Author . Forge $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-0-7653-0710-1

Cullen's memoir attempts to do for Dublin what Angela's Ashes did for Limerick. Born in the slums in 1942, one of 12 children, Cullen lived a life shaped by hard work, the Catholic Church and family. But unlike McCourt's unrelentingly sad account, Cullen's work trumpets the inner strength and humanity of Irish tenement dwellers. The Cullens may have been poor, but they were resilient. Young Liam, as he was called, worked the market stalls, selling everything from fish to newspapers. En route, he acquired an early and invaluable business education. His parents are a study in true grit, often toiling 15-hour days, while his grandmother instills in Liam a fierce pride in all things Irish, insisting, "Never forget your roots." And he never does. Indeed, he parlays a gift for math into a scholarship, managing to attend school and work every day. By the time he's a teen, he's putting in 75 hours a week at a Ford dealership. And it's there, aided by luck and street smarts, that he strikes it rich. The poor boy turns millionaire, moving from Ford franchise owner to CEO of Glencullen Motor Group. Although his early years are far more colorful and compelling than his later adult experiences, Cullen tells this rousing, heartfelt story with flair, honestly recounting the verbal and sexual brutality of some priests, the generosity of his community and his drive to succeed. Photos. (Mar. 3)

Forecast:Ubiquitous marketing and promotions coinciding with St. Patrick's Day, including an author tour to U.S. cities with high Irish-American populations and ads in the New York Times Book Review, along with a blurb from Jack Welch, should help Forge sell this one, though one wonders if the frenzy for McCourt spinoffs has passed. Hodder & Stoughton published the book in the U.K. last year.

Reviewed on: 02/03/2003
Release date: 03/01/2003
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-85635-400-4
Hardcover - 382 pages - 978-1-85635-381-6
Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4668-2091-3
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