cover image That's That: A Memoir

That's That: A Memoir

Colin Broderick. Broadway, $15trade paper (356p) ISBN 978-0-307-71633-0

Broderick (Orangutan) was raised in Northern Ireland's County Tyrone during the "Troubles" that spanned nearly four decades. These formative years are told through snippets of daily life: beatings from teachers at his school, conversations with relatives, and various "firsts" as an adolescent. The news of the day%E2%80%94the bombings, kidnappings, and murders of Catholics and Protestants%E2%80%94influenced the everyday routine under his protective mother. Desperate to keep her family safe, she refuses him any independence: "The answer is no, and that's that." With her son on the brink of total rebellion, she relents and Broderick matures from the mischievous, curious altar boy into a teenager with everything to prove and nothing to lose. Somehow, Broderick keeps the reader on the edge of laughter through many otherwise horrifying experiences and bad choices. He is a storyteller of great depth, sharing his life with the kind of brutal honesty and narrative skill rarely expected or found in a memoirist. Broderick is a writer's writer who has achieved a profound telling of his experience of Northern Ireland's Troubles. (May)