By Tara Clancy | Published in 2016
A childhood triptych, Clancy’s memoir offers an admirable take on cultural realism. A daughter of an Irish father and an Italian mother, Clancy traces her path to adulthood in exploring moments of familial sentiment and fiery dispositions. She presents strong characterizations, some so polarizing: the outspoken and rough-around-the-edges grandmother, an intrepid woman with an astounding passion for Queens, juxtaposed with her mother’s wealthy boyfriend, a quiet, kind but distant fellow, one with a rather arcane past that often catches Clancy’s interest.
While Clancy’s tale has evident strengths, it lacks conflict, a true reason for reader investment, and therefore lacks a full narrative arc. The minor conflicts presented throughout the memoir are subtle, only revealing nuanced characterizations, rather than contributing to an overall message or storyline. It would have functioned better as a collection of short stories prioritizing its comedic edge.
Although impressively funny, the memoir could have benefitted from a further exploration of parent-child conflict, the sadness and unknown of growing up, and income disparity’s imposition on familial dynamic.