Cover Image: Factory Girls

Factory Girls

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Member Reviews

To be honest, I did quit halfway through this title to reread Michelle Gallen's super amazing debut BIG GIRL, SMALL TOWN - which takes place in the same universe as this title. But I did go back and finish FACTORY GIRLS. I have reread BIG GIRL SMALL TOWN so many times. Its a beauty of a novel, comfortable. FACTORY GIRLS is not so comfortable. There are nascent plot points that are designed to get you riled. But that's good too. I hope Michelle Gallen has a long and healthy career. She has an ear for dialect and yet does not overwhelm with phonetic spelling, which is a hard line to hit. Thank you for the ARC I plan on enjoying this title for years to come.
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This book pulled me in from the very start.  The writing is smart and made me want to keep reading.  The main character is a strong and smart young Northern Irish woman named Maeve.  Maeve is waiting for her exam grades so she can get into university.  While she waits, she gets a job at the local factory and moves into her first flatshare with one of her best friends.  Maeve has a lot to navigate as she learns the ropes of factory work, works alongside Protestants for the first time, and deals with complicated friendships.  She reflects back on growing up in a small town in Northern Ireland during the Troubles and on events that took place within her family.  She tries things and makes mistakes and learns from them and sometimes gets burned.  Thank you to NetGalley and Algonquin Books for an advanced copy in return for my honest opinion.
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While waiting for her exam results, Maeve takes a job at the local shirt factory with her friends. Set during the Troubles in 1994, the book also touches on what it was like for teens during this turbulent time. Fans of the TV show Derry Girls might enjoy this title.
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Kudos to the author for tackling some serious subjects with such humor and grace. Enjoyed these characters and their viewpoints.
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Factory Girls is a vivacious coming-of-age tale set in Ireland in the summer of 1994. The book deals with upheaval – political, social, economic, family, and personal. Not a single word is wasted as the author pulls readers deeper into Maeve’s life and all the ways in which it is complicated, confusing, and uncertain. Awaiting the test results that will largely determine her future, Maeve moves out of her parents’ house, starts a new job at a factory, and has to navigate new relationships with people on both sides of the Protestant-Catholic divide. Though the writing could easily slip into the morose, it is full of colour and life with a boldness that boarders on being brash. Maeve is not a charming character, but I found myself caring about her deeply. In fact, many of the characters are downright unlikable, but they felt so real that I could not help but root for (most of) them. The language in this book was immersive so that I often found myself thinking with an Irish accent and using colloquial phrases after reading! This novel gives few conclusions but in the midst of what could be something dismal, it offers hope. I truly enjoyed this book.
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In Northern Ireland during the early nineties, Maeve wants nothing more than to escape her small border town for the big city. While she waits for her exam results she takes a summer job at a local shirt factory where she works alongside Catholics and Protestants alike. This novel is a snapshot in time, showing life at a difficult time in history, but also a simpler one. The friendships between the women, the local gatherings, all combine to make this beautifully written coming of age story
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