Cover Image: Factory Girls

Factory Girls

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Member Reviews

I wanted to like this one, but it just wasn't for me. Unfortunately it was a DNF, but I do think it was just the book was not suited for me and others would enjoy it.

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This book just wasn't for me. I'm not a huge historical kind of person, and this book just solidified that. I couldn't finish it unfortunately.

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Tis is the second book I have read by this author and I enjoyed both. Fun and quirky and set in the best place in the world. What's not to love>Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher!

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really cute and definitely think the derry girl comparisons are on point! definitely a character driven novel though, so people who need a plot to be drawn in probably won’t like this one too much.

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This was a great coming of age story set in a very turbulent time. I found myself completely immersed and I was surprised how fast I read it. I loved Maeve. I'm going to miss her.

Thank you to NetGalley for this ARC. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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"Maeve wasn't keen on some of the solutions that men had dreamed up for various historical "problems"; chastity belts; lobotomies; lunatic asylums; concentration camps."

Set in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, the story follows Maeve and her best friends as they take a summer job working in a shirt factory. Woven with questions of religion, power, identity, wealth, and community, this novel manages to cover a lot of large-scale ideas by only focusing on the lives of our characters in their small town. Oscillating between humor and serious tones, Factory Girls is a quick read that leaves a big impression.

If you like Derry Girls, learning about this period in history, and a good female-focused coming-of-age story pick this up! I definitely recommend it and will be reading more work by author Michelle Gallen.

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I really loved Big Girl Small Town and Majella was an amazing character in that. I was so eager to start Factory Girls, as I loved Michelle Gallen's writing style in her debut novel.

Factory Girls follows Maeve as she takes a job at a shirt factory the summer before going to University. She dreams of big things: of leaving Northern Ireland for London.

I could feel the anticipation of waiting for GCSE results and of wanting to move on with her life. I could remember how eager I was to go to university.

I felt drawn into Maeve's life and family relationships. The shirt factory was atmospheric. Michelle Gallen has great attention to detail both in Maeve's life and at the factory.

Factory Girls is an eye-opening look into Northern Ireland, The Troubles and Catholics and Protestants as well as everything Maeve went through. She's a very well created character, although she uses bad language at times, but I felt she was determined and was wanting her to do well.

Thanks to Michelle Gallen and Algonquin Books for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

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Ultimately I couldn't get into this one. The humorous writing style didn't work for me, and the writing was dense. But I think that's a "me" thing so definitely check this one out if you're interested in the subject.

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This was such a fun story. I really like to read stories based in Ireland. I like to explore a different culture that has themes that could take place anywhere, but the location makes a difference to that particular story. I liked it!

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A must-read for fans of Derry Girls if you're looking for something just a bit more serious and focused on everyday life. This is a coming-of-age story set in 1994 in Northern Ireland. The writing is engaging, the characters are memorable, and the friendships are especially moving.

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I'm a big fan of Derry Girls and books/tv shows set in Ireland so I really enjoyed this one! I liked Maeve and enjoyed her story. I found some parts humorous as well.

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the eARC.

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I really liked the idea of this book, but it just fell apart for me unfortunately. The premise and ad copy for it were really interesting and well done, but I found myself not being very engaged with the book at the end of the day.

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Thank you to Net Galley for this advance e-book copy of “ Factory Girls” byMichelle Gallan. The main. Character in this book, Maeve Murphy, is looking to leave Northern Ireland behind in the summer of 1994.. To earn money for university she starts working in a shirt factory where she must iron 100 shirts an hour while avoiding the advances of her boss, Andy.This is a violent time in Northern Ireland where Protestants and Catholics are still fighting over their divided land.There is lots of drama and behind the scenes intrigue in this book.As first generation Irish this book hit home with all the drama between the Catholics and Protestants.

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Thank you NetGalley and Algonquin Books for the digital copy of Factory Girls.

Factory Girls, set during The Troubles in Northern Ireland, follows Maeve Murray on her final summer before University as she waits for her exam results and navigates working at a shirt factory.

One thing that I think Michelle Gallen does an amazing job with is setting The Troubles in the background — just blase enough for someone who has grown up in this conflict but with enough attention to detail to highlight the fear, anger, and struggle of Northern Ireland at the time. The tension is evident on every page and is met with the humor one would expect from an eighteen year old. Fans of Derry Girl will enjoy this approach to life in Northern Ireland.

It took me a while to get used to the actual writing. Though it's in third-person point of view, Gallen writes with a heavy Irish dialect, the actual words mimicking the sounds rather than the 'correct' spelling. There were moments where I had to read the sections out loud to myself to get a hold of the rhythm and what the actual words were. However, once I got used to it, I found it really aided to the story — especially as Maeve interacts with various characters of different class and being from Englands vs. Ireland.

I found the first half of the book to be a little slow going, maybe a bit repetitive. It took me a while to actual get into it and have the desire to not put the book down. However, the second half of the novel picked up steam and was able to stretch its legs. I read through the second half in one sitting.

Even so, it wasn't enough to fully redeem the first half. Ultimately, Factory Girls is a decently strong novel, delving into a teenage during The Troubles and facing everything with humor and grit. Gallen does a great job of diving into the class struggles, the sexism, and politics of the time. It's let down a bit by the pacing and tendency to fall into repetition when not needed.

Overall, I'd rate it a 3.75 but round up to a full 4 as needed.

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Unfortunately not my cup of tea. The premise sounded interesting, but fell flat in practice. Certainly not a bad read, but think we can pass on this one for the collection.

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At turns funny, angry, and tragic, this coming-of-age novel brings the smart, sarcastic, yet hopeful (despite her family circumstances and money struggles that keep them in poverty) character of Maeve to life. Brilliant and clever scenes between Maeve, her friends, family, and coworkers show the effects of the Troubles on the people of Northern Ireland as well as the landscape, the economy, and even the school system. Maeve is a flawed heroine in much the same way as Majella, the heroine of Gallen's first novel, but with a very different personality and story to tell.

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I loved Derry Girls, so when I heard this was the show in book form, I had to have it. Unfortunately, that was not a good enough reason to read a book. This just wasn't for me.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for the eARC in exchange for my review.

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This book was so descriptive--I felt like I was living everything right alongside the characters. Michelle Gallen captures a gritty and impoverished town in Northern Ireland rife with Catholic and Protestant strife and dangerous politics in the 1990s. It follows Maeve Murray, a recent high school graduate who is working full-time at the local shirt factory to earn money to move to London and go to university. But something is underfoot at the factory and in the town, can she seek justice in time? This story transports you directly to 1994 with its pop cultural references and vernacular. I really enjoyed the story and the various hardships and histories addressed in its pages.

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My Thoughts
The Very First Thoughts – One Page into the Book
Raw and honest.

And then the rest
While the language in the book is colorful (in many ways) and not something I am normally used to, there is an underlying sense of heart and strength and even dark humor that comes through or maybe, permeates the pages with a matte-like finish – reminiscent of the age and beautiful in its own way – unlike glossy prints, which shine and shimmer.

Maeve is not someone who knows pretense and speaks her mind, quite colorfully and vocally too. While her friends are each so very different from her and each other that I wonder at their friendship. And then I recall some of my own friendships, and know it is possible!

To be honest, I started reading this book later than I expected to, and have had to look up words very so often (Irish dialect usage and even other words that show up in unexpected places to make me rethink their meanings but am as a result now finding delightful ways I can use familiar words) that I am taking longer to finish. So I am a third of the way through this book at the time of this blog tour stop. But I know I will finish it pretty soon! For it intrigues me.

And while the book might cause me to give it a ‘R’ or TV-MA rating in terms of the colorful, no-holds-barred language, it is riveting and as I already mentioned, so very honest. And the character development so far, as well as the story of the Troubles (which I had not read about before), and of course, the obvious location (due to the story) all have kept me reading and invested in the book.

In Summary
A book for those who enjoy fiction based on real events (maybe this is not historical fiction as it set closer to the current times, but definitely will find itself in the list of cool powerful historical fiction reads sometime in the future.) And I would rather hope that history teaches us through these books at the least.

Thank you to Algonquin Books for inviting me on this blog tour for Factory Girls by by Michelle Gallen.

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3.5 stars rounded up to 4
An enjoyable coming of age novel set in a small town in Northern Ireland in 1994 at the tail end of the time of violent sectarian conflict known as The Troubles. The story is about a brash young woman named Maeve who is working in the town's shirt factory for the summer along with her two friends, Caroline and Aoife, while waiting for the result of their A-level exams which will determine what university they can attend. I've read several books that take place during The Troubles but this is the first written from the point of view of a teenager who has grown up knowing nothing else - a world where bombings and murder are commonplace. It was that perspective that I enjoyed most about this novel.

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