Don't Wake Me at Doyles: A Memoir

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Macmillan, Feb 7, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 416 pages

A Top-Ten Sunday Times Bestseller (UK)

"Best Memoir" written by and about the Irish, 2005---The Buffalo News

Maura Murphy's memoir of life in Ireland and beyond resonates with the people, places, and struggles of an almost forgotten generation. Born "chronically ugly and cross as a briar" into a poor, rural homestead in 1920s Ireland, Maura faced adversity from birth. She grew up in the bogs of the Irish countryside and left school at fourteen for Dublin, working in service there until her marriage to a hard-working but hard-drinking womanizer. Poverty stricken and hoping to find a better life for her five young children, she left Ireland with her family for 1950s Birmingham, England.

But life doesn't always change when places do, and Maura's fear that she'd be "waked" at Doyles bar upon her death is funny but dead serious. Her voice is feisty and fearless, and she needed to be all those things to survive an extraordinary series of privations and abuses. And now, seventy-six and having survived her childhood, recovered from cancer, and left her marriage of fifty years, Maura has finally recorded the story of her life.

A fearlessly honest writer, Maura invites us into her world, through her destructive marriage, and the birth of her nine children, and toward a life-or-death choice that would change her forever. Told with biting wit, Don't Wake Me at Doyles is a personal story of one woman's endurance, and the remarkable memoir of an ordinary woman's extraordinary life.

"Murphy's skillful storytelling and optimistic spirit give even the grimmest moments of her difficult life story levity in this hopeful, spunky sister to Angela's Ashes."--Publishers Weekly

"One of the most gripping memoirs I have ever read. The dialogue is authentic and the pace is fast and engaging. Irish family members have been done to death, but I'll make an exception for this one."--Irish Voice


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User Review  - Kirkus

Lovely memoir of a roving life, full of dread and great affection.Murphy ("a cross little weasel") was born into privation and poverty that are still with her after 75 years. Yet the memories held in ... Read full review


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About the author (2006)

Maura Murphy was born in Clongmore, Country Offaly, in 1928. She left Ballybryan National School when she was fourteen with "no qualifications and even fewer prospects," working as a domestic servant in various houses in Dublin until she met and married John Murphy, a soldier stationed at Portobello Barracks. The couple moved to Birmingham, England, in 1959 where they reared nine children. Maura now lives in Birmingham, England, in the West Midlands.

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