Dorothy T. (Victorville, CA)
Memories light the corner of my mind
I was not very sympathetic toward the main character of this novel, Mimi Malloy, a reluctantly retired 60-ish divorcee with six daughters, but as the story was told, with wit and humor, I began to like her more. If nothing else this book taught me not to accept someone at face value or by a single encounter; take time to get to know and understand another person, peel back a few layers, and you may be surprised by what you find.
I cannot say that the answer to the big mystery of the book was any surprise to me, however, but watching Mimi's memories return and the effect those revelations have on her and on her relationships with her sisters and her daughters made this a worthwhile read.
Susan J. (Twain Harte, CA)
Healing the Past
This is a family saga about memories triggered by a pendant Mimi finds in her closet. It starts off light-hearted and humorous; I was expecting a pleasurable read similar to Jeanne Ray's books. Mimi isn't particularly worried about her memory issues which greatly concern her sisters and daughters. Mimi, her surviving sisters, and her daughters are the heart of the story, but five generations come into play, from Mimi's grandmother, Nana, who believed in putting the past behind, to her sister's grandson, whose genealogy project has caused the family to pressure Mimi to reveal family secrets which she has completely repressed. Daughter Siobhan believes in learning about the past in order to understand it, and her reconciliation with her mother comes about as Mimi gradually recovers her memories.
The novel becomes darker and more emotional as the tragedies of the past are revealed. It is no wonder that Mimi can't recall her father's failings and her stepmother's inhumanity.
In contrast are the lies of false memories, which have resulted in friend Duffy's son being incarcerated as a pedaphile, and the false memory of sister Fagan's disappearance which no doubt contributed to Mimi's traumatic memory loss.
The horror of Mimi's recovered memories is balanced by the healing of her relationships with her sisters and daughters as well as her sweet relationship with Duffy.
I loved the chapter titles, all songs by Mimi's favorite, Frank Sinatra.
I temporarily lost the book in a restaurant when I was only halfway through, and I was really upset that I'd have to wait until the book was released to finish it. When the book showed up, I was so relieved. I hadn't realized until then how caught up I was in the story. I can't wait for this author's next book.
Robin F. (Tucson, AZ)
mimi malloy at last
This book was so enjoyable. Mimi,the central character, is fun to read about. She has family that is determined to live her life for her, in a direction she doesn't want to go.
I just finished a book called Still Alice when I started Mimi, so, at times, both books blended together. I, too, am retired, so forgetting things isn't unusual. However, this book has spirit. Having the author introduce Duffy made the book even better to read. While we learned about Mimi's life, it was also a pleasure to learn about Duffy. Mimi was lucky in many ways to have family that cared about her. I would recommend this book to my book club.
Linda P. (Rockport, ME)
Mimi Malloy At Last
Julia MacDonnell's novel was entertaining enough to finish as she writes quite well, but I found the characters to be predictable, boring, and generally unlikeable, especially Mimi's daughter Cassandra. The plot and dialogue might be better suited to a TV sit-com. The publisher labels it a coming-of-age novel, but I would have been really disappointed if I'd purchased the book expecting to read a story that focuses on the psychological and moral growth of the protagonist from youth to adulthood. I'm giving it two thumbs up for humor.
Darlyne F. (Hunter, ND)
Mimi MalloryAt Last
I really enjoyed this book. I loved reading about a woman my age.. This book has a little bit of everything. A mystery to solve. memories to sort out and some romance. Loved the chapters titles.
Diane W. (Lake Villa, IL)
Mimi and her generation
I started this book late Sunday evening, with the intent to read only a chapter and turn out the light. I continued to read it well into the night and finished it the next evening. Originally, I sensed it was a light novel about an independent, aging woman and her family....but as I got into it more and more, the story became complex, intriguing, and both sad/happy at the same time. Mimi strongly reminded me of my mother and her large family of sisters, raised before and during the great recession years, strongly Irish and Catholic --- and their way of never speaking the family secrets and code of "denial", I guess you'd say. Though happy and historic days were sometimes briefly discussed, there was always an air of deep sadness and many unspoken stories and memories, I believe, related to grief, fear, longing, and "things that weren't discussed", consciously or unconsciously forgotten or put away. Some of this behavior continues in my generation, as well..... This is a book I will ponder and fuss about in my mind for a long time. I enjoyed it immensely, while at the same time, feel a sense of loss about family history that may now be lost and never spoken about aloud.
Dianne S. (Green Valley, AZ)
A Great Book, At Last!
When I started this book I expected a story about the pitfalls of a divorced women growing old alone with a help of her interfering children. As Mimi Malloy's story unfolded I found that there was so much more.
With the help of Mimi's family and friends Mimi's memories come forth and not necessarily in a beautiful and graceful way but actually in an unvarnished and startling way. Many of the details had been long forgotten by Mimi herself or misremembered by others. The story bring forth the highs and lows of her life and the eventual coming to terms with the past and a mystery long forgotten. With this coming to terms comes a better relationship with those present in her present life.
This book is a little bit Tree Grows in Brooklyn and a touch of Angela's Ashes with bits of the Golden Girls thrown in for a bit of levity . This book will long stay with me. Mimi will be part of me always.