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GENRE: Domestic Fiction, Humorous Fiction
Three generations of the Dublin Family are led by a shoplifting matriarch. Her son and granddaughter face their own challenges, while all three face the path to find someone who cares. This is a humorous drama-turned caper where nothing is at it seems.
Rebecca Hardiman is a former magazine editor who lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. Good Eggs is her first novel. - Author's website
In her poignant and often hilarious family-drama-turned-caper debut, Hardiman, with a light tip of the hat to James Joyce’s Dubliners, masterfully inhabits the lives of three generations of the Dublin Gogarty family. The widowed matriarch, Millie, 83, is a kleptomaniac with idiosyncrasies and personality to spare. On the poignancy spectrum, she is painfully aware and panicked by time passing. Her son, Kevin, a 50-year-old, professionally obsolete, unemployed celebrity-rag writer, is a stay-at-home father of four. He feels and fights time’s passing, too. His oldest daughter, Aideen, 15, is a sullen handful whom he humorously pegs as “The Troubles.” Kevin and his often-absent wife decide in exasperation to send Aideen to a private boarding school they can’t afford. Escapades ensue as the tables turn on Millie’s filching ways, Kevin steps to the edge of unfaithfulness, and Aideen goes on the run after a prank gone wrong. Each of the three is lonely and on their own odyssey to find someone who cares. With catch-your-breath-or-pause-for-a-think prose, the sprightly plot is deepened by explorations of the human condition—first love for Aideen, regret and failure for Kevin, and Millie’s awareness of an ever-swelling never-again list. Hardiman’s final, almost Leprechaunish touch, is deftly satisfying. -- Mary Ellen Prindiville (Reviewed March 2021)
Hardiman’s rollicking debut dives into the stories of a good-hearted but mischievous Dublin family. Millie Gogarty, an 83-year-old widow drawn to petty theft, “seems to have so little control over her slippery fingers,” as well as over her tongue. Her long-suffering son, Kevin, 50, has been out of work for two decades. Kevin and his wife, Grace, have four children, including the rebellious 16-year-old Aideen, who deliberately smashes her sister’s mirror (“no regrets there”), steals money from Grace, and is about to be shipped off against her will to a boarding school. When Millie is caught shoplifting again, Kevin arranges for a caretaker, an American named Sylvia Phenning, to keep an eye on her. Millie objects, but ends up getting along so well with Sylvia that Millie lends her money to pay for her nephew’s surgery in the U.S. However, in this hilarious, zippy novel, nothing is as it seems. While some of Millie’s escapades are so exaggerated that they move into slapstick territory, the prose is consistently sharp, as is the Gogartys’ hilarious banter. Full of surprises, Hardiman’s endearing novel stands out for its brilliant insight into the mixed blessings of family bonds. Agent: Lisa Erbach Vance, Aaron M. Priest Literary. (Mar.) --Staff (Reviewed 11/30/2020) (Publishers Weekly, vol 267, issue 48, p)
by Elyssa Friedland
Organizing a family reunion cruise for her 70th birthday in the hopes of resolving long estrangements, Annette reveals difficult secrets that challenge long-held perceptions about the more troublesome members of her clan.
by Amanda Eyre Ward
Winning the grand prize in an essay contest, a single mother reunites her estranged adult children on a 10-day cruise while confronting long-buried secrets from their dysfunctional shared past.
by Jane Green
Receiving a sobering health diagnosis, a once-uninvolved mother-turned-Hollywood star calls her estranged adult daughters home in the hopes of ending her life, triggering old rivalries and secret fears that challenge family bonds.