Cahal Dunne – Put Yer Rosary Beads Away Ma: A Salty Tale of a Young Man’s Musical Dreams and Struggles in 1970’s Ireland

21. Put Yer Rosary Beads Away Ma: A Salty Tale of a Young Man’s Musical Dreams and Struggles in 1970’s Ireland by Cahal Dunne (2012)
Length: 345 pages
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Started: 27 February 2014
Finished: 1 March 2014
Where did it come from? Many thanks to Cahal Dunne for sending me a copy of this book to read.
How long has it been on my TBR pile? Since 27 February 2014
Why do I have it? I like contemporary fiction and since Cahal Dunne is an Irish singer/songwriter whose music I play frequently on ‘Proud to be Irish’ – when I learned he’d recently written his debut novel, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Put Yer Rosary Beads Away Ma: A Salty Tale of a Young Man’s Musical Dreams and Struggles in 1970’s Ireland follows the hilarious exploits of a young man from Cork City as he struggles to make it big in recessionary Ireland, and amid “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. It is the salty tale of one Billy Golden – from his formative years as a choir director, music teacher, and showband musician, to influential Celtic rocker, Eurovision-acclaimed songwriter, and US-based solo performer since 1983.

Through a series of heartwarming vignettes, Cahal Dunne – himself a very popular Irish singer, musician, and entertainer – imbues the characters of Billy and his bandmates with a certain vibrancy and a charming innocence that radiates from the page. The musicians and their girlfriends, various love affairs and relationships, broken hearts and mended hearts; the highs and lows of a life spent ‘on the road’ and in show-business, and all the adventures and misadventures that such a vocation may entail – is written about with a humor, poignancy, and realness that only a fellow Irishman passionate about his own chosen career can express.

I have to say that I found this book compulsively readable. I read it in two days and thoroughly enjoyed it. This is certainly a salty tale, no doubt about that, but there is also a thread of seriousness running through the story that I appreciated. The historical aspects of the book are just detailed enough, and don’t come across as in any way dull or uninteresting – the excitement and pure delight that comes from reaching for a dream and achieving it, shines through from the very beginning. I give Put Yer Rosary Beads Away Ma: A Salty Tale of a Young Man’s Musical Dreams and Struggles in 1970’s Ireland by Cahal Dunne a definite A+! 

A+! – (96-100%)

Till we Meet Again, Glow Brightly as Moonlight

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