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THE LUCK OF GINGER COFFEY.

Moore, Brian.

Toronto, McClelland and Stewart, 1988. 250pp. paper. $5.95. ISBN 0-7710-9993-2. CIP

Grades 11 and up
Reviewed by Jerry McDonnell

Volume 17 Number 1
1989 January


Ginger Coffey, an Irish immigrant to Montreal, is a day-dreamer, a boaster and generally the kind of person who can never get things together. Bad things happen to him but not by chance, as he is the author of his own troubles. He has exaggerated himself into several jobs which end when he cannot deliver on his promises. Life really falls apart when his wife discovers that he has spent most of the carefully saved money which would have taken them back to Ireland in the event that things did not work out in Canada.

A friend helps Ginger find a menial low-paying job but also takes his wife away. While still deluding himself about promotion, Ginger manages to really destroy his life. However, he does come to the realization that only he can put things back togetheróno outsider will do the job for him. To do so he must learn to accept reality and work from that point. Many themes are dealt with in the book and they include love, relationships, self-realization and acceptance, the need for structures, and the destructive things people do to each other.

In his excellent writing Brian Moore has accurately captured the melancholy, self-deluding side of the Irish braggart and dreamer. Although first published in 1960 when it won the Governor General's Award. It has retained its relevance and interest. An essential purchase for Canadian literature collections in high school and public libraries if not already held.


Jerry McDonnell, F.E. Madill Secondary School, Wingham, Ont.
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