Thursday, December 1, 2022

Factory Girls: A Novel by Michelle Gallen

(Thank you the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

A funny, fierce, and unforgettable read about a young woman working a summer job in a shirt factory in Northern Ireland, while tensions rise both inside and outside the factory walls.

It’s the summer of 1994, and all smart-mouthed Maeve Murray wants are good final exam results so she can earn her ticket out of the wee Northern Irish town she has grown up in during the Troubles. She hopes she will soon be in London studying journalism—away from her crowded home, the silence and sadness surrounding her sister’s death, and most of all, away from the violence of her divided community.

As a first step, Maeve’s taken a job in a shirt factory working alongside Protestants with her best friends. But getting the right exam results is only part of Maeve’s problem—she’s got to survive a tit-for-tat paramilitary campaign, iron 100 shirts an hour all day every day, and deal with the attentions of Handy Andy Strawbridge, her slick and untrustworthy English boss. Then, as the British loyalist marching season raises tensions among the Catholic and Protestant workforce, Maeve realizes something is going on behind the scenes at the factory. What seems to be a great opportunity to earn money turns out to be a crucible in which Maeve faces the test of a lifetime. Seeking justice for herself and her fellow workers may just be Maeve’s one-way ticket out of town.

Bitingly hilarious, clear-eyed, and steeped in the vernacular of its time and place, Factory Girlstackles questions of wealth and power, religion and nationalism, and how young women maintain hope for themselves and the future during divided, violent times.

my thoughts:

Whoa! What a freaking fantastic story! I just LOVED Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen to bits! 

Set in 1994 during the Troubles in Ireland, we meet Maeve Murray. She's waiting for her GSCE exam results to find out whether or not she'll be attending school in London to study journalism - something she desperately wants. Because all Maeve wants is to get out of her small town and away from all the problems and troubles that reside there. So, to bide her time, she gets a summer job at a shirt factory with her best friends. It's the first time she'll be working alongside Protestants, which turns out to be an eye-opening experience for her, being a Catholic and all. Plus, her boss is known for being too handsy and forward when it comes to his female staff. Oh, and something sketchy seems to be going on at work which may test Maeve in ways she didn't realize she needed to be tested. Talk about a DRAMA-filled summer! 

Gallen has written a smart and hilarious story chock full of unforgettable characters during an unforgettable summer that you will fall in deep with - I know that I did. I really enjoyed getting to know Maeve and her friends and their hometown of Tyrone. Getting to experience a piece of Irish history via Maeve's story was just such a treat. I would happily recommend Factory Girls to fans of Gallen's work and to anyone looking for their next great read - you won't want to miss out on this book! Make sure to check it out!

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

1 comment:

Vintage Reading said...

I do like novels set in the workplace particularly manual work. I find these novels few and far between so I would like to read this.