Reason For Gladness is a simple little story with poetic pretensions about an Irish Catholic family growing up in an average city between the years 1941 and 1956. Tadhg O'Nolan is a policeman from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland and his primary characteristics are his inverted flowery form of speech and his unshakable integrity. As the story opens he jeopardizes his livelihood by testifying about corruption in his city and thereafter suffers the consequences by being transferred from one post to another. In 1941 the O'Nolans already have six children (their number is to increase to eight plus one adoption) and Ann O'Nolan has achieved a reputation in their semi-suburban neighborhood as a sort of sainted Mother Machree. She retains this one dimensional type-casting throughout the novel as nary a cross word escapes her lips until her premature death at age 45 (by which time she realizes that she looks sixty). The story is mainly concerned with the children's undramatic ups and downs until they begin to drift into very ordinary occupations none of which justifies their being regarded as extraordinary characters. Total effect: a surface of sweetness.