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A SWIFT PURE CRY by Siobhan Dowd


by Siobhan Dowd

Age Range: 14 & up

Pub Date: March 13th, 2007
ISBN: 0-385-75108-7
Publisher: David Fickling/Random

Fifteen-year-old Shell Talent’s life has been spiraling downward. Her father’s drinking keeps him out of work, and her family firmly rooted in poverty. After the death of her mother, she’s left to care for her younger brother and sister. With the recent arrival of a young priest named Father Rose to Shell’s remote Irish town, she discovers solace in renewed piety and spirituality though his powerful sermons. Though when Shell makes a pivotal choice, she finds herself pregnant and embroiled in a town-wide scandal. Shell must then overcome and persevere though her tragic circumstances; though trite-sounding, Shell’s story closes with a remarkably upbeat conclusion. Inspired by real events, Shell’s voice is palpably heartbreaking and honest; and her situation evokes immediate pathos from the reader. Set in the mid-1980s in Ireland, Dowd successfully characterizes Ireland as an integral part of the story. Told through flowing eloquent prose, with strong Joycean influences, this engrossing and haunting tale will not let the reader go. (Fiction. YA)