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The Young Wan by Brendan O'Carroll

The Young Wan

by Brendan O'Carroll

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This is the prequel to The Mammy (Agnes Browne).

It was not as funny but still humorous, heartwarming, heart wrenching & heroic....and we now know Agnes' history.

This is a very good read, so much so that I read it in one night.... I am glad that I did not read this first, or I might not have read The Mammy or The Granny. Due to the sadness in this book, I think I can now read The Chiselers.
( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
The prequel to the Agnes Browne trilogy begins with the strange courtship of Agnes' parents, Constance Parker-Willis and Bosco Reddin. Connie was the daughter of the affluent owner of the local foundry where she worked in the accounts office. Bosco was a foundry work er and a leader of the union movement adamantly opposed by Mr. Parker-Willis. Connie told her parents she and Bosco were to be married soon but somehow she had failed to inform the groom of his upcoming nuptials. When her father tried to pay Bosco to leave his dauther alone, although at a loss about knowing what the man was talking about, Bosco decided that marriage to the boss' daughter might be a good thing in the long run. The 2 were married and subsequently fell in love with one another, although Connie was now disowned by her family. The happy couple became parents to Agnes and Dolly but their happiness would be overshadowed by the fight for unionizing the foundry workers.

The rest of the novel concerns Agnes' childhood and her friendship with the incorrigble Marion. Agnes begins work at the Jarro market, a place she would work for many years to come. Although Agnes is burdened by duties at home and at work she and Marion spend their Friday nights at the local dances and here she meets Redser Browne the man destined to be her husband and father to her 7 children.

I loved all 4 of these novels and am sorry that my time with Agnes is over. Highly recommended!
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  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
Always tricky when a trilogy becomes a tetralogy, especially when the trilogy ends the way O'Carroll's did with The Granny. I should have known that O'Carroll had a plan when he wrote the fourth book as a prequel and what a prequel it is! While the first three books had a slightly vignette feel to them, being a more or less a loosely woven tale of multiple story threads, [The Young Wan] is a tightly written story, with a logical progression to it. The humour is still there for the reader to enjoy but this time it is a bit muted, with the focus being on the hardships Agnes's family faced.

All of the books in the Agnes Browne series are a treat to read but I would be remiss if I did not say that I found The Young Wan to be the best one. Given that it is a prequel, one could probably read The Young Wan first as a kind of back story prep for the trilogy but I think reading the books in publication order is the way to go. ( )
1 vote lkernagh | Nov 15, 2015 |
The Young Wan is a prequel to O'Carroll's lauded Agnes Browne trilogy and tells the story of Agnes Browne before she was the mammy. It follows the story of her parents meeting and falling in love, not necessarily in that order, the moment that cemented Agnes's bond with her best friend, Marion, and her wedding day. All through it is the same bond of laughter and love that characterizes O'Carroll's writing, and Agnes Browne is both loving, kind, rebellious, and independent. We see where she gets her good looks, and her irrepressible spirit. It is easy to see how the kind and loving mother from the last three books grew up from this young wan.

One thing has changed, however, and that is O'Carroll's writing. This book is a much more impressive showing than the other three - the writing showed a marked improvement in form, but also in maturity. No longer relying on strained coincidences, this one also manages to strike an even balance between comedy and tragedy, never erring on one side or the other.

Definitely a fitting prequel to the very hilarious, very moving Agnes Browne series. ( )
  kittyjay | Apr 23, 2015 |
There are times when you want to read something sweet and positive. For those times, there is this series from Brendan O'Carroll. The Young Wan is part of a series that follows a workie Irish family for decades -- through good times and bad -- but always with a narrative that affirms life and family and making the best of every situation. It's a wonderful and charming set of books -- not deep by any stretch, but a wonderful way to enjoy a few hours and lift your spirits. ( )
  Oreillynsf | Apr 19, 2010 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0452284848, Paperback)

Before she was a Mammy, before she had Chisellers, and before they made her a Granny, Agnes Browne was Agnes Reddin, a young girl-or a Young Wan- growing up in the Jarro in Dublin. 

Brendan O'Carroll takes readers back to the heart of working-class Dublin, this time in the 1940s.  Together with her soon to be lifelong best friend Marion Delany, young Agnes manages to survive the indignities and demands of Catholic school, the unwanted births of siblings, days spent in the factories and markets, and nights in the dance hall as rock-and-roll invades Dublin.

But on the eve of her wedding night, the Jarro is alive with gossip—will Agnes be turned away at the altar?  For the whole parish knows Agnes's not-so-well-kept secret.  And with a mother falling further into dementia, and a younger sister turning to a life of crime, it's up to Agnes alone to keep her splintering family together, while trying to create one of her own. 

Filled with O'Carroll's trademark wicked wit and loving, larger-than-life characters, The Young Wan shows the hardscrabble beginnings of the ultimate Irish mother and family.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:20 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

A prequel to the Agnes Brown trilogy follows Agnes Reddin's 1940s childhood, during which she and best friend Marion Dalany survive nun schoolteachers, early jobs, and introductions to the street market trade by a tough ex-con.

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