Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter is an astonishing debut about mothers and daughters, drinking, birth and loss, running away and homecoming, from prize-winning writer and broadcaster Noelle McCarthy. Fellow journalist/broadcaster Wendyl Nissen, who had her own mother difficulties and challenges with alcohol, facilitates the conversation.
At the heart of Noelle McCarthy’s memoir Grand: Becoming my mother’s daughter is a revelation about lines of women in families, and trauma, and how it has the potential to repeat. From Catholic Ireland in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s to sparkling Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in the first years of the new millennium, Grand is a story of the invisible ties that bind us, of bitter legacies handed down through the generations, and of the leap of faith it takes to change them.
ReadingRoom editor Steve Braunias dubbed it the ‘best memoir of the year’ prior to its April release. When he first read it, Braunias said he was ‘variously dazzled, entertained, deeply moved and constantly involved: it's such a readable book, the prose is exact and sometimes beautiful, and the life it reveals is of a woman pretty much doomed to follow in her Mammy's footsteps.
Perhaps moving to the other side of the world was McCarthy's saving grace. After a chaotic start, during which time she worked at a Tāmaki Makaurau student radio station and then RNZ, McCarthy sobered up, started 'doing the work' and today remains both in recovery and a functional and fulfilling relationship with John Daniell, her partner in both love and in business.
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With thanks to Penguins Books NZ.