You know that old saying, “you can’t choose your family”? Well, sometimes you don’t get to choose your friends, either.
Katie grows up in the (fictional) Irish town of Glenbruff, where she has no choice but to become friends with the glamorous troublemaker Evelyn, and the wet blanket Maeve. They dream of escaping their small-town life someday, but in the meantime (as the title suggests) You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here.
When Pamela – the “city girl” – moves to Glenbruff, the natural order of things is disrupted and this coming-of-age novel takes a dark turn…
You Have To Make Your Own Fun Around Here explores the intricacies and intimacies of intense female friendship against the backdrop of the Emerald Isle in the ’90s. Macken nails the traditional Irish blend of humour and horror, in short, sharp chapters that keep the story moving quickly. As a narrator, Katie is intriguing, and full of astute insights.
This admirable debut lands right at the intersection of the Netflix series Derry Girls, and Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend (both of which I love). The fine folks at Oneworld (via Bloomsbury) were kind enough to send me a copy for review.