"Voices of Northern Ireland: Growing Up in a Troubled Land." Carolyn Meyer. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1987, 206 pp., $12.00. ISBN 0-15-200635-4 BOOK REVIEW

Essay by rach8630College, UndergraduateA+, April 2005

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Through interviews and observations, Carolyn Meyer attempts to describe the atmosphere of Northern Ireland, in Voices of Northern Ireland: Growing Up in a Troubled Land. The book is written in a diary like style, which adds to the feeling of understanding. Meyer explains that she wishes to, "present a picture of life in this sad, troubled country that would contribute to a better understanding of the people of Northern Ireland, and, ultimately, to a better understanding of ourselves," (16). She claims that a long history of segregation between the Catholic and Protestant sects is causing a great deal of depression across this country.

High school students in a religious history or critical reading class can easily relate with Meyer's views. She briefly explains the history of this long standing feud, but her main focus is on the actual people of Northern Ireland in 1987. Each chapter is a log of her journey through this troubled country.

One of the most interesting chapters is chapter 9, "Derry/Londonderry: Stroke City." In the town known as Derry to Catholics, and Londonderry to Protestants, Meyer met with Tim McDade, who had been shot in the eye with a plastic bullet during a peak point of the Troubles. McDade went on to teach himself Braille and eventually earned a university degree. He started a church choir. With each new person she meets, a different view point comes into play. However, the majority of these view points are not optimistic that any change for the better will happen soon. Meyer also visited a number of schools in Northern Ireland, and conveyed an excellent picture of what adolescence is like for the youth. At a Catholic school in Ardoyne, she met with a rowdy bunch of boys. A conversation on the IRA, the republican unit in...