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How can we know who we are if we do not understand where we came from?   Colin Broderick grew up in Northern Ireland during the period of heightened tension and violence known as the Troubles. Broderick's Catholic family lived in County Tyrone --the heart of rebel country. In That’s That, he brings us into this world and delivers a deeply personal account of what it was like How can we know who we are if we do not understand where we came from?   Colin Broderick grew up in Northern Ireland during the period of heightened tension and violence known as the Troubles. Broderick's Catholic family lived in County Tyrone --the heart of rebel country. In That’s That, he brings us into this world and delivers a deeply personal account of what it was like to come of age in the midst of a war that dragged on for over two decades.  We watch as he and his brothers play ball with the neighbor children over a fence for years, but are never allowed to play together because it is forbidden. We see him struggle to understand why young men from his community often just disappear. And we feel his frustration when he is held at gunpoint at various military checkpoints in the North. At the center of his world—and this story—is Colin’s mother. Desperate to protect her children from harm, she has little patience for Colin’s growing need to experience and understand all that is happening around them. Spoken with stern finality, "That's that" became the refrain of Colin's childhood.       The first book to paint a detailed depiction of Northern Ireland's Troubles, That’s That is told in the wry, memorable voice of a man who's finally come to terms with his past.


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How can we know who we are if we do not understand where we came from?   Colin Broderick grew up in Northern Ireland during the period of heightened tension and violence known as the Troubles. Broderick's Catholic family lived in County Tyrone --the heart of rebel country. In That’s That, he brings us into this world and delivers a deeply personal account of what it was like How can we know who we are if we do not understand where we came from?   Colin Broderick grew up in Northern Ireland during the period of heightened tension and violence known as the Troubles. Broderick's Catholic family lived in County Tyrone --the heart of rebel country. In That’s That, he brings us into this world and delivers a deeply personal account of what it was like to come of age in the midst of a war that dragged on for over two decades.  We watch as he and his brothers play ball with the neighbor children over a fence for years, but are never allowed to play together because it is forbidden. We see him struggle to understand why young men from his community often just disappear. And we feel his frustration when he is held at gunpoint at various military checkpoints in the North. At the center of his world—and this story—is Colin’s mother. Desperate to protect her children from harm, she has little patience for Colin’s growing need to experience and understand all that is happening around them. Spoken with stern finality, "That's that" became the refrain of Colin's childhood.       The first book to paint a detailed depiction of Northern Ireland's Troubles, That’s That is told in the wry, memorable voice of a man who's finally come to terms with his past.

30 review for That's That: A Memoir

  1. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    5 stars because I would read this again. During the last 6 months, I’ve read more autobiographies than I ever have before. I’ve enjoyed almost every one of them. I enjoyed this one too. This one, however, has got to be one of the best written autobiographies/memoirs that I have ever read. I’m not talking about sentence structure or grammar. This seemed like it was written with a very eloquent hand. It brought a glaring light to the stressful/angst ridden circumstances within this book. The descri 5 stars because I would read this again. During the last 6 months, I’ve read more autobiographies than I ever have before. I’ve enjoyed almost every one of them. I enjoyed this one too. This one, however, has got to be one of the best written autobiographies/memoirs that I have ever read. I’m not talking about sentence structure or grammar. This seemed like it was written with a very eloquent hand. It brought a glaring light to the stressful/angst ridden circumstances within this book. The descriptive style was extremely vivid and rich and I’m not referring to pointless detail that just adds word count. This was nicely done. The author was Catholic growing up in Northern Ireland in the 70’s and 80’s. It was rich with political/religious strife in that area. The deep divisions between the Protestants and the Catholics and the government and the people seemed like this would have taken place in a far distant century in the past and not just 25-35 years ago. The circumstances affected him in significant ways. I liked the telling of his boyhood. It was kind of humorous. Then it gets a little more serious as he matures and he begins to put the puzzle together around him. I liked the frankness in this. It caused me to wonder what I would do if I were in the same situation. My #1 rule when reviewing autobiographies is to not judge the person, even if I don’t care much for their personality. It is their story to tell. I can’t say whether I like Broderick or not, but I certainly feel like I understood him. It was poignant and touching.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    What an incredibly insightful and heartbreaking book. I cannot imagine living in Ireland and facing the daily grind of a Catholic in Northern Ireland. This is a poignant and moving coming-of-age story told with brutal honesty. I was interested in how his life turned out after he came to America but I have read the synopsis and reviews of Orangutan and now know this was just the beginning of a life of pain and hardship. Very well written.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Allan

    Having already read Orangutan, I was aware of Broderick's personality, which I have to admit I didn't particularly like, though I did admire the honesty he showed in that memoir. This book, his second memoir, telling of his years growing up in Co Tyrone, charts his formative years before his emigration to New York. This book was primarily written for the US market, given the US English used throughout, and didn't even go on sale in N Ireland for a long time after it was published elsewhere, and I Having already read Orangutan, I was aware of Broderick's personality, which I have to admit I didn't particularly like, though I did admire the honesty he showed in that memoir. This book, his second memoir, telling of his years growing up in Co Tyrone, charts his formative years before his emigration to New York. This book was primarily written for the US market, given the US English used throughout, and didn't even go on sale in N Ireland for a long time after it was published elsewhere, and I can understand why. Broderick paints a very simplistic version of history which, to a liberal, inclusive person living in NI is depressing, and indeed gets increasingly sickening as the book goes on. A memoir is a personal recollection of events, yes, but too often in this book, Broderick's bigoted view is portrayed as historical fact, and having read many of the GR reviews, his views are taken as so. His assertion that all Catholics were advocating the IRA campaign in the 70s and 80s is simply wrong-it was only after a ceasefire was declared in 1993 that Sinn Fein garnered any significant votes in the polls-and likewise, his Brits Out solving all the issues in the country flies in the face of polls that show that even a majority of Catholics in NI want to remain as part of the UK. There is no doubt that many injustices were served upon the Catholic community in NI in the past, but a more rounded notion of what life was like should be taken from books like Malachi O'Doherty's The Telling Year: Belfast 1972 or Henry McDonald's Colours: Ireland - From Bombs to Boom-in both you'll get a working class Catholic's analysis of what went on without the underlying bigotry. As for understanding the conflict here, disregard everything Broderick says in this book and educate yourself with Making Sense of the Troubles: a History of the Northern Ireland Conflict, where a fair and very different analysis of some of the events Broderick portrays in the book. As for the non political stuff in the book, Broderick didn't go up in my estimation much from his later memoir, his mother's desire to over protect him seemingly leaving him with a severe chip on his shoulder. Like in the later memoir, I did enjoy the stories from the everyday aspect of his life a lot more, but overall, as you can probably tell, I've been left with a pretty bitter taste in my mouth, particularly from the latter sections.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Kennedy

    Colin Broderick grew up Catholic in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. This memoir about his childhood leads inexorably to that fork in the road: Will he join the fight or will he walk away? After you read Mr. Broderick's memoir, you will see what a courageous choice he has made. You will understand his rage, his escape into alcohol and drugs, and his desperate desire to flee the constricting confines of his home, no matter where -- or what -- he is fleeing to. Mr. Broderick's mother, Claire, i Colin Broderick grew up Catholic in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. This memoir about his childhood leads inexorably to that fork in the road: Will he join the fight or will he walk away? After you read Mr. Broderick's memoir, you will see what a courageous choice he has made. You will understand his rage, his escape into alcohol and drugs, and his desperate desire to flee the constricting confines of his home, no matter where -- or what -- he is fleeing to. Mr. Broderick's mother, Claire, is the iron gate against which her son repeatedly hurls himself. She nixes nights at the dance, girlfriends, shushes his commentary on the evening news, rails about his drinking. "Because I said so, and that's that," she says, ending every argument. But his mother's boundaries will not hold, and Mr. Broderick eventually breaks out on his own, making his own choices, and they are mostly dangerous ones. In some ways, the author writes about an Irish upbringing that is timeless. Except for references to current events and rock bands from the 70s and 80s, you could easily be reading along in Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, as Mr. Broderick also writes about the brutality of Catholic school teachers and the poverty of a council house upbringing. But around the scenes of violence and hatred, Mr. Broderick weaves a wistful tale of lost innocence. Here is how he so powerfully frames the tremulous journey to adulthood: "We lose our childhoods by degrees. Inch by inch, time and circumstance steal the last of our innocence. Some of it will fall away unnoticed; some it will be ripped forcefully from our fingers, other morsels of it we will bury in shallow graves, until only the shadow of youth exists, drifting in our wake like an abandoned ghost." Take the journey with Colin Broderick... you'll be glad you did.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    Not much is known about what Northern Ireland in the 70's and 80's, during the height of "The Troubles," was like. As Broderick himself points out, that narrative of what life was really like for Catholics was tightly woven into the tight nest of British rule. The experience of being under the iron fist of the Iron Lady (Thatcher) and the seething rage over injustices real or imagined makes for a riveting story. Broderick's book is, in a word, a masterpiece because it is a vital cultural artifact Not much is known about what Northern Ireland in the 70's and 80's, during the height of "The Troubles," was like. As Broderick himself points out, that narrative of what life was really like for Catholics was tightly woven into the tight nest of British rule. The experience of being under the iron fist of the Iron Lady (Thatcher) and the seething rage over injustices real or imagined makes for a riveting story. Broderick's book is, in a word, a masterpiece because it is a vital cultural artifact of Northern Irish life for anyone with Irish blood coursing through their veins. That goes double for those in the "southern counties!" The book doesn't read like a stuffy history lesson; it is a classic coming-of-age autobiography packed with humor and insight into life inside a large Irish brood. It's like "Angela's Ashes" for the rest of us. He is brutally frank about his flirtations with alcoholism, drug use, and the bitter resentments of family and country that bring him within reach of the IRA. He is a flawed hero but a hero nonetheless, bravely sharing his soul with the reader. I cannot recommend this book highly enough!

  6. 4 out of 5

    John

    I don’t have a clue how to write a review for this book. I liked it. I don’t know how to say that I liked it. To be a little creative, I suppose I’m just going to talk to the author: Dear Mr. Broderick, I think this seems like a good way to start a review of your book, though I’m torn on whether to call you ‘Mr. Broderick’ due to the level of respect I have for you or ‘Colin’ for how much I feel like I know you after reading your book. Without getting too lost on this one point, I want to say that I don’t have a clue how to write a review for this book. I liked it. I don’t know how to say that I liked it. To be a little creative, I suppose I’m just going to talk to the author: Dear Mr. Broderick, I think this seems like a good way to start a review of your book, though I’m torn on whether to call you ‘Mr. Broderick’ due to the level of respect I have for you or ‘Colin’ for how much I feel like I know you after reading your book. Without getting too lost on this one point, I want to say that in the former case, I want to respect you for all of the crap you’ve been through in your life. Your mother was tough on you, but you did a marvelous job of making me love her. By the time I reached the end of the book, I…er…discovered a great deal of dust in the room with me. I also found even more dust in the room when you started talking about your friends. You’ve endured horrid situations I cannot imagine, which is why I know that if we ever were to meet I would just have to keep my distance. You made it clear in the book that you have a certain distrust of other people. I totally got that from your exploration of your life. On the other hand I also feel like I personally know you. You and I went through a lot in your book. I’ve been reading history after history or Ireland and haven’t really felt a thing for the country. While reading the histories, I came to realize that it is a beautiful place with a tragic history. That’s as far as I got. However, in the first twenty pages of your book I came to see the history in an entirely new light. Your work made me care about Ireland because you took me on a grand tour of its places and people. By the end of your book I wanted to take up arms with you (no spoilers there) because I could feel your pain. I had learned the details of your country before, but your work showed me its soul. For that I feel that I deserve to call you Colin. I also want to call you Colin because I think you’re a brilliant storyteller. If I can be a bit blunt, you’re not the best writer I’ve ever read (but in fairness I’ve read some of the best). You get a little too carried away with alliteration in some places, and you almost force a creative phrase here and there. But, Collin, my man—you’ve got a knack for telling an entertaining story. You can conjure a scene from nothing, and you can make me care about a distant land just by showing me your daily life. Just to take one example, your explanation of Dopey Dick’s visit made me see how artificial The Troubles (capitals on both!) were; people stopped and stared and laughed and celebrated this stupid, stupid whale. On the other hand, your explanation of roadside stops and the nightly news of death spawned in me a hatred of the occupiers of your country. Somewhere in the middle of this, you made me realize why you took up drinking, drugs, and girls. Thank you for taking me on this journey. Never mind if I don’t know how to react to you, for your work speaks volumes about your life and your nation. You should be proud of what you’ve accomplished, as it is certainly one of the best autobiographies that I’ve ever read. I hope it remains as popular as it seems to now be. It deserves any accolades others are willing to shower upon it. This has rambled a bit. In short, thank you for sharing. Best, -An Appreciative Reader

  7. 4 out of 5

    Shelly Hammond

    I was lucky enough to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway which landed me a really cool uncorrected proof copy (which is the greatest thing ever in and of itself because I am a true nerd and appreciate such things!). Aside from being quite happy just for that reason alone, I was also very pleased that this book turned out to be a really great book and one that I am so glad that I got the chance to read. The first thing that struck me about this book was that it started out with a wonderful litt I was lucky enough to win this book in a Goodreads giveaway which landed me a really cool uncorrected proof copy (which is the greatest thing ever in and of itself because I am a true nerd and appreciate such things!). Aside from being quite happy just for that reason alone, I was also very pleased that this book turned out to be a really great book and one that I am so glad that I got the chance to read. The first thing that struck me about this book was that it started out with a wonderful little history lesson. The first chapter (not a grueling multi-chapter history lesson) gives you just enough information that you get a good idea of historically built up hatred and how it managed to keep on building over the years for one reason or another. I’m simplifying here because, as you know if you read my reviews ever, I am a ‘I-am-not-telling-you-the-juicy-details-because-you-need-to-read-it-for-yourself-to-find-out-what-happens-but-I’ll-give-you-just-a-little-bit-then-the-rest-is-up-to-you’ type of person. I hate reviews that ruin things so I won’t ruin anything if I can help it. So, as I was typing there, the beginning gives you a nice bit of history to get you going so that you can be nice and prepared to understand the story. This book is really unique in that it is told from the perspective of one that is brought up in Ireland at the time of extreme violence and hardship known as the Troubles. Personally, I’d not really heard too much of this myself, just the basic stuff that you hear from the parents/grandparents, passed down but not really much of anything. Having never taking the time to understand it all, this book really opened my eyes and in many ways taught me a lot about the strife that took place. History isn’t all this book is about, of course! Just I’m a bit of a history fan, especially when I’m learning something new so that just stuck out a lot. However, it’s also a brilliant coming of age story. The true story of boy who grew up Catholic with a mother that seemed rather overbearing (though, looking back she may have been overbearing and strict but when it’s done out of love sometimes we don’t see it as harmful) in the middle of a most tumultuous period in Irish history. Through this book the reader travels from the very beginning of, well, history I suppose and then to the birth of the author all the way to the end where a very important choice is made (which I won’t give away as per my above mentioned rule). This is an extremely well written book. The author is an extremely talented writer who is able to make the words on the page seem like they are coming to life. The reader is taken on a journey, the journey the author has already taken, from the safety of their own home (or wherever they may be reading from and assuming they are in a safe location when doing so). This is a great memoir and it has made me realize that at some point I might just have to get the authors other book, “Orangutan”, and see where that one can take the reader as well.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Sean

    A memoir of growing up catholic in Northern Ireland during the 70's and 80's, right in the middle of the Troubles. The author was an angry, violent kid with an overprotective mother and strong family ties to the IRA. It was interesting, but didn't knock my socks off. A memoir of growing up catholic in Northern Ireland during the 70's and 80's, right in the middle of the Troubles. The author was an angry, violent kid with an overprotective mother and strong family ties to the IRA. It was interesting, but didn't knock my socks off.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    Reminded me of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Great read. Reminded me of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes. Great read.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Molly Ewing

    Broderick's memoir is an unflinching look at how growing up Catholic (and all that implies) in the war zone that was Northern Ireland affected his heart soul dreams and values. Broderick's memoir is an unflinching look at how growing up Catholic (and all that implies) in the war zone that was Northern Ireland affected his heart soul dreams and values.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Thomas

    I really enjoyed this style of writing and the stories seemed to jump off the pages. I also have a Irish heritage that made my interest in the book peak.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Rand

    Within the past six months I have received three memoirs from the First Reads giveaways program. This one was the last I read and, by far, the best. Not that I spent much thought-time comparing this with those other two memoirs—narratively speaking, this one could hardly be more different, given its scope and focus. It helps that Broderick has a real ear for dialogue, breathes life into his characters and can tell a cohesive story. And what a story it is: coming of age during the climax of the t Within the past six months I have received three memoirs from the First Reads giveaways program. This one was the last I read and, by far, the best. Not that I spent much thought-time comparing this with those other two memoirs—narratively speaking, this one could hardly be more different, given its scope and focus. It helps that Broderick has a real ear for dialogue, breathes life into his characters and can tell a cohesive story. And what a story it is: coming of age during the climax of the troubles in Northern Ireland, from the mid 1970s onto the 80s. Those interested in the this part of history should read Nobel prize winner Mairead Corrigan Maguire's book of essays. Or read a memoir by a Protestant who grew up in the same space-time as Broderick. Also, there is the more lyrical&cyclical Bend for Home, about a boy who grew up in Ireland during roughly the same time period. The brutal acts of violence (which were long a part of the everyday impoverished life for Broderick and many others in Northern Ireland) are punctuated by both humor and compassion, all told with a stark honesty. two excerpts that spoke to me: (view spoiler)[We lose our childhoods by degrees. Inch by inch, time and circumstance steal the last of our innocence. Some of it will fall away unnoticed; some of it will be ripped forcefully from our fingers, other morsels we will bury in shallow graves, until only the shadow of youth exists, drifting in our wake like an abandoned ghost.& I had no template for how any of this was supposed to feel. What amazed me most was that I felt almost nothing at all, or perhaps I did but I had no name to define it. Can an emotion exist without a name? Isn't it the name itself that defines the existence of an emotion? It seemed I was living with the thought of the thing rather than the thing itself . . . (hide spoiler)] It is a testament to Broderick's gift as a storyteller that I did not want this book to end (though it is worth noting that Broderick's life story continues in his first book, Orangutan). By the last page I wanted to cry but could not because my eyes were dry from having read the last half in one go. But all things must and THAT'S THAT.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marcy

    I received an ARC of this book through the GoodReads First Reads giveaway program. "That's That" is a book by a man who grew up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles -- a time of tension and violence between Catholics and Protestants, Irish and British. Colin Broderick is one of six children who has to navigate childhood and adolescence against this background and determine his involvement in the conflict as an adult. I really enjoyed this book. While I knew a bit about this period, my knowledge I received an ARC of this book through the GoodReads First Reads giveaway program. "That's That" is a book by a man who grew up in Northern Ireland during The Troubles -- a time of tension and violence between Catholics and Protestants, Irish and British. Colin Broderick is one of six children who has to navigate childhood and adolescence against this background and determine his involvement in the conflict as an adult. I really enjoyed this book. While I knew a bit about this period, my knowledge was quite limited. Broderick's description, while sometimes feeling a bit redundant (there are multiple instances throughout in which he pauses to point out, yet again, that the Catholics went to Catholic bars while the Protestants went to Protestant bars, the Catholics filled up at Catholic petrol stations while the Protestants filled up at Protestant petrol stations, etc.) definitely showed how the activity that was going on with the IRA and the treatment of Catholics impacted people at the individual level. While the first section of the book, which went into the history of the area that led to the situation he lived, was a bit more dense than the rest of the book and at first a bit off-putting (at least to me), the rest of his memoir picked up and was a good read, and there were times that I appreciated that the history was there for me to flip back to and reference if I'd forgotten the significance of a name or location. I'd rate this book solidly in the 3.5-4 star range. Bits I liked: It made perfect sense that he would want to replace one false self with another. Perhaps that was the real mark of maturity, I thought, finally deciding which mask suits you best, and wearing it. There were a few skinheads from Belfast, but they seemed less dangerous when you saw them out standing by themselves at the bar, and once you got past that threatening husk, they were the sweetest, most vulnerable lads of all. Fear is a wonderful makeup artist.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    This is a coming of age book as well as a serious depiction of growing up Catholic in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland during a time known as the "Troubles" (1968-1998). Colin Broderick was the second oldest of six children. His father worked hard to provide for the family. His mother worked hard to maintain the family. Every evening on the nightly news they heard of death and bombings by the IRA against the Protestant sectors as well as British soldiers with their supporting organizations fighti This is a coming of age book as well as a serious depiction of growing up Catholic in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland during a time known as the "Troubles" (1968-1998). Colin Broderick was the second oldest of six children. His father worked hard to provide for the family. His mother worked hard to maintain the family. Every evening on the nightly news they heard of death and bombings by the IRA against the Protestant sectors as well as British soldiers with their supporting organizations fighting against the Catholic sectors (UDA, UDR, UFF, UVF,RUC). It is an eye opening biography because it is told through the eyes of a Catholic child as he grew into young adulthood. Page 185 " We all knew that when the Brits decided they wanted a Catholic boy off the streets, they simply arrested him and charged him with whatever crime they liked....Legal battles were pointless...there were no Catholics on the judicial level." As a child, Colin could not understand why he was not permitted to play with some children in his neighborhood. As he grew he understood that Protestants went only to Protestant shops and establishments and Catholics only to Catholic establishments. They did not mingle or interact with each other unless it was to fight. During a recent trip, I saw there was still an "unease" between the two sects. In Northern Ireland if you are in a section considered a Catholic stronghold , the Irish flag is flying. In a strong Protestant sector, the British flag is prevalent. This book showed how far the country has come in the last 20 years yet it is not a totally unified country...yet.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This memoir of Colin Broderick's childhood, spent in Ulster during the Troubles brought unique insight into a fascinating period of history, simply because it was told from the perspective of a child. I've read several memoirs written about the author's childhood and in most instances it becomes evident that even if the book is about a childhood, it is told through the filter of an adult's perspective. Broderick seems to keep hold of his childish self and write about events from the perspective This memoir of Colin Broderick's childhood, spent in Ulster during the Troubles brought unique insight into a fascinating period of history, simply because it was told from the perspective of a child. I've read several memoirs written about the author's childhood and in most instances it becomes evident that even if the book is about a childhood, it is told through the filter of an adult's perspective. Broderick seems to keep hold of his childish self and write about events from the perspective of the age he was when the event occurred, not as an adult remembering a distorted historical event. What I found fascinating was he never came across as a truly religious or political person, yet he moved inevitably towards the IRA/liberty movement as he got older. His anger and vitriol spewed at the British and the Protestants seemed more habit-formed than heart-felt. It is as though boys his age at that time realized they had a role to play once they met a certain age and they played it no matter how unnatural it felt to them. Even more fascinating was the relationship with his mother. I spent equal time hating her for her narrow-minded and conservative child raising skills, feeling a great deal of sympathy for Colin the boy and admiring her tremendously for the strength of will she exhibited and her ability to keep her family all alive during a time when most families lost loved ones to the cause. I highly recommend this book. As usually, Gerard Doyle's narration is amazing.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have a very hard time reviewing memoirs. It goes against everything I believe in to play the role of critic in relation to someone else’s cathartic process. What a person experiences in their life is their own— I have no right to judge or rate or appraise. That said, I can speak to other things: the general topic, the writing style, other itty-bitties of literary structure and content organization. Not the things that mean the most, but the things that I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I have a very hard time reviewing memoirs. It goes against everything I believe in to play the role of critic in relation to someone else’s cathartic process. What a person experiences in their life is their own— I have no right to judge or rate or appraise. That said, I can speak to other things: the general topic, the writing style, other itty-bitties of literary structure and content organization. Not the things that mean the most, but the things that I can evaluate on a more concrete level. The topic was an interesting one; there seems to have not been much press or publicity related to political conditions in Ireland in the 1970’s and 1980’s (“The Troubles”). Or at least not as much as other international wars and upheavals. It’s fascinating and troublesome to learn about the political climate and religious battles that took place (are still taking place) in that iconic, green landscape. The writing was simple and easy to read; the book flew by in a blink. It maybe started off a bit slow, but picked up toward the final chapters and ended on a powerful and poignant note. The moral of the story (as I perceive it, of course) is that violence always leads to more violence and, in the end, we will inevitably kill ourselves and those we love if we continue down that path. If we don’t choose peace, we choose our own demise.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte Best

    A good book if you are interested and want to know a true story about a young boy growing up in Northern Ireland during the time when the IRA fought the British for an independent Ireland, in both the North and the South. It is hard to believe that amidst the chaos of war in Northern Ireland, these Irish continued to go on about their daily lives. They raised their families, they went to school they worked, they socialized just like their countrymen in the South, but the 7 counties that belonged A good book if you are interested and want to know a true story about a young boy growing up in Northern Ireland during the time when the IRA fought the British for an independent Ireland, in both the North and the South. It is hard to believe that amidst the chaos of war in Northern Ireland, these Irish continued to go on about their daily lives. They raised their families, they went to school they worked, they socialized just like their countrymen in the South, but the 7 counties that belonged to Ireland's Catholics were outnumbered by the remainder of the North's Protestant ruled by England. The fight was brutal and was really my first knowledge regarding religious terrorists. The title, That's that , is a quote used by the author describing the strong matriarch leaders of the family during the late sixties and 70 s. it did not matter how badly the boy begged for independence , he had a strong respect for his Mother, who was not only very religious and strict, but also fearful of loosing her children through the casualties of war. When "Mammy " said no, she added her own " and That's That", the children knew that she was standing her ground, and they never challenged her final decision. You definitely get the impression that it was Mammy who kept her son from being imprisioned, or killed for his rebellious behaviors.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Furtado

    I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program. Before picking up "That's That,"I never knew that I wanted to know about the history of Ireland, but this book inspires a curiosity and genuine interest in the reader that will make you hungry to learn more about the country Tyrone that the author exposes. Colin Broderick uses searing wit and unapologetic, brutal honesty to illuminate how a period known as the "Troubles" infiltrated the everyday lives of the Northern Irish. Using I received this book as part of the Goodreads First Reads program. Before picking up "That's That,"I never knew that I wanted to know about the history of Ireland, but this book inspires a curiosity and genuine interest in the reader that will make you hungry to learn more about the country Tyrone that the author exposes. Colin Broderick uses searing wit and unapologetic, brutal honesty to illuminate how a period known as the "Troubles" infiltrated the everyday lives of the Northern Irish. Using snippets from television news reports, Broderick shows how the media interrupted daily activities with news of civilian killings, attacks, and bomb threats made between Irish republicans and their British oppressors, and how these events shaped the growth of a young man and his homeland. "That's That" is not your typical coming-of-age tale. As readers watch Colin grow from a young Catholic boy into a "hard man," they will become attached to him and feel like accomplices sharing in all of his antics - some hilarious and enticing, others tragic and nail-biting. Colin Broderick pulls readers into a world full of noise and chaos, ultimately revealing that family and self-conviction are the only two possessions that one needs to fight a war for one's country, or a war within one's self.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    Compulsively readable story about a man recalling his childhood during "the Troubles". Northern Ireland in the 60s,70s, and 80s. Colin Broderick opens with the Irish Catholic side of British takeover and rule and then delves into the troubles in his childhood and life as a young man. From Sunday, Bloody Sunday on, the British and Irish increasingly butted heads over British rule. A Catholic could be arrested on trumped up charges, held indefinitely and punished harshly if convicted. Groups like Compulsively readable story about a man recalling his childhood during "the Troubles". Northern Ireland in the 60s,70s, and 80s. Colin Broderick opens with the Irish Catholic side of British takeover and rule and then delves into the troubles in his childhood and life as a young man. From Sunday, Bloody Sunday on, the British and Irish increasingly butted heads over British rule. A Catholic could be arrested on trumped up charges, held indefinitely and punished harshly if convicted. Groups like the IRA and Sinn Fein gained ground and killings were numerous on all sides. Colin crosses his often ordinary life such as sexual awakening with news on the Telly. It creates an ironic sad setting to grow up in. His strict mother keeps him from harms way for many years but as a young man, the conflict grows more intense and more personal. Billy Sand and the Irish hunger strike in prison to be recognized as prisoners of war and Margaret Thatcher appears to be the most hateful British Prime Minister of all. Colin finds himself being unable to keep from fighting in this underground war and needs a way out or to join in.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Judeanne

    That's That was on my radar after hearing an NPR interview with Colin Broderick. Winning a copy from Goodreads was icing on the cake. As a second-generation Irish American the Troubles were no secret to me but, thoroughly understanding them from the vantage point of a peer brought such a strong clarity to me that it's no surprise I finished the 356 pages within a day. Aside from bombings, assassinations/attempts, gun fire, and armed check points, Broderick's courage and freedom to address the co That's That was on my radar after hearing an NPR interview with Colin Broderick. Winning a copy from Goodreads was icing on the cake. As a second-generation Irish American the Troubles were no secret to me but, thoroughly understanding them from the vantage point of a peer brought such a strong clarity to me that it's no surprise I finished the 356 pages within a day. Aside from bombings, assassinations/attempts, gun fire, and armed check points, Broderick's courage and freedom to address the combustible confusion, frustration, anger, and resentment toward everything you are powerless to confront or control will ring true for many who grew up Irish, on either side of the Atlantic, during the 70s and 80s. Still the significance of his recounting the atmosphere and impact of life in the depths of the Troubles can not be overstated.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    "That's that", "that's final" these are quotes I heard often growing up, so the title was the first thing interested me and what is between the covers is what really touched me. Colin's experience during the troubles made me think about what my grandfather and his brothers may have gone through during their youth. My grandfather and his brother were the only siblings who came to America due to the events they were involved in during their youth in Northern Ireland. His story helped me understand "That's that", "that's final" these are quotes I heard often growing up, so the title was the first thing interested me and what is between the covers is what really touched me. Colin's experience during the troubles made me think about what my grandfather and his brothers may have gone through during their youth. My grandfather and his brother were the only siblings who came to America due to the events they were involved in during their youth in Northern Ireland. His story helped me understand my family and myself on a deeper level. Colin's writing style is honest, ironic, intense and just a pleasure to read.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Joel

    I don’t really like memoirs. This being an exception, yielding four stars. I guess I don’t like how vulnerable they make an author. Perhaps if I’m taking the time to read I want to be coming against an alien obelisk unscalable and fluidly perfect. This particular memoir answers questions I have about being raised with historical sectarian hatred and bombs bursting about. If the author’s experiences didn’t prove to be mysterious enough the snippets of newsbites and dialog sated. Feelings of compe I don’t really like memoirs. This being an exception, yielding four stars. I guess I don’t like how vulnerable they make an author. Perhaps if I’m taking the time to read I want to be coming against an alien obelisk unscalable and fluidly perfect. This particular memoir answers questions I have about being raised with historical sectarian hatred and bombs bursting about. If the author’s experiences didn’t prove to be mysterious enough the snippets of newsbites and dialog sated. Feelings of compelling helplessness don’t fail to explain the impetus of action and, of course, action can take many forms.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    I truly enjoyed this "on-the ground" peek into Northern Ireland. Colin writes with honesty of his perception and doesn't leave out the flaws, awkwardness, and missteps. After reading his account I'ld be interested in finding a book with more detailed information on that time in Ireland. He takes what I think is a brutal and tough subject and manages to make it easy, clear, and enjoyable reading. I truly enjoyed this "on-the ground" peek into Northern Ireland. Colin writes with honesty of his perception and doesn't leave out the flaws, awkwardness, and missteps. After reading his account I'ld be interested in finding a book with more detailed information on that time in Ireland. He takes what I think is a brutal and tough subject and manages to make it easy, clear, and enjoyable reading.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Montse

    Memories of a childhood teenage years and early twenties in Northern Ireland. Great narrative style, with humour and relections on life events and on contemporary events. Growing up in County Tyrone in the 70s and 80s must not have been easy and yet this narrative makes you feel you can understand a lot of what it might have felt like. Lots of everyday details, experiences which make you feel as if you were observing it from very near. I recommend it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Matt Connolly

    Growing up is tough, but doing it in Northern Ireland in the middle of "The Troubles" of the 1970's and '80's is even tougher. Broderick paints a compelling picture about coming-of-age in a small village under the rule of both the British and his old-school mother, both of which seem to be equally oppressive at times. A great read, it flew by. Growing up is tough, but doing it in Northern Ireland in the middle of "The Troubles" of the 1970's and '80's is even tougher. Broderick paints a compelling picture about coming-of-age in a small village under the rule of both the British and his old-school mother, both of which seem to be equally oppressive at times. A great read, it flew by.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kim Vandeweghe

    Thoroughly enjoyed the author's telling of his experiences growing up Catholic in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. It was eye-opening to hear a firsthand account of the time referred to as the Troubles. I liked the humor and wit. I admire his spirit and determination. I want to read more about his later years in NYC. Thoroughly enjoyed the author's telling of his experiences growing up Catholic in Northern Ireland in the 1980s. It was eye-opening to hear a firsthand account of the time referred to as the Troubles. I liked the humor and wit. I admire his spirit and determination. I want to read more about his later years in NYC.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    After watching Derry Girls on Netflix, I wanted to read a book that took place in Northern Ireland. This book started off with a brief history lesson (which was very helpful) and then detailed the author's life growing up amid the violence in 1980's Northern Ireland. Although I enjoyed the descriptions of his childhood, the last half of the book was little too dreary and depressing for my taste. After watching Derry Girls on Netflix, I wanted to read a book that took place in Northern Ireland. This book started off with a brief history lesson (which was very helpful) and then detailed the author's life growing up amid the violence in 1980's Northern Ireland. Although I enjoyed the descriptions of his childhood, the last half of the book was little too dreary and depressing for my taste.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meghan L

    Wow, this book is engrossing. I loved the raw honesty that Colin Broderick pours into his storytelling. It takes bravery to look back at your life and see things clearly, but then to turn around and tell things clearly, while also weaving in the important things going on around, as well...he's a worthy writer, indeed. Wow, this book is engrossing. I loved the raw honesty that Colin Broderick pours into his storytelling. It takes bravery to look back at your life and see things clearly, but then to turn around and tell things clearly, while also weaving in the important things going on around, as well...he's a worthy writer, indeed.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Bonni

    I didn't even get through a third of the book before realizing it's not a book for me. I wanted to know more about the Troubles--not about a boy becoming a man. Maybe I will find another book that is more tastefully written. I didn't even get through a third of the book before realizing it's not a book for me. I wanted to know more about the Troubles--not about a boy becoming a man. Maybe I will find another book that is more tastefully written.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Mrs. Kelly

    I really enjoyed this book - loved the author's voice although it petered out at the end. However his reminiscences of growing up in N. Ireland reminded me of McCourt's "Angela's Ashe's" and I appreciated the window into that very different world. I really enjoyed this book - loved the author's voice although it petered out at the end. However his reminiscences of growing up in N. Ireland reminded me of McCourt's "Angela's Ashe's" and I appreciated the window into that very different world.

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