“The Mammy” is the July 2023 selection for the IrishCentral Book Club.
Each month, we will pick a new Irish book or a great book by an Irish author and celebrate the amazing ability of the Irish to tell a good story for the IrishCentral Book Club.
"The Mammy" is the first in Brendan O’Carroll’s four-book ‘Agnes Browne’ series - it's followed by “The Chisellers,” “The Granny,” and “The Young Wan," each of which was a #1 bestseller in Ireland.
In 2000, "The Mammy" was adapted for the big screen as "Agnes Browne," starring Anjelica Huston:
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Synopsis of “The Mammy”
Agnes Browne is a widow of only a few hours when she goes to the Social Welfare Office. Living in James Larkin Flats, with Redsers' legacy - seven little Brownes - to support on the income from her Moore Street stall, she can't afford to miss a day's pension. Life is like that for Agnes and her best pal Marion. But they still have time for a laugh and a jar, and Agnes even has a dream - that one day she will dance with Cliff Richard.
"The Mammy" describes the life and times, the joys and sorrows of Agnes, mother of the famous Mrs. Browne's Boys from the daily radio soap. A book of hilarious incidents, glorious characters, and a passion for life, it is written with a sure touch and great ear for dialogue.
Reviews for “The Mammy”
"Brendan O’Carroll is a born storyteller ... A cross between Robin Williams and Billy Connolly." - The Independent
"He’s done one hell of a job of capturing the absolute essence of a widowed mother of seven in working-class Dublin." - Anjelica Huston
"Hilarious and irreverent. A must-read." - Gabriel Byrne
About Brendan O’Carroll
International star of multiple BAFTA-award-winning TV series "Mrs Brown's Boys" and "Mrs Brown's Boys: d'Movie," Brendan O’Carroll's story begins very modestly.
The youngest of eleven children, Brendan O’Carroll was born in Dublin’s inner city in 1955. His mother, Maureen, was a Labour TD (MP) and a huge influence on his life. He left school at 12 and worked as a waiter, trying many other occupations in his spare time - disco manager, milkman, pirate radio disc-jockey, painter-decorator, etc.
For a time he ran his own bar and cabaret lounge before being persuaded to try the comedy circuit. The gigs were small at first and even included his own version of ‘Blind Date’, but word soon got around about this original and outrageous funnyman: soon there was standing-room only.
The real turning point in Brendan’s career was his first appearance on "The Late Late Show," Ireland’s longest-running chat show: the studio audience and viewers loved him. His first video "Live at the Tivoli" went straight to No 1, knocking U2 out of the top slot and pushing Garth Brooks to No 3. In 1994, he was voted Ireland’s No 1 Variety Entertainer at the National Entertainment Awards.
He went on to make best-selling videos, and a bestselling record, as well as touring in Ireland, the UK, and the USA.
The radio show "Mrs Browne’s Boys," written by and starring Brendan, had a phenomenal daily audience on 2FM and led to the creation of Agnes Browne as the central character in Brendan’s first novel, "The Mammy," published in 1994. The book topped the bestseller charts in Ireland for months and the film rights were snapped up.
"The Mammy" was followed by The Chisellers and The Granny: all three were huge bestsellers. Holywood came calling when Anjelica Huston read and loved Brendan's books: she made her directorial debut with Agnes Browne.
Brendan toured several other stage shows with Agnes Browne as the central character before a BBC producer saw the show and felt there was television potential. Initially broadcast in a quiet late evening slot, "Mrs Brown's Boys" quickly became a huge word-of-mouth hit, and quickly moved to primetime, including several Christmas Day specials. A huge success in Australia and other countries where it has been shown, the enduring appeal of Agnes and her family is secure.
(*Synopsis, reviews, and biography provided by O'Brien Press.)