Big Girl, Small Town

We rated this book:


“Majella O’Neill loves Dallas reruns, fish and chips, and her oversized burgundy duvet. She hates cracked nail polish, chatty customers (she works in the town diner), almost everything about her mother, and….Well, the list of things Majella hates is so long it has subdivisions. Big Girl, Small Town is unique mostly because Majella is not. Author Michelle Gallen’s twenty-seven-year-old heroine bumbles through life in her claustrophobic town to a beat that feels surprisingly familiar, even if the novel’s set in Northern Ireland.

Big Girl’s appeal lies in its universality, especially when so many twenty-somethings find themselves (like Majella) sleeping in their aging high school bedrooms. Even if her Irish slang challenges us Americans (Big Girl was originally published in the UK), we can still identify with Majella’s failure-to-launch angst. The same is true with her earthy physique. She may be obese by Hollywood standards, but she glories in her fish and chips and weekend pints. Still, why should we read almost three hundred pages about daily life in Ireland when the plot seems so, well, daily? Isn’t fiction supposed to be remarkable in some way? I found myself asking the same question. On the final page, we discover Big Girl Small Town is a coming-of-age story. Until then, Majella’s meandering foibles keep us interested in tinier twists and turns.”

Reviewed By:

Author Michelle Gallen
Star Count 4/5
Format Trade
Page Count 320 pages
Publisher Algonquin Books
Publish Date 2020-Dec-01
ISBN 9781643750897 Buy this Book
Issue December 2020
Category Popular Fiction