Book review: The Green Road, by Anne Enright

Spanning thirty years and three continents, The Green Road tells the story of Rosaleen, matriarch of the Madigan family, and her four children.

Ardeevin, County Clare, Ireland. 1980. When her oldest brother Dan announces he will enter the priesthood, young Hanna watches her mother howl in agony and retreat to her room. In the years that follow, the Madigan children leave one by one: Dan for the frenzy of New York under the shadow of AIDS; Constance for a hospital in Limerick, where petty antics follow simple tragedy; Emmet for the backlands of Mali, where he learns the fragility of love and order; and Hanna for modern-day Dublin and the trials of her own motherhood. When Christmas Day reunites the children under one roof, each confronts the terrible weight of family ties and the journey that brought them home. The Green Road is a major work of fiction about the battles we wage for family, faith, and love. (Goodreads)


You know what? Never, ever, trust blurbs or just synopsis. I was very intrigue by this book’s synopsis, but as soon as I read the first chapter (literally, just the first chapter) I was already having a hard time to like or enjoy the story. The flow was just weird and felt forced; I just can’t seem to follow where the story was going or even who was doing the talking, it seems that everyone was just talking at the same time. I have to admit that comes the second chapter, I felt like I would actually like the book because Dan’s background story was definitely interesting (this was way before I realised how pretentious he could be). There was something about Dan’s background story that reminded of The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells.

The book was divided into two parts, with the first part tells the story of each of the Madigan children and their mother, Rosaleen. I have to be honest that just to finish the first part of the book was a hard work. It was really tiring to see each and everyone of this Madigan children complaining and whining as if their life has got to be the most horrible life ever lived by any human being in this earth. I kept on commenting, “gee, whiny much, aren’t we?”, the whole time I read the first part of the book. The most annoying thing is that not only are they’re very whiny, but they can be obnoxiously selfish and they seem to be always blaming other people about their miserable lives, which was an occurrence on their mother also (apparently apple really don’t fall far from its tree). One thing I’m grateful about the Madigan family and their whiny attitude, it opened my eyes that I might have been living my life like the Madigan family. I was so beyond ashamed at how whiny I was, and how I seem to always capable of blaming other people for my failure or of how miserable (or what I thought to be miserable) my life is. It was disgusting to see that kind of attitude on someone else, I hope I can change that attitude of mine also. Thank you, Madigan children!

Okay, now let’s talk about Rosaleen. Good God, she is unbearable, isn’t she? No wonder her kids are like that; having a mother like Rosaleen must’ve been a hard thing growing up. How she’s very open about which kid she likes the most, how she constantly trying to push every button on Constance (her first child) just to see when she would snap and broke, how she kept on pushing Emmer (the third child) because he was no Dan (the second child), and how Hanna (the fourth child) was sort of forced to understand Rosaleen during her breakdown when Dan left the house; that’s just something no kids, especially during their angsty teenage years, are capable to live through. Even as the kids are all grown up, Rosaleen kept on being Rosaleen, a woman who is just so hard to please and yet kept on asking to be pleased over and over again. There was a line in the book that described Rosaleen as,

A woman who did nothing and expected everything.

Frankly speaking, I think that is the true explanation and definition on who Rosaleen really is. I think that most of the stuff that the Madigan children are complaining about or are struggling through, that was the fruit that Rosaleen planted herself on her children when they were young.

In conclusion, it amazes me (and not the good kind of amazing) that the author manage to write a story that I’ve read up to page 174 and I still can’t grasp the whole point of the story. Every single thing that’s being said in this book are just an endless pointless details of things that are irrelevant. Take for the example when the author was telling the story of when Rosaleen left the kids on Christmas dinner, why in the world would be relevant for the reader to know whether or not Rosaleen’s jacket had a fur trimming? I can’t, for the life of me, see any relevancy in that sentence. And stuff like this appeared for most of the whole book.

I guess, what I can say about this book is that this was a book about everything and nothing. It ended with a weird tone and it felt forced. I felt that even the author was being unfair to Constance and Emmet, at how their story was never elaborate enough, compared to Dan and Hanna’s. It was such an unpleasant book for me, and if you like a book about everything and nothing, then maybe you can try to read this book; if you, like me, don’t like pointless book, then just go and try some other book.


Rating: ⭐️⭐️☆☆☆

Title: The Green Road

Author: Anne Enright

Genre: Fiction, Cultural, Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Contemporary, Family, Adult Fiction

Goodreads link


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