Oh My God , What a Complete Aisling
By Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen
It was actually this book's sequel that caught my eye as it sat on the newly returned shelf at Stratford Library.
The name Aisling, a name I have always loved, jumped out at me, so I ordered the first book from South Taranaki as well.
It is what I would call a "cappuccino novel" - in other words, it is light and fluffy and a little bit sweet. But, just as a cappuccino still gives you a caffeine hit, so this book also touches on more serious topics as well.
It is a great read, and it's appeal is perhaps because the eponymous heroine is the sort of person we all know.
Aisling is pure Irish - if the name wasn't enough of a giveaway, the book itself is packed full of pure Irish vocabulary. Sentences such as 'Jesus, Maj, you're some hames' had me racking my brains back to my time living with an Irish flatmate in order to understand it. (Thanks Maireid for calling me a hames that time I tried to put a bookshelf together using my shoe!)
However, if you change the slang and the colloquialisms, our Aisling could just as easily be living in Stratford and I bet most of us know someone just like her.
She's a small town girl, working in the city, dating her high school sweetheart who plays rugby for the local team, and still visiting home every weekend.
As Aisling and her beau John head off to friend's weddings, it is no secret she is hoping for a ring and a wedding of her own to plan.
While at first it seems the only spanner in the works is the rivalry between Ballygobbard (Aisling's hometown) and Knocknamanagh (John's), we soon find out there is more to the tale.
Aisling could be described as an Irish Bridget Jones, but I bet you Bridget wouldn't know to avoid the cornflakes in the hotel buffet breakfast. (If you happen to be more of a Bridget than an Aisling - listen and learn - it's a waste of your WeightWatchers points to have the cornflakes...)
She is the sensible friend we all have, and all value greatly. Our Aisling knows exactly which hotel toilets have the best hand lotion in the bathroom, and she'll never be caught out without the exact change needed for the bus.
Once you get the hang of reading your way through an abundance of pure Gaelic names (quick tip, Sadhbh rhymes with five) you will discover a couple of things.
One, if you're like me, your inner reading voice can pull off a brilliantly beautiful, lilting Irish brogue, and two, Aisling's appeal is that we all secretly want to be a little but more like her in our own lives.
As Aisling navigates her way through love, city living and going to German techno clubs in her eminently sensible Merrell hiking boots, you will find yourself cheering her on, because you just can't not like a heroine like Aisling.
Safe in the knowledge there was a sequel, I finished this in one evening, and spent the next few days using words like dote and hames as often as I could.
● This new column will showcase some of the books available to borrow from the Stratford or South Taranaki book catalogues. The books are chosen by our editorial team.
As well as borrowing books from the Stratford Library, Stratford library card holders can also borrow books from the South Taranaki book catalogue at no extra cost.
This shared service is very popular, with over 300 books moving between the libraries each week. Library users can reserve books online regardless of which library they belong to and can also return issued books to the Stratford Library or any of the seven South Taranaki libraries.
Reserving items is free. Library members are notified by email or a phone call when reserved items are ready to collect.
All of the books reviewed in this column are available to borrow through the library system.