ALL THE BAD APPLES BY MOÏRA FOWLEY-DOYLE - BOOK REVIEW

Going into this book, I had read the author's other two previous novels and I thought I knew what I was getting into - mystery, magical realism, and maybe some Irish folklore. While I did get those things, I got so much more from this book, including a new favourite!

Hello everyone!

I am back with another review, All the Bad Apples by Moïra Fowley-Doyle. Thanks so much to Penguin Random House Canada for sending an ARC of this book my way for an honest review, as always, all opinions are my own.



**TRIGGER WARNINGS: suicide, drugging and rape/sexual assault, incest, abortion, teen pregnancy, child abuse, and homophobia. This is not a light book and deals with a lot of difficult topics. I won't be discussing them in the review, but please proceed with caution with the book if you find any of these topics triggering.**

This book primarily follows Deena after the disappearance and presumed death of her older sister, Mandy. But Deena knows that her 'troubled' sister isn't dead - she'll be back in a week or two - no matter what her strict Catholic father says. He's always considered Mandy to be a bad apple in the family - and when Deena accidentally comes out to her other sister Rachel as gay, her father considers her one too. Not long after Mandy's funeral, Deena finds letters Mandy wrote about their family history - the explanation for the bad apples and the so-called curse that finds every girl in the family at the age of seventeen. Deena sets off on a journey across Ireland to break the curse and find her sister - although what she finds along the way may not be exactly what she wanted.

I remember reading Fowley-Doyle's first book a few years back and thinking it was good, but that Fowley-Doyle hadn't quite reached her full potential. That's not any particular shade to the author, debuts are often a stepping stone for developing into an author's best work. And now, I think, Fowley-Doyle has reached that potential. This is a brilliantly crafted and enrapturing novel that is part contemporary novel-part historical fiction that blends seamlessly over generations. The stories are so entwined that you become invested in the story as a whole, not just one or two of the character's being described.

This truly is one of those books you just have to hold onto for the ride and not worry about the logistics too much, especially with the magical realism elements. It shouldn't be too hard, however, this book sucked me in from the very beginning and I devoured it in one sitting. I don't remember the last time I was so invested in a book.

However, not only was this book an amazing story about Deena finding herself and her family, but it was also about rage and anger, abortion laws in Ireland, feminism, resiliency, and abuse. These are all themes that are seamlessly woven into the text without you really noticing until you kind of have an epiphany as to what this book is really about. Yes, it is about one family, but it is also about the history of a country and the world on a larger scale. The injustices millions of people have faced over centuries because of their class, race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc. This book is a scream for all of them.

Overall, this book was so much more than I wanted it to be in the best possible way - I don't think I could have imagined a book so brilliant. It should go without saying that I will be recommending this book to EVERYONE FOREVER.