A sweet and relatable heroine and setting, Amelia Nelson
The Life and Times of Eddie McGrath
November 23, 2021
The Life and Times of Eddie McGrath is a book about a young girl, unsurprisingly, called Eddie McGrath. She lives in Wellington and wins a national competition to give a speech at the Beehive.
Before I delve in further, I would like to point out a few key things. First, one thing I like about this book is that it could be set ten years in the past or ten years in the future, as a lot of the details about exactly where and when the book is set are extremely vague. For example, the Prime Minister’s name is never mentioned, and her local MP’s name (Richard Colleston) is only mentioned once, with Eddie referring to him as ‘Mr MP’.
Also, on an unrelated topic, the copy of the book that I was reading had quite a large font. It doesn’t matter to me, but for people who like large text, this might be a nice surprise.
Eddie has decided not to accept the prize, as she is an introvert and terrible at public speaking. But when her dad, a builder, gets hurt in a workplace accident she decides to accept the prize so that her dad has a date to aim for in his recovery. The prize involves spending a day with the local MP and finding a problem to solve. But when the day is fruitless, she must search elsewhere for a problem to fix and give her speech about. She ends up talking about an old lady called Sylvia who ran away from her retirement home as well as five elderly cats from the local SPCA, nicknamed the ‘Rolling Stones.’
There are a few interesting side stories in this book. One of my favourites is about Irena, Meri’s cousin, who competes in a singing competition. She also stays with Meri for a week during a debating competition. Also in that debating competition is Lucy, Oscar’s (a fellow prize winner, yes, Eddie isn’t the only competition winner, along with Oscar there are 2 other competition winners) twin sister… small world, right? Oscar travels up from Christchurch to give his speech, in which he talks about a piece of land that was going to be turned into a car park.
The main character is Eddie, obviously, but she also has two best friends, Meri and Liam. She also has another friend, Ariel, who shares Eddie’s love for books. Eddie lives with her mum, her dad, her Aunt Ruth, and her older sister Beth. She also has another sister, Claire, who’s studying politics at university.
One last thing I would like to mention is that Eddie really likes books and often finds herself relating to fictional characters. Because of that, a lot of books are mentioned throughout the story. All in all, I really liked this book. Eddie is sweet and relatable. I would rate this book about 9-ish and up.
- Amelia Nelson lives in Paekakariki.