“Willowbrook – a flawed Eden. A memoir of growing up in Millstreet, Co. Cork” by Jim O’Brien is the latest publication from the Aubane Historical Society.
The author was evacuated with his brothers from London during WWII and they were sent to live with their aunts at Willowbrook House in Cloghboolabeg.
He paints a very vivid picture of his experiences at the house, of the people who owned and lived there and of those who worked there. He also gives entertaining pen-pictures of the local ‘characters’ he got to know. He describes them ‘warts and all’ and they are thereby made unforgettable.
Like all good stories it operates at many levels – the story of children separated from their parents and the effects this had on both; the issue of property relations within families and its consequences for individual members, particularly women; the relations between men and women, sexual and otherwise; the relations between adults and children; the class distinctions that were prevalent at the time and the consequences of this.
All the farm activities are well described with the attendant social activities that brought people together and showed the mutual interdependence that such a life entails despite all differences.
Hopefully, it will be on sale in Wordsworth’s for €15 by the end of the week…