Because of the rain, not many customers came in and out, so I wrote the bills quickly and then got on with my reading. I had a book hidden in the ledger, so that I could read it without fear of being caught.
It was a beautiful book, but sad. It was called Tender is the Night. I skipped half the words in my anxiety to read it quickly, because I wanted to know if the man would leave the woman or not. All the nicest men were in books - the strange, complex, romantic men; the ones I admired most.
Edna O'Brien, Girl with Green Eyes (1962)
'Haven't you already read that?' friends used to say to me when they saw me reading this when I was at university.
Yes, but I'm reading it again. And again. This is a book I have more than copy of, in case one wears out or gets lost. This story of Caithleen Brady (Kate), a 'literary fat girl' working in a grocery shop in Dublin, and her friend Baba in the early 1960s, is one I find endlessly entertaining and apparently effortlessly written. Sometimes when you're a teenager you find the perfect book that is you, and for me, this is it.