The No. 1 Irish bestseller in 2017 . . . THE FUNNIEST BOOK YOU WILL READ THIS YEAR.
Dubbed ‘The Irish Bridget Jones’, the #OMGWACA phenomenon is about to take the UK by storm. Just published by Michael Joseph, I am delighted to bring you all the very funny Prologue today as I join the blog tour. I am also re-sharing my Review in celebration of the book’s UK publication.
From the creators of the now infamous Facebook page, Oh My God What A Complete Aisling (#OMGWACA) soared up the Irish Book Charts holding it’s own against some very tough competition in the No 1 position in 2017.
OMGWACA is soon set to be made into a movie by Element Pictures (Room, The Lobster) with the authors on board to write the screenplay.
Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are the creators of this genuinely heartwarming girl, called Aisling. With over 50,000 members in their Facebook group, it was high time that the rest of the world got a little peek into the life & world of Aisling…
I really do hope you enjoy!!
Aisling is twenty-eight and still lives at home with her parents. She loves a drink (always served on a coaster, she’s not an animal).
She thinks whoever invented the shirt/jumper combination – the schumper – is a fashion genius.
She’d rather die than miss a free hotel breakfast.
In short,she’s a complete Aisling.
Her boyfriend John is a bit of a ride, but after seven years Aisling wants more than two nights a week at his place. She wants to be able to answer the question ‘When’s it your turn?’ by flashing a ring on her finger.
Until a week in Tenerife with John ends in a break-up, and she surprises everyone by deciding it’s time to move on, and introduce the Big Smoke of Dublin to the ways of the complete Aisling . . .
From the opening pages the laughs begin as a typical eaves-dropping scene unfolds. Aisling is at a wedding and is in a bathroom cubicle when she overhears two other guests talking about her. They laugh in recollection of her earlier antics and recall how EVERYONE knows someone like Aisling..
‘”Loads of girls in work are like her. Real sensible types, all from down the country. One of them wears her county jersey every casual Friday and then throws on a pair of earrings for going to the pub afterwards……” There’s a bit of tittering now and I’m not sure why. Sure a good pair of dangly earrings can jazz up any outfit…That outfit would take you from Croke Park to Quinn’s and even onto Coppers afterwards if you’re going Out Out’
Aisling is the quintessential girl from the country doing the daily commute to Dublin for work. She loves nothing better than meeting up with her boyfriend John, a local GAA fella from home, who now lives in Dublin. They’ve been together for years and as far as Aisling is concerned their lives are mapped out. They will get married in time and build the big house. They will immerse themselves in the village life at home and continue supporting their local clubs. For Aisling, this is all she ever wanted. She loves going out on the town in Dublin getting absolutely hammered on a week night,but in her mind this is all just a bit of fun before she settles down at home in Ballygobbard with John.
What Aisling hadn’t bargained for though, was that John might have a different dream. With no engagement ring forthcoming Aisling suggests a trip abroad in the hope that John might seize the opportunity and propose. But life has a way of throwing a curve ball and Aisling soon realises that her map is about to change.
‘I can’t help myself. Ever since we booked the holiday, I’ve just had the strongest feeling something life-changing was going to happen while we were here. Intuition, or whatever you want to call it. But now that we’re on the beach, watching the sun rise on day two, I’m suddenly a bag of nerves.’
Aisling soon finds herself moving into new and very glamorous accommodation with Sadhbh and Elaine in Dublin city centre. These two girls take Aisling under their wing showing her a different side to life, an almost hedonistic lifestyle, that, in fairness to Aisling, she takes in her stride. On a trip to Berlin, Aisling is like the Mammy of the group, somewhat in shock with the behaviour of the girls, yet protective. She embraces this new life, leaving her old friend from home, Majella, a little unsure of where their relationship stands. Majella is now a teacher in Dublin but is as mad as a hatter. A night on the tiles with Majella would have many of us hospitalised!!!
With the help of friends, both new and old, Aisling takes stock of her life. She now sees a different future for herself and chooses to embrace the change.
The thing about Aisling is, that while the authors may over embellish somewhat certain aspects of Aisling’s personality, it is easy to see that there is an Aisling in many of us!! I am from ‘down the country’, and although I live in a city, a city that we Cork folk like to call ‘The Real Capital’ or ‘The Peoples Republic of Cork’, I was still a country girl when I first moved to Dublin many years ago. I recall being asked questions about the public transport in Cork and…did we have double-decker buses down there!! There was a general consensus from my work colleagues that I was ‘country’. I so get the image on the cover and Aisling’s reference to the BT (Brown Thomas) carrier bag with her shoes in it. I have done it!! Sure they’re a gorgeous bag, a statement really. Brilliantly depicted 🙂
OMGWACA will raise heckles with some for the stereotyping of the main character, but I think as a reader you need to look beyond this and just see the humour in Aisling’s thoughts and behaviour. There is an obvious need for a book like this in our society today which shows how it’s ok to make fun of ourselves and see the lighthearted side to life. Holding it’s position at #1 in the book charts is a clear indication to me that people need more laughter in life and if OMGWACA provides this, then I say bring it on!!
Much of the wit and humour of the book is laden with Irish inflections and characteristics, but this does not imply that it is a book only for Irish readers.
Oh My God What A Complete Aisling is like sitting down with a buddy chatting over a couple of beers and having a laugh. It’s pure entertainment with moments of heartbreak and sadness thrown in. Is it a literary novel? No. Does it claim to be a literary novel? No. This is a book that will propel you out of your daily humdrum and introduce you to a lovely country girl with a warm heart and a fabulous sense of humour. It is a book that will draw tears from your eyes, but mainly from the laugh out loud moments as you follow Aisling on her rocky journey through her twenties. We’ve all done it lads……just some with more style than others…..
Funny. Charming. Enjoyable. Refreshing.
Purchase Link ~ Oh My God What A Complete Aisling
Please do read on for an insight into Aisling with an extract from the opening pages…
‘Your one Aisling is absolutely gas, isn’t she?’
That’s definitely not a local accent. But I know the voice – it’s the brunette with the complicated updo sitting two up from me on Titanic – all the tables are named after Denise and Liam’s favourite films, you see. Lovely idea, very personal. His cousin, I think she is. There are two of them – down from Dublin and very glamorous altogether. Shellac this, that and the other. Nice and chatty too, and not making beasts of themselves with the bread. The only thing worse than being at a zero craic table is when some brazen shnake takes a second bread roll when they think no one’s looking. Well I’m always looking. Eight Points in a bread roll and worth every single one. But you can’t be getting into bread-basket politics with strangers at a wedding. I’ve no idea why this girl thinks I’m so gas though. We’ve only had the usual small talk about work and wasn’t it great they got the weather. And there was the usual throwing of the fiver into the pint glass for the speeches, of course. You have to be vigilant and make sure everyone contributes or else you get stung with a massive round. It’s only fair.
‘Is she the one in the red fascinator who was saying she commutes up to Dublin from here for work? Seemed obsessed with the Rose of Tralee?’
That sounds like the blonde who was sitting beside John. Kerry, she said her name was. Wearing a lovely long, floaty number. Boho, I think you’d call it? Yes, I am the one in the red fascinator – twenty-five per cent off in Coast and it goes with everything. Three weddings in the last year alone and who knows how many ahead of me? And all I did was mention that we’ll never be Roses now, what with everyone getting married off. I’d never have actually gone for the Rose of Tralee, but I did feel a pang of regret turning twenty-eight on my last birthday knowing that they’d never have me now. Treble jig while reciting ‘Pangur Bán’, that’s what I always said my talent would be, with a removable long skirt revealing a shorter one underneath for the dancing. Triple threat.
‘Yeah,’ confirms Updo, rifling through her handbag. ‘That’s her. You’re sitting beside her fella – he’s a bit of a ride an’ all.’ Well, she’s got that much right, although she’d want to keep her eyes to herself. John is looking fierce well tonight in fairness, he’s filling out his good suit in all the right places, like only a centre forward can. I’m a bit worried now, I shouldn’t be earwigging. I’m half afraid of what I might hear if I don’t cough or do something to let them know the walls have ears. Plus, I’ve already been in this cubicle ten minutes. I came in mostly to rest my feet. They’re in ribbons and the dancing hasn’t even really got going yet. I have a rule about keeping the shoes on until midnight at least and, if you ask me, Denise has missed a trick not having a little basket of flip flops in here. That won’t go unnoticed. I suppose I’ll just soldier on in my kitten-heels until it’s time to fire them under the table and rock the boat. I can hear the strains of ‘Sweet Caroline’ coming through the wall. Things are obviously heating up out there.
Updo and Kerry have fallen silent for the time being. By the sound of bags being unzipped and plastic tubes and things hitting the sinks, they’re fi their faces. I’m willing them to hurry up, although the little rest is grand. I’m trying to count the number of drinks I’ve had but I keep losing track. I was doing so well too, alternating glasses of water and pinot greej at the dinner like I usually do, but then I got caught in a round and it all fell apart. Best-laid plans. I’ll just sit here a little bit longer and wait for them to go. Take a little breather from my control tights before they do some real damage to my internal organs. John is outside in the thick of it anyway, I won’t be missed for a while yet.
‘I nearly broke my arse laughing when she thought she’d left the immersion on and dived under the table to get her phone,’ Updo pipes up again. ‘She nearly took the tablecloth with her – Usain Bolt couldn’t catch her.’
‘Hrrrnngghhh.’ I make a cough-like rumbling in my throat. There. Surely they have to have heard that? It was good and loud. No offence intended to them but, sorry, who wouldn’t almost have a heart attack at the thought of leaving the immersion on when I won’t be home ‘til tomorrow? The stress of it would have ruined my whole night. Better to call Daddy and double-check.
‘She has me in stitches,’ Kerry says. ‘Loads of the girls in work are like her. Real sensible types, all from down the country. One of them wears her county jersey every casual Friday and then throws on a pair of earrings for going to the pub afterwards. She’s the only one in the whole company trusted with the keys to the stationery press.’
There’s a bit of tittering now and I’m not sure why. Sure, a good pair of dangly earrings can jazz up any outfi I have loads.
Earrings, jersey, jeans and a pair of boots with a nice manageable heel. That outfi would take you from Croke Park to Quinn’s and even to Coppers afterwards if you’re going Out Out. And who doesn’t love a night in Coppers – some craic.
I clear my throat again but they’re so deep into their contouring or whatever that they still haven’t noticed.
‘Oh it’s a definite type,’ Kerry says. ‘My brother has actually just started going out with one of them, a complete Aisling. He met her in Flannery’s – she’s a primary school teacher from Leitrim. Goes home every weekend to play camogie and has a lot of strong opinions about tea.’
I rack my brains. She sounds very familiar; I bet Majella knows her.
‘Is she nice?’ Updo asks, and I feel myself tense up. How could she not be nice? She’s an athlete who works with children. It sounds like she’d give Mother Teresa a run for her money.
‘Oh god yeah, she’s lovely,’ Kerry says, to my relief. ‘He’s mad about her. She actually gave me one of those tokens for the supermarket trolley to hang on my keyring. It’s dead handy. I don’t know how I survived without it for so long.’
Trolley tokens ARE dead handy. I’d be lost without my Superquinn one. Yes, I still have it. Trolley tokens don’t grow on trees.
‘One of the Aislings in work, I can’t think of her real name, confessed the other day that she’s been hanging all those passive-aggressive signs in the break room begging people to clean the microwave after heating up their soup,’ Updo says. ‘She does them in Comic Sans to pretend she’s not that put out, but it’s obvious she’s slowly losing her mind. She also casually mentioned in the bathroom one day that she’d never dyed her hair. Like, ever. Not even as a teenager.’
There’s a gasp now and I wonder how long Kerry has been a slave to the peroxide bottle. She probably doesn’t even remember her natural colour, God love her. And I’m sure it’s lovely. I feel for that poor girl in Updo’s work – really, I do. The crowd in my office have no respect for the communal kitchen. None at all. It’s driving me to distraction but sure what can I do only keep replacing the sign above the dish- washer and hope that they’ll stop living like animals one of these days?
‘She also told me that she’s just counting the minutes ‘til her fella proposes so she can move back down home.’ Updo is up to ninety now. This poor girl’s ears must be burning over in Galway or wherever she’s from. ‘Apparently her da is giving them a plot of land as a wedding present so that she can build a massive gaff with the utility room of her dreams and a driveway the size of the Aviva.’
‘Isn’t it well for some?’ Kerry says, zipping up her make-up bag, and off they clip-clop back out to the ballroom in their ridiculous heels.
Suddenly I’m alone again. I must admit, that last bit cut a bit close to the bone. Why do I drink wine at weddings? It makes me maudlin. Know the one that’s one too many, Aisling. A few glasses of water when I get back out there. Be grand. Then I’ll move on to the West Coast Coolers to keep myself ticking over. A couple of paracetamol before bed to ward off any hangover. Never fails me. The bathroom is mercifully quiet as I exit the cubicle, feet worse than ever after the bit of a sitdown.
You know, I’d kill for one of those utility rooms with a big worktop and a rail for John’s shirts. To be honest, I’m starting to wonder if he’s ever going to pop the feckin’ question. Daddy has my site ready to go – road frontage, obviously. A good stretch too. When all our friends started getting engaged, I said nothing. When the wedding invites started coming in the post, I said nothing. I know the pregnancy announcements will be kicking off soon and there’s still no sign of a ring for me. It’s been on my mind for a while now but there’s never been a good time to bring it up. Maybe tonight’sthe night? I probably shouldn’t do it when I’m half pissed though …
‘Aisling! AISLING! Are you in here? Denise is about to throw the bouquet!’
Meet The Authors:
Authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are Aislings. Maybe not complete Aislings but about 42%.
The Aisling character was conceived in their sitting room in 2008, when they began to observe the many traits, characteristics and quirks of a very particular type of Irish girl; one they identified around them and one they identified with.
The Aisling character started as an in-joke between two best friends on a Facebook group which now boasts over 50,000 followers and counting.
Facebook ~ Oh My God What a Complete Aisling