The Laughter of Our Children

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Insight to an Awakening
“The Laughter of our Children,” a family’s belated reaction to the historical troubles of Ireland by Ann Gillingham, is the kind of story a grandmother would tell her grandchild. Having a mother who grew up during these difficult times, it is relatable and sparks a yearning to revisit the many martyrs’ memorials to pay respect.

Ann Gilingham wastes no time snagging her audiences’ attention as she commences with a short, poignant sentence that seems to drip with lingering confusion and slight defiance, but also foreshadows the author being brought to light on the subject eventually. Continuing her piece as a narrative, she maintains her grasp on the readers by telling them about the small brawl that took place between her father and Uncle Sean at a family event that was “nothing special.” She could not even recall the occasion. Resulting in Sean slipping out the side gate, the topic in question was whether Bobby Sands was a “saint” and “true martyr” or a “stubborn” man who died for nothing. Though I personally find myself siding with Uncle Sean here, before the first page has even concluded, the author was still at loss as to whom Bobby Sands was and all he did. The scene closes with her mother standing, shut off from all around her and in shock of what had just come to pass.

With the author’s writing style it is obvious here that there is a leap into the future. She begins her second section with a sentence similar to that which began the first, short and begging for more detail, but captivating none-the-less. Her family is now travelling through Europe, making their way from Dublin to London, Scotland and then back to Belfast, soaking in all the culture and history as they can. It does not take long to see that Belfast is the main focus, as it was said that “within ten minutes” of being checked into their hotel they had their tour guide ready to go, the description of whom makes me chuckle, as he is the spit of almost every...
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