To the American reader, Patricia Buckley's memoir, My Journey with the Angels, will immediately bring to mind Frank McCourt's 'Tis. Born in Dublin in the early 1960s, her childhood and adolescence are almost too painful to recount: oldest of an ever expanding brood of children; daughter of an alcoholic, violent father and an exhausted, self-absorbed mother; beaten, overworked victim of aggressive, abusive men; sometimes homeless, often drunk, at one point imprisoned in a mental ward�too painful, in deed.
How does she survive? As a child Patricia saw and spoke with angels and often had fleeting contact with the dead. In this she was encouraged only by one grandmother and when that dear woman died, the girl realized she would have to deny these relationships or live at the mercy of those who thought her mad. Eventually she meets and marries a fine, hardworking and supportive man and has children, but she still keeps her angels at bay.
It is not until her family is grown that Patricia again makes contact with the spiritual world and has the courage to confess this to her husband. Amazingly, he encourages her and she finds that many other people are receptive as well. In fact, by the 1990s, a great many people in the UK and America were very interested in angels; studies show that well over half of us believe in angels and that they play an active part in our lives. Today Patricia and Stephen Buckley run a very successful business, Angels of Ireland, but it is clearly the spiritual readings she performs for those who come seeking wisdom and healing that give her the most satisfaction. Although Buckley was raised as a Catholic and lives in a nominally Catholic land, the spiritualism encountered and embraced by her and her cohort seems unrelated to any religious creed or sect.
The book, published by Penguin, is well written, formatted and edited while such colloquialisms as youse and howaya give it an Irish lilt that charms. Sure, and it does.