A review by shoffschwelle
Small Things Like These, by Claire Keegan

dark hopeful informative slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No


A heartbreaking but beautiful historical fiction book bringing to light the women and children who suffered time in Ireland's Magdalen laundries that were supposedly focused on reforming "fallen young women" but actually horribly abused them and were sanctioned by the Catholic Church for most of the 20th century. The book reveals the situation through the eyes of Bill Furlong, a man who has done well for himself and his family, but his mother could easily have had to go to the Magdalen Laundries if not for her employer who kept her on and helped to foster Bill. It's not a rousing cry to dismantle the system, but reflect on how little changes can make a difference like it did for him.

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