Ita Doyle: "In all my life I have lived in two houses, had two jobs, and one husband. I'm a very interesting person." Rory and Ita, Roddy Doyle's first nonfiction book, tells, largely in their own words, the story of his parents' lives from their first memories to the present. Born in 1923 and 1925 respectively, they met at a New Year's Eve dance in 1947 and married in 1951. They remember every detail of their Dublin childhoods, the people (aunts, cousins, shopkeepers, friends, teachers), the politics (both came from Republican families), idyllic times in the Wexford countryside for Ita, for Rory, his apprenticeship as a printer. Ita's mother died when she was three ("the only memory I have is of her hands, doing things"); Rory was the oldest of nine children, five of them girls.
By the time they put down a deposit of 200 pounds for a house in Kilbarrack, Rory was working as a compositor at the Irish Independent. By the time the first of their four children was born, he'd become a teacher at the School of Printing in Dublin. Kilbarrack began to change ("it wasn't a rural place any more") and Ireland too.
Through their eyes we see the intensely Catholic society of their youth being transformed into the vibrant, modern Ireland of today. Both Rory and Ita Doyle are marvellous talkers, with excellent memories, so combined with Roddy Doyle's legendary skill in illuminating ordinary experience, it makes for a book of tremendous warmth and humanity.