'See this fella? He was named after Fionn mac Cumhaill, king of the ancient Irish warriors! He'll be the next President of America; indeed he will!'
A piece of historical irish fiction set in 1930's Ireland, Fionn Connolly is an eight year old boy with the imagination to move mountains. He lives in the Liberties, in South West Dublin, Ireland with his mother and his older sister, his father having absconded to America some time ago. Naming him after Fionn Mac Cumhaill hero of Irish legend, Fionn's grandfather has big plans for him, hoping that he will have the courage to make the trip to America that he wishes he'd made himself. His Grandfather dreams of Fionn one day becoming President of the United States of America, which leads to the young boy gaining the nickname President Fionn. Fionn's childhood innocence is shattered by a horrifyingly violent incident at school, which transforms not only the life of Fionn, but everyone around him, leaving them scattered in all directions.
Fionn returns to Dublin in 1963, a different man. Damaged from his childhood experience, he leads a solitary, ordered life, his only act of daring the purchase of a motorcycle. Bruised by his attempt to romance the enigmatic Teagan and held back by his shyness, Fionn is reluctant to begin a romance with the striking young, mother Bridget. His quiet world does not last, with the return of members of his family to Dublin and the hysteria surrounding the historical event of visit of President Kennedy to Ireland in June of that year. Unable to cope with his family's problems and how they look to him to solve them, Fionn takes off on his motorbike and embarks on a fantastical adventure around Ireland, as he follows President Kennedy on his tour of Ireland and this adventure of a lifetime changes his life forever.
Reviews from Goodreads:
"Interesting subject and great characterizations. "President Fionn" is filled with lively, colorful characters who illuminate a fascinating time in Irish history (and world history!). Spanning 30 years, from Dublin during the depression to the swinging 60s. Fionn is an Irish boy (dubbed 'president' by his doting grandfather) surrounded by the turmoil and upheavals of the mid-twentieth century. Though a dreamer by nature, Fionn can't help but become caught up in the times and is especially fascinated with President John F Kennedy, who he follows hoping to be noticed by the great man.
What a wonderful tale of Irish life, the love and pain that comes with close families, and the dreamer that we all want to love. Christine Mary Flemming has written a tale of hope for the future and entanglement with the past that will resonate with readers. I look forward to reading more of her books!
I found this story extremely emotional, filled with highs and lows. It's the story of a young Irish boy and the hardships (mostly family-related) he faces while growing up. The book doesn't fall into common tropes or predictable events... it simply reflects real life... the characters and dialogue are equally believable and rich. It's a brilliant novel that you'll think about long after you've finished reading it"
"This book has amazingly been both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It takes you on a road down tragedy and the struggle of a soul to survive that tragedy, with unexpected and at first unwelcome help from the family he tried so hard to forget. The path Fionn takes leads him not only to discover the flaws and illusions he has created about himself, but about the people around him. Set in 1930s and 1960s Ireland was a historical breath of fresh air, both fascinating and enlightening. The characters will enthrall you, as you see how their lives unfold and how Fionn overcomes his past to realize his childhood dream. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, and hope to see more from Christine Mary Flemming in the future."
About the author:
Christine Mary Flemming worked as a local journalist and has a degree in Art History and Philosophy, studying at Reading University. She has also undertaken Post-Graduate study in Philosophy of the Mind and Political Philosophy.
'The Lifewatcher' is her first book.
Christine lives in London and in her free time walks Bertie, her little dog, who is a big fan of the outdoors, reads, cooks, spends time with her family and visits museums, theatres and galleries and is a member of 'The Culture Seekers.' She is also a big movie fan.
Fan page - https://www.facebook.com/ChristineMaryFlemming