Swift Pure Cry

Swift Pure Cry

by Siobhan Dowd


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Swift Pure Cry 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
After her mother died, fifteen-year-old Shell is left to take care of her younger brother and sister and her drunken father. They live in a small Irish village in a little farmhouse. Her mother's death has caused her father to drink even more than he did before, and in sudden religious zeal, he goes out daily to make his "collections." These donations are meant for the church, but he takes out more than his fair share before turning in the remains.

Life is difficult. Shell is teased at school and skips out as much as possible. She attempts to look to the church for support, and a new young priest seems to offer a shoulder to lean on. Eventually, Shell seeks emotional release in a relationship with an older boy. They begin a secret relationship spent mostly hidden in the barley field where Declan takes advantage of Shell's need for tenderness. The inevitable happens - Shell becomes pregnant. Without her mother to confide in, Shell hides her condition, using a stolen library book to help her understand what is about to happen.

Shell is an amazing young girl. She struggles to hold the family together and deal with her circumstances as best she can. As the story unfolds, readers will be surprised at the unpredictable turn of events for Shell, her father, the young priest, and all involved in the unfortunate tragedy.

A SWIFT PURE CRY uses Irish dialect and lyrical prose to draw the reader into Shell's world. Her courage and faith shine clearly through this heartbreaking tale.
julie10reads on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another YA read that will draw adults as well, this novel takes place in County Cork during the 1980s. For North American readers, the Talent family home¿s lack of amenities will seem more typical of the 1950s. No TV, no malls or movies, the Talent siblings (15, 9 and 6?) play made up games with each other and cut out dolls from old magazines. When their alcoholic father wants to drink and count his stash hidden in the piano, he sends the children out to pick up stones in the field, no matter the weather. This is a wonderfully conveyed visual for their hard, dour life.At 15, Shell, short for Michelle, has lost her mother to cancer and lost her faith. ¿In Shell¿s mind, Jesus got off the cross and walked off to the nearest bar.¿ She starts ¿mitching¿, skipping school, stealing from the local shops and devastatingly, gives in to the local Lothario, Declan Ronan. By the time Shell realizes she¿s pregnant, Declan has run away from home to America. She hides her pregnancy under her father¿s coat and in a believable, one-of-a-kind scene, gives birth at home with the help of her younger siblings. No melodrama, no Hallmark moments: just 3 traumatized children. The plot takes a sharp turn here involving spoilers; let¿s just say Shell¿s trauma is just beginning¿.There`s a delicate subplot involving a new parish assistant, Father Rose. The antithesis of the pedophile priest, Father Rose befriends Shell as much as he can within the restraints of 1980s Irish Catholicism. This novel came recommended by Patrick Ness, author of The Knife of Neve Letting Go, who places it in a category with To Kill a Mockingbird; both are coming-of-age stories deeply true to their culture and time and at the same time, universal.Something for teens and adults. Highly recommended 8 out of 10.
ChristianR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shell, an Irish teen whose mother has died and whose father is an alcoholic, is struggling to take care of her two younger siblings. She becomes involved with a boy and gets pregnant but conceals it. Her father and the other adults either don't see her condition or ignore it. This book does a good job of projecting the helplessness that young people can feel when they are in an overwhelming situation without any adults in charge. A very moving book.
FionaCat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shell Talent lives with her dad and younger brother and sister in the Irish village of Coolbar near the sea. Her mam has been dead for a year or more and the family still misses her greatly.Shell's only tangible tie to her mam is a pink dress hanging in the back of her dad's closet. One night she tries it on and starts a chain of events that leads to a scandal the likes of which Coolbar has never known. Misunderstandings and secrets abound as Shell tries to make sense of what has happened.This is a haunting story of a young girl still grieving for her dead mother and caught up in events that quickly spiral out of her control. Through it all, though, Shell looks after her younger siblings and never loses her bond with her mam.
HHS-Students on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Reviewed by Kimmy (Class of 2012)Who is the father of Shell¿s baby? In A Swift Pure Cry by Siobhan Dowd, fifteen year old Michelle ¿Shell¿ Talent lives in County Cork, Ireland with her father and her two younger siblings. Shell¿s mother has died and it¿s her responsibility to take care of her family. Siobhan Dowd had won many awards for her writing, including the 2007 Branford Boase Award for outstanding novel for younger teens. In this story, Shell becomes pregnant by somebody she knew and who leaves her alone and pregnant. The mystery in the book is who is the father of her unborn baby. The thing I didn¿t like about this book is that I didn¿t understand the part who was the father of the baby, and there were so many people involved in this part. My favorite part was that her younger siblings were learning something new every each day during the pregnancy they were becoming more talkative. This book has a lot of drama going on and if you like that type of book, you would love reading A Swift Pure Cry.
jsjohnso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Coolbar, Ireland is where Shell lives with her father, younger sister and brother (Trix and Jimmy.) Their mother has died and Shell takes care of the family. Since Mam died, thier father, Joe became more religious, drinks a lot, and no longer works. He collect money for the poor. When the story begins it is Spring and almost Easter. Shell is friends with Father Rose but he is told by the head priest, Father Carrol not to be seen hanging around with a single girla (Shell.) Shell becomes involved with Declan and gets pregnant. She does not tell her father and before Christmas she has the baby at home with the help of her two siblings.( p 174-180) Shell thinks the baby is alive but the baby girl was born dead. The cord was around the baby's neck. Shell, calls the baby Rose. Trix, Jimmy and Shell put the baby in a box and take it out to the hillside and bury it. When her father come home for Christmas, Shell is eating dinner with him and the police come to arrest Shell and her father because a dead baby was found on Shell Island. Joe tells Shell not to say a word as they leave the house. Sargent Mollow thinks Shell and her father killed the baby. Shell father confesses to leaving the baby on the shlef in a cave to die--to ease his own guilt and protect Shell. Shell does not talk to anyone but finds out that the baby in question is a boy and it was left on the shelf. She talks with Father Rose and tells him where her baby is buried and that is was a girl. Shell is released from jail and they go to where the baby is buried and dig it up.During this time Shell's father thinks he is the father because he came home drunk one night and Shell had on her mother's pink dress--Joe thinks he raped Shell. But, she got away from him before he passed out. Shell refuses to tell anyone who is the father of the baby. So the police think Joe is the father. However, since there are two babies Shell begins to piece together the facts about her fiend Birdie Quinn and realizes that Birdie had a baby and the father was also Declan Ronan. Birdie's mother told Shell that Birdie was living with an aunt of her in another area but Shell calls the Aunt and she is not there. The baby left on the shelf was Birdie's baby. The police sent the two baby's bodies to pathologist to determine whether they were twins and when the results come back, it is clear that the two babies do not have the same blood type. Joe is released from jail.This is a beautilul story about compassion. All of the people in Coolbar were making judgements about Shell and her father. Their neighbor, Mrs. Dugan looked after the family and protects Shell form the harsh things people in Coolbar are saying. After Father Rose knows the truth and visits Shell, he says ..."My God, we let you down. Every last one of us in Coolbar. We let you down." (p. 218) At the end of the story the people of Coolbar have a funeral Mass for the babies and then bury them. Shell's father stops dirnking and starts farming again; Decaln writes Shell a letter from America and tells her how much he cares for her; and Fahter Rose goes to Offlay --he has become a doubting priest and will try to find a clear way. Mam's spirit stayed with Shell and helped her get through all of the terrible things and gave her a peace that life would be good and continue on.
CaroTheLibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Shell lives in rural Ireland, and since her mother's death is responisble for her two younger siblings and her heavy-drinking father. This is a beautfully written novel, with a real sense of time and place. The language can be quiet complex, and assumes a certain understanding of Catholic belief and practice. Heart-rending in places I would highly recommended this book for older teens and adults.
LibraryLou on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A moving story about a young girl who quickly goes from being an innocent child to living in a world of adult possibilities after her mother dies.Definitely should win this year's Carnegie medal. I couldn't put it down at all once I started it. Very well written with fantastically drawn characters.
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What y?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I... i dont know. " he gets up and goes to the 18th result.
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Im leaving