Since she rose to international fame in 1985 with her seminal Irish jazz album Tired and Emotional, Mary Coughlan's battles with addiction, the problems in her personal life and career have been well documented. But until now she has never spoken of the traumatic events in her childhood that led to a life of rebellion, running away, and reliance on drugs and alcohol.
In this funny, moving and typically outspoken memoir, Ireland's best-loved jazz singer pulls no punches in getting to the heart of what made Mary so contrary.
Detailing her battles with the bottle, her suicide attempts and her confinement in psychiatric hospitals, Mary tells of how, after hitting rock-bottom, she pulled herself out of the dregs of a vodka bottle to confront the foundations of her problems head-on.
As she tells her story - with a ribald, running commentary on the highs and lows of celebrity culture - we get to experience an alternative evolution of Ireland in the '70s and '80s, populated with hippies, rock stars and movie moguls, and one wild Irish girl determined to live a life less ordinary.
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About the Author
Mary Coughlan was born in Galway City, Ireland. She was the eldest of five and endured a very erratic youth. As a teenager, she began drinking and taking drugs leading to a spell in hospital. After her leaving cert, she moved to London where she had a brief career as a street sweeper and she lived in a squat. A couple of years later, she returned to Ireland, married and had three children in quick succession by the age of twenty-four.
In 1985, Mary released her first album Tired and Emotional. Around this time, her marriage broke down and Mary took custody of her children. Her first album was a huge overnight success and she went from obscurity to being a household name in weeks, partly due to a memorable appearance on The Late Late Show, the first of many. She acted in Neil Jordan's High Spirits in 1988.