Review: The Importance of Being Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen

Opening sentence: “Does it have any scaffolding around the bust?”

To give it its full title: The Importance of Being Aisling: County Roads, Take Her Home is the sequel to Oh My God, What a Complete Aisling. I recently spotted it in the airport on my way back from a trip to Dublin and I just had to get it. I adored the first book, so was v. keen to see what Aisling was up to now.

An Aisling recap: This character came to life when authors Emer McLysaught and Sarah Breen noticed that there was a specific type of Irish girl with a certain set of characteristics, usually called Aisling (they even set up a Facebook group so people could share stories about all the ‘Aislings’ they knew – only in a friendly, endearing way, you understand.) To quote from my previous Aisling review:

‘Our lead character, Aisling (obviously) is from a small village (Ballygobbard) in the country and drives up to Dublin for her sensible job at a pension company. We get to find out exactly who a complete Aisling is through her, but the generic term is neatly described in the book, ‘My brother has actually just started going out with one of them, a complete Aisling. He met her in Flannery’s – she’s a primary school teacher from Leitrim. Goes home every weekend to play camogie and has a lot of strong opinions about tea.’

The Importance of Being Aisling follows on from when we last saw Aisling and the brilliant opening prologue throws your expectations and sets the tone for the book – you think you know Aisling, but she is always ready to surprise you! There have been some BIG changes in her life. She no longer works for the pension company and she no longer goes out with her long-term boyfriend. She makes the decision to leave her swish Dublin flatshare and move back home to her childhood house while she works out exactly what she wants to do with her life. Throw in a girls trip to Las Vegas, small-town dramas, her best friend Majella’s new love affair and the cut-throat world of setting up your own business and you have an action-packed story full of hope and more than a few moment that made me laugh.

This book works so well as it is a celebration of Aisling, of Aislings everywhere. She’s a kind, loveable, caring woman who is also a strong-willed feminist with ambition, and it’s this wonderful combo that means you love her! If you want a funny, contemporary, lighthearted read with more than a few doses of emotion thrown in, then make sure you let Aisling into your life. Hopefully book 3 is going to happen as I would love to know what Aisling gets up to next!

Published by Gill Books (Ireland), Michael Joseph (UK) 2018 / 374 pages

Rating: 4/5


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