⇒Featuring feminism, magic and family curses
All the Bad Apples was the queer, witchy book I’ve always dreamed of, and I have nothing to say about except to sing it’s praises and urge you to read it at this very moment! I believe I’ve previously pitched it as “A queer, feminist witchy novel featuring a family curse and haunted houses in Ireland.”
This was the first novel I’ve read by Möira Fowley-Doyle, but I’ll definitely be picking up her previous novels because this was a beautifully dark, twistingly whimsy book that stole my entire heart.
Let’s start with Deena…she’s such a genuine main character, who was easy to relate to…I blush when a pretty girl looks at me, too… She was so very human, and I loved her. It was so heartbreaking to watch her journey as she discovered her family’s past, but so fulfilling too. I also loved all the side characters; Finn, Cale, Mandy, Rachel…they all brought their own struggles and dynamic to the story.
Onto the storyline and message of the book…WOW. WOW. WOW. All the Bad Apples is fiercely feminist and fights against the patriarchy and the church of Ireland. As the story progresses, Deena finds out all about her family’s past and what men, the church and the public did to her ancestors and the “bad apples” of her family tree, and it was a harrowing story to read. The story that Deena discovers is the one that was lost, the history that was buried, the hidden voices of the women who were mistreated and abused going back centuries.
I had the pleasure of seeing Möira at YALC, and she said that All the Bad Apples was a story of her rage surrounding the 12th Amendment in Ireland and a story that expressed her hope that things can get better. I can really see both her rage and hope portrayed in All the Bad Apples and think it was beautifully done. Möira Fowley Doyle’s writing is magical and raw and stunning, and I was hooked onto every word of All the Bad Apples.
The backdrop of Ireland really enhanced the novel, especially as the author blends in aspects of fantasy realism and magic that don’t make up a big part of the book but really enhance the storyline.
Despite the darkness in many aspects of the book, the characters brought joy and banter to the storyline in a way that lit up the narrative.
I’m not sure what else there is to say about this novel, apart from that you need it in your life right this second.
Exploring issues such as abortion, grief, rape, homophobia and the Magdalene laundries, All the Bad Apples was a deeply moving and heart wrenching book that I cannot recommend enough to anyone and everyone, regardless of gender, reading preference or heritage. This is a deeply important book that needs to be shared. BRB just going to read the rest of Möira’s books.