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26 October, 2016 |
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Yours sincerely - Angela McNamara | Print |  Email
Monday, 03 November 2003
Former columnist and lecturer on relationships Angela McNamara looks back over her life.

Angela McNamara has long been known in Ireland for her talks and advice on matters of relationships and her strong adherence to Catholic principles. In this book she describes how her childhood and early adult experiences prompted her to take up a full time career in the field of sex education. She had a sheltered upbringing, living in a large house in Rathgar and being privately educated for a number of years, with the only raw notes being the accidental death of a younger brother, a subject never talked about within the home thereafter, and a brush with a paedophile friend of the family.

Her entry into the world of writing emerged from journals she wrote about her four young daughters, and she was a regular contributor to The Irish Messenger. This led to invitations to speak to secondary school children about the challenges they were meeting in the newly-awakened Ireland of the 1960s, and an article about the questions posed by teenagers, submitted to the Sunday Press, led to the most high profile of Angela McNamara's activities. From these articles evolved the letters column which ran for almost twenty years. What emerges from this autobiography, apart from the deep religious faith of the author, is the nature of change in Ireland over the second half of the 20th century. She lists sample questions from the 1960s and from the end of the 1990s, and apart from the different ages at which the questions were posed, to senior school girls in the 1960s and to twelve-year-olds, both boys and girls, by the end of the century, the differing subject matters point to a much more apparently knowledgeable body of youth. In the relative innocence of the '60s one girl asked should she take down a poster of Adam Faith from her bedroom wall since her mother didn't approve, while by 1999 a twelve-year-old felt free enough to ask, "What age can you start using condoms?" However this book is essentially more about Angela McNamara and how she has coped with the difficulties with which life has presented her.

(Veritas, ISBN 1-85390-700-6, pp140, €12.95)

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