I’m so thrilled to be on the blog tour for Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling by Emer McLysaght and Sarah Been today and to have an extract to share with you.
My huge thanks to Jenny Platt for being so nice and for providing me with an extract to share when a teething baby meant I didn’t get much time to read. Do look out for my review if this book as I will be posting my review ASAP.
Oh My God, What A Complete Aisling is available in ebook and hardback now. You can purchase a copy of both here.
Before I share my extract with you, here is a little bit about the book.
Ever been a small town girl trying to make a life in the big city?
Meet twenty-something Aisling – that’s pronounced Ashling – she can barely boil an egg let alone figure out what night bus to catch home.
But she’s got a job in the big city, a flat and a boyfriend. She has an umbrella for rainy days, an electric blanket for cold nights and keeps her kitten heels firmly on the ground.
Until the day she accidentally ditches her only slightly useless boyfriend John. And finds herself in a spot of bother at work.
Is it time to pack up and go back to the sticks?
Or can Aisling fix the mess she’s made?
What’s a Complete Aisling to do?
‘Your one Aisling is absolutely gas, isn’t she?’
That’s definitely not a local accent. But I know the voice – it’s the brunette with the complicated updo sitting two up from me on Titanic – all the tables are named after Denise and Liam’s favourite films, you see. Lovely idea, very personal. His cousin, I think she is. There are two of them – down from Dublin and very glamorous altogether. Shellac this, that and the other. Nice and chatty too, and not making beasts of themselves with the bread. The only thing worse than being at a zero craic table is when some brazen shnake takes a second bread roll when they think no one’s looking. Well I’m always looking. Eight Points in a bread roll and worth every single one. But you can’t be getting into bread-basket politics with strangers at a wedding. I’ve no idea why this girl thinks I’m so gas though. We’ve only had the usual small talk about work and wasn’t it great they got the weather. And there was the usual throwing of the fiver into the pint glass for the speeches, of course. You have to be vigilant and make sure everyonecontributes or else you get stung with a massive round. It’s only fair.
‘Is she the one in the red fascinator who was saying she commutes up to Dublin from here for work? Seemed obsessed with the Rose of Tralee?’
That sounds like the blonde who was sitting beside John. Kerry, she said her name was. Wearing a lovely long, floaty number. Boho, I think you’d call it? Yes, I am the one in the red fascinator – twenty-five per cent off in Coast and it goes with everything. Three weddings in the last year alone and who knows how many ahead of me? And all I did was mention that we’ll never be Roses now, what with everyone getting married off. I’d never have actually gone for the Rose of Tralee, but I did feel a pang of regret turning twenty-eight on my last birthday knowing that they’d never have me now. Treble jig while reciting ‘Pangur Bán’, that’s what I always said my talent would be, with a removable long skirt revealing a shorter one underneath for the dancing. Triple threat.
‘Yeah,’ confirms Updo, rifling through her handbag. ‘That’s her. You’re sitting beside her fella – he’s a bit of a ride an’ all.’ Well, she’s got that much right, although she’d want to keep her eyes to herself. John is looking fierce well tonight in fairness, he’s filling out his good suit in all the right places, like only a centre forward can. I’m a bit worried now, I shouldn’t be earwigging. I’m half afraid of what I might hear if I don’t cough or do something to let them know the walls have ears. Plus, I’ve already been in this cubicle ten minutes. I came in mostly to rest my feet. They’re in ribbons and the dancing hasn’t even really got going yet. I have a rule about keeping the shoes on until midnight at least and, if you ask me, Denise has missed a trick not having a little basket of flip flops in here. That won’t go unnoticed. I suppose I’ll just soldier on in my kitten-heels until it’s time to fire them under the table and rock the boat. I can hear the strains of ‘Sweet Caroline’ coming through the wall.Things are obviously heating up out there.
Updo and Kerry have fallen silent for the time being. By the sound of bags being unzipped and plastic tubes and things hitting the sinks, they’re fi their faces. I’m willing them to hurry up, although the little rest is grand. I’m trying to count the number of drinks I’ve had but I keep losing track. I was doing so well too, alternating glasses of water and pinot greej at the dinner like I usually do, but then I got caught in a round and it all fell apart. Best-laid plans. I’ll just sit here a little bit longer and wait for them to go. Take a little breather from my control tights before they do some real damage to my internal organs. John is outside in the thick of it anyway, I won’t be missed for a while yet.
‘I nearly broke my arse laughing when she thought she’d left the immersion on and dived under the table to get her phone,’ Updo pipes up again. ‘She nearly took the tablecloth with her – Usain Bolt couldn’t catch her.’
‘Hrrrnngghhh.’ I make a cough-like rumbling in my throat. There. Surely they have to have heard that? It was good and loud. No offence intended to them but, sorry, who wouldn’t almost have a heart attack at the thought of leaving the immersion on when I won’t be home ‘til tomorrow? The stress of it would have ruined my whole night. Better to call Daddy and double-check.
‘She has me in stitches,’ Kerry says. ‘Loads of the girls in work are like her. Real sensible types, all from down the country. One of them wears her county jersey every casual Friday and then throws on a pair of earrings for going to the pub afterwards. She’s the only one in the whole company trusted with the keys to the stationery press.’
There’s a bit of tittering now and I’m not sure why. Sure, a good pair of dangly earrings can jazz up any outfi I have loads.
Earrings, jersey, jeans and a pair of boots with a nice manageable heel. That outfi would take you from Croke Park to Quinn’s and even to Coppers afterwards if you’re going Out Out. And who doesn’t love a night in Coppers – some craic.
I clear my throat again but they’re so deep into their contouring or whatever that they still haven’t noticed.
‘Oh it’s a definite type,’ Kerry says. ‘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.’
I rack my brains. She sounds very familiar; I bet Majella knows her.
‘Is she nice?’ Updo asks, and I feel myself tense up. How could she not be nice? She’s an athlete who works with children. It sounds like she’d give Mother Teresa a run for her money.
‘Oh god yeah, she’s lovely,’ Kerry says, to my relief. ‘He’s mad about her. She actually gave me one of those tokens for the supermarket trolley to hang on my keyring. It’s dead handy. I don’t know how I survived without it for so long.’
Trolley tokens ARE dead handy. I’d be lost without my Superquinn one. Yes, I still have it. Trolley tokens don’t grow on trees.
‘One of the Aislings in work, I can’t think of her real name, confessed the other day that she’s been hanging all those passive-aggressive signs in the break room begging people to clean the microwave after heating up their soup,’ Updo says. ‘She does them in Comic Sans to pretend she’s not that put out, but it’s obvious she’s slowly losing her mind. She also casually mentioned in the bathroom one day that she’d never dyed her hair. Like, ever. Not even as a teenager.’
There’s a gasp now and I wonder how long Kerry has been a slave to the peroxide bottle. She probably doesn’t even remember her natural colour, God love her. And I’m sure it’s lovely. I feel for that poor girl in Updo’s work – really, I do. The crowd in my office have no respect for the communal kitchen. None at all. It’s driving me to distraction but sure what can I do only keep replacing the sign above the dish- washer and hope that they’ll stop living like animals one of these days?
‘She also told me that she’s just counting the minutes ‘til her fella proposes so she can move back down home.’ Updo is up to ninety now. This poor girl’s ears must be burning over in Galway or wherever she’s from. ‘Apparently her da is giving them a plot of land as a wedding present so that she can build a massive gaff with the utility room of her dreams and a driveway the size of the Aviva.’
‘Isn’t it well for some?’ Kerry says, zipping up her make-up bag, and off they clip-clop back out to the ballroom in their ridiculous heels.
Suddenly I’m alone again. I must admit, that last bit cut a bit close to the bone. Why do I drink wine at weddings? It makes me maudlin. Know the one that’s one too many, Aisling. A few glasses of water when I get back out there. Be grand. Then I’ll move onto the West Coast Coolers to keep myself ticking over. A couple of paracetamol before bed to ward off any hangover. Never fails me. The bathroom is mercifully quiet as I exit the cubicle, feet worse than ever after the bit of a sitdown.
You know, I’d kill for one of those utility rooms with a big worktop and a rail for John’s shirts. To be honest, I’m starting to wonder if he’s ever going to pop the feckin’ question. Daddy has my site ready to go – road frontage, obviously. A good stretch too. When all our friends started getting engaged, I said nothing. When the wedding invites started coming in the post, I said nothing. I know the pregnancy announcements will be kicking off soon and there’s still no sign of a ring for me. It’s been on mymind for a while now but there’s never been a good time to bring it up. Maybe tonight’s the night? I probably shouldn’t do it when I’m half pissed though …
‘Aisling! AISLING! Are you in here? Denise is about to throw the bouquet!’
Ooh this sounds so good, I can’t wait to read more!
About The Author:
Authors Emer McLysaght and Sarah Breen are Aislings. Maybe not complete Aislings but about 42%. The Aisling character was conceived in their sitting room in 2008, when they began to observe the many traits, characteristics and quirks of a very particular type of Irish girl; one they identified around them and one they identified with.
For more information:
Twitter – twitter.com/EmerTheScreamer
Facebook – www.facebook.com/groups/108317527124/
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