This family saga takes place in Ireland andNew York City in the second half of thenineteenth century. It begins in 1849 whena thirteen-year-old boy, through a cruel twistof fate, lands at the tip of the island at CastleGarden. Frightened and alone, James Barrysimply walks off the ship onto the city's congested streets and begins his adventure.For the next fourteen years he works on thedocks and lives in the Bowery until, so disgustedby the draft riots, he signs up on a clipperand spends the next two years on the open seas.He winds up back in Ireland and meets andmarries a girl from his own village. After threechildren and a futile attempt at farming landhe knew he could never own he heads backto post Civil War America. Beyond Forgetting You is a personal accountof how James' family co-existed with theirneighbors in a Westside tenement in lowerManhattan. The story is simultaneously toldthrough his youngest daughter's journals.Bridget optimistically describes her life andher family's plight to become middle-class.She tells the intricacies of inner-city livingand gives a realistic look at social problems andhow the lower class dealt with events, politics,ideas and uptown opulence. Manhattan wasthen much as it is today, a very overcrowded andexciting city where the family constantlystruggled to survive while never losing theirsimple pleasure in being alive.
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July 07, 2005
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