Review: Giving Out Yards – The Art of Complaint, Irish Style

Challenge criteria: A satirical book, a book set in your home state.


In Giving Out Yards, Tara Flynn puts paid to the long-debated question of what makes us Irish, nailing it in one collective and hilarious grumble-fest. Her razor-sharp wit and keen analysis of those topics that bring us out in a rash – and running to the phone/laptop/neighbour for a healthy dose of spleen-venting – leaves no moan unturned.

Strictly non-solutions-based (if we found those, what on earth would we give out about?), here you’ll find plenty of advice on how best to milk your grievances, with handy lists and tips, and a cast of characters including Tom the Taxi Driver, Mairéad Who Loves the Sound of Her Own Voice and Ciarán the Keyboard Warrior.
If you can’t beat them – ‘That shower in the Dáil’, ‘the other shower’, the Angelus bongs, cyclists, potholes, the three Ds (drips, drink and drugs), criminals of all collar-hue, to name but a few – then you might as well knock the craic out of them. So look no further: the whine-line is open …

Image via Goodreads

What I liked:

This book has Irish culture down to a T. It was like sitting in the middle of an “old man” pub on a Saturday night and listening to Christy in the corner lamenting the price of the pint in his hand.

The book is written in a very conversational style, and it really drew me in to the book. I had to keep reading. I HAD TO. It felt like a chat with a close friend, moaning about all the gripes in your life. I laughed out loud in the middle of Costa many times.

What I didn’t like:

It’s a VERY Irish book. If you’re not Irish, or have any clue about Irish culture, you won’t enjoy this book as much as a native. There’s quite a lot of references to Irish culture, like LiveLine, the Late Late Show and the Angelus making the six o clock news start a minute past the hour. It’s what makes Ireland Ireland, but it won’t make this as accessible to everyone.

Out of 5:

It has to be a three. I really liked it, but I had to keep in mind that it’s a very niche book, and not going to be for everyone.


5 thoughts on “Review: Giving Out Yards – The Art of Complaint, Irish Style

  1. I’ve yet to read this book & now I want too! I’m a big fan of books that are controversial and grab its audience. I actually have Irish in my family. My first & last name is also Irish. I’ve yet to dig deep into my past so I just really announce my (African heritage more). Maybe since the author has a wittiness writing style, it’ll push me to learn more about my own heritage. I think this is a book I have to read now.

    Great review Aoife!

  2. Pingback: Blogs I Read- January 2016 – An Historian About Town

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