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Good Eggs

Good Eggs By Rebecca Hardiman Summary

“Bracing, hilarious, warm” (Judy Blundell, New York Times bestselling author), Good Eggs is an irresistibly charming study in self-determination; the notion that it’s never too late to start living; and the unique redemption that family, despite its maddening flaws, can offer.

When Kevin Gogarty’s eighty-three-year-old mother is caught shoplifting yet again, he has no choice but to hire a caretaker to keep an eye on her. Kevin, recently unemployed, is already at his wits’ end tending to a full house while his wife travels to exotic locales for work, leaving him solo with his sulky, misbehaved teenaged daughter. Into the Gogarty, fray steps Sylvia, the upbeat home aide, who appears at first to be their saving grace—until she catapults the Gogarty clan into their greatest crisis yet.

About the Author

Rebecca Hardiman is a former magazine editor who lives in New Jersey with her husband and three children. GOOD EGGS is her first novel.

Good Eggs By Rebecca Hardiman Introduction

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

Three-quarters of the way to the newsagent’s, a trek she will come to deeply regret, Millie Gogarty realizes she’s been barreling along in second gear, oblivious to the guttural grinding from the bowels of her Renault. She shifts. Her mind, it’s true, is altogether on other things: the bits and bobs for tea with Kevin, a new paperback, perhaps, for the Big Trip, her defunct telly.

During a rerun of The Golden Girls last night, the ladies had been mistaken for mature prostitutes when the screen went blank (silly, the Americans, overdone, but never dull). After bashing the TV—a few sturdy blows optimistically delivered to both sides in the hopes of a second coming—she’d retreated to her dead Peter’s old sick room where she’s taken to sleeping ever since a befuddling lamp explosion had permanently spooked her from the second floor.

Here, Millie had fumbled among ancient woolen blankets for her battery-operated radio and eventually settled down, the trusty Philips wedged snugly between a naked pillow and her good ear, humanity streaming forth. Her unease slowly dispelled, not unlike the effect of a five-o’clock sherry when the wind of the sea howls round her house postapocalyptically. Even the grimmer broadcasts—recession, corruption, lashing rain—can have an oddly cheering effect: somewhere, things are happening to some people.

Now a BMW jolts into her peripheral vision, swerves sharply away—has she meandered?—and the driver honks brutally at Millie, who gives a merry wave in return. When she stops at a traffic light, the two cars now parallel, Millie winds down her window and indicates for her fellow driver to do likewise. His sleek sheet of glass descends presidentially.

Sorry!” she calls out. “I’ve had a frozen shoulder ever since the accident!” Though her injury and her dodgy driving bear no connection, Millie feels some explanation is due. She flaps her right elbow, chicken wing style, into the chilled air. “It still gets quite sore.” Millie offers the man, his face a confused fog, a trio of friendly, muffled toots of the horn and motors on past.

Before heading to the shop, Millie had phoned her son—technically, Kevin is her stepson, though she shuns all things technical and, more to the point, he’s been her boy and she his mum since his age was still measured in mere months. Millie began by relaying the tale of the unholy television debacle.

Blanche had checked the girls into a hookers’ hotel without realizing,” Millie explains, “and the police—”

“I’m just bringing the kids to school, Mum.”

“Would you ever come down and take a look? I can’t bear to have no telly.”

“Did you check the batteries?”

“It doesn’t run on batteries. It’s a television.”

“The remote batteries.”

“Aha,” says Millie. “Well now how would I…”

“Let me ring you in two ticks.”

“Or you can take a look when you come for supper?”

“Sorry?”

“Remember? It’ll be your last chance, you know. I leave Saturday.”

“Fully aware.”

“I may never come back.”

“Now you’re just teasing me.”

“And bring one of the children. Bring all of the children! I’ve got lamb chops and roasties.”

She had, in fact, neither. A quick inspection of the cabinet, during which she held the phone aloft, blanking briefly that her son was on the line, yielded neither olive oil nor spuds. A glimpse of the fridge—the usual sour blast and blinding pop of light—revealed exactly one half pint of milk, gone off, three or four limp sprigs of broccoli, and a single cracked egg.

Or maybe I’m the cracked egg,” she muttered as she brought the receiver to her ear.

That,” her son said, “has never been in question.

Once inside Donnelly’s, Millie tips her faux-fur, leopard-print fedora to one and all. Millie Gogarty knows many souls in Dún Laoghaire and villages beyond—Dalkey, Killiney—and it’s her self-imposed mission to stop and have a chat with anyone whenever, wherever possible—along the windy East Pier, in the shopping center car park, standing in the bank queue (she would have no qualms about taking her coffee, used to be complimentary after all, in the Bank of Ireland’s waiting area), or indeed right in this very shop.

She sidles up to Michael Donnelly Jr., the owner’s teenage, pockmarked son who slouches behind the counter weekdays after school.

Did you know in three days’ time Jessica Walsh and myself will be in New York for the Christmas? My great-great-great-grandnephew”—she has slipped in an extra great or two, as is her wont—“used to live in Ohio, but we’re not going there. Sure, there’s nothing there! I visited him once… oh I don’t know when, it’s not important.” She crosses her arms, settles in.

Christmas morning and not a soul in the street. Kevin and I—he’d just gone eighteen—we took a walk, mountains of snow everywhere, and there we were standing in the middle of the street calling out,Hello? America? Is anyone there?’ ”

That so, Mrs. Gogarty?” Michael says with a not entirely dismissive smile. He turns to the next customer, Brendan Doyle, whom Millie knows, of course, though Brendan appears to be deeply engrossed in his scuffed loafers.

She beams at them both, trailing away toward the tiny stationery section, a shelf or two of dusty greeting cards whose existence would only be registered by her generation. The young no longer put pen to paper. They text message. Her own grandchildren are forever clicking away at their mobiles with a frenzied quality Millie envies; she can’t remember the last time communication of any kind felt so urgent.

She selects a card embossed with a foil floral bouquet—“It’s Your Special Day Daughter!”—and reads the cloying message within. Once in hand, the itch to swipe the thing, the very last thing under the sun that Millie Gogarty, daughterless, needs, gains powerful momentum, until she knows that she must, and will, take it.

She checks the till. Michael is ringing up Brendan’s bars of chocolate. The last time he’d crossed her path was in the chemist’s—he’d been buying a tube of bum cream, the thought of which now makes her giddy. Her pits dampen as she prods open the cracked folds of her handbag, pushes its chaotic contents—obsolete punt coins, balls of hardened tissue, irrelevant scribbles—to the depths so that it gapes open, a mouth begging to be fed.

Her stomach whoops and soars. Her heart, whose sole purpose for days upon days has been the usual, boring biological one, now thumps savagely. With a wild, jerky motion she will later attribute to her downfall, she plunges the card into her bag.

Millie breathes. Feigning utter casualness, she plucks another card, this one featuring a plump infant and an elephant. She smothers a laugh. Perhaps Kevin’s right: perhaps I’ve finally gone mad! She steals another glance at Michael, who meets her gaze, nodding imperceptibly, and so she chuckles, as if the words inside particularly strike her fancy.

Millie has sensed a calling to the stage all her life and she holds out a secret hope that she might still be discovered. Indeed for a moment, Millie Gogarty marvels at her own audacity, pulse pounding yet looking for all of Dún Laoghaire as calm as you like. Her mind turns to supper—one of the grandchildren could turn up—and so she boldly heads toward a display box of Tayto crisps and nicks a packet of cheese and onion and a Hula Hoops.

Flooded with good cheer and relief, she fairly leaps back into her car, the spoils of the morning safely tucked beside her. She’s situating her left foot on the clutch, right foot poised to gun the engine and soar off back to her home, Margate, when she hears a timid knock on her window.

It’s Junior from the shop, not a smile on him. A panicky shot of darkness seizes her. Millie reluctantly draws down her window.

“I hate to do this, Mrs. Gogarty, but I have to ask you to come back in.”

“Did I leave something behind?”

He glances at her bag. “You have a few things in there I think you haven’t paid for.

There follows a pause, long and telling.

Sorry?” she says, shifting into reverse.

I’m talking about that.” He jabs a fat, filthy finger at her handbag. The boy—barely sixteen, she reckons, the twins’ age, probably in the first year of his Leaving Certificate—yo-yos his eyes from the steering wheel to the bag, back to the wheel.

My dad said I was to phone the guards if it happened again.

Phone the guards!

Millie assembles her most authentic aw-shucks grin, hoping to emit the picture of a hapless, harmless granny. But her body betrays her: her face boils; pricks of perspiration collect at her hairline. This is the sorry tale of all the oldies, the body incongruent with the still sharp mind—tumors sprouting, bones snapping with a mere slip on ice, a heart just giving up one day, like her Peter’s. Millie’s own heart now knocks so violently, for the second time today, that she has the image of it exploding from her chest and flapping, birdlike, away.

Junior’s still staring at her. She puts the back of her hand up to her brow like a fainting lady from an earlier century; she can’t bear to be seen. Then a single, horrid thought filters through: if the police become involved, Kevin will find out.

Kevin cannot find out.

He’s already sniffing around, probably trying to build a case, with a stagey, lethal gentleness that terrifies her, to stick his poor mum into some godforsaken home for withered old vegetables. Millie Gogarty has no plans to move in with a bunch of wrinklies drooling in a corner. Her dear friend Gretel Sheehy was abandoned in Williams House, not five kilometers down the road. Gretel, needless to say, didn’t make it out.

Now a second, equally ghastly thought: what if her grandchildren, the Fitzgeralds a few doors down, or all of south Dublin, gets wind of her thievery? The potential for shame is so sweeping that Millie rejects the idea outright, stuffs it back into her mental lockbox where, wisely or not, she’s crammed plenty of other unpleasantries over the years.

Wildly, she considers feigning an ailment, a stroke perhaps? It, or something like it, has worked in the past, but she can’t, in her muddled thinking, remember when she last trotted out such a deception and vaguely suspects that it was here in Dún Laoghaire.

I’m really sorry,” Michael says. He’s actually not, despite the acne, a bad-looking lad. “The thing is, I’ve already phoned the police.

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Good Eggs

Good Eggs PDF

Product details:

EditionInternational Edition
ISBN1982164301, 978-1982164300
Posted onMarch 15, 2022
Formatpdf
Page Count352 pages
AuthorRebecca Hardiman

Good Eggs By Rebecca Hardiman PDF Free Download - HUB PDF

“Bracing, hilarious, warm” (Judy Blundell, New York Times bestselling author), Good Eggs is an irresistibly charming study in self-determination; the notion that it’s never too late to start living; and the unique redemption that family, despite its maddening flaws, can offer.

URL: https://amzn.to/3IvkWrY

Author: Rebecca Hardiman

Editor's Rating:
4.1
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