"Across the Barricades" by Joan Lingard

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The title of the book I have been reading last two weeks is Across the Barricades. The well known author is Joan Lingard. The book is published by Hamish Hamilton, England, and published for the first time in 1973. The book is on 174 pages, parted in 20 chapters. The book has a price on 87 Norwegian kroner.


The Roman
The story takes place in Northern Ireland. It’s about Kevin, a Catholic boy, and Sadie, a protestant girl. It is 3 years since they met each other last time. They become very close friends very fast. Their parents doesn’t like that they are seeing each other, because of their different belief.


They keep meeting each other very often. After a while some "friends" of Kevin finds out that he is meeting a protestant girl. They get angry at Kevin because of this. One day when Kevin’s walking home from a meeting with Sadie, three guys attack him. He is badly injured. He is supposed to have a meeting with Sadie the day after he was injured. He can barely walk, but he goes to meet her anyway. Brede went to see Sadie and try to tell her that she not should meet Kevin again. But after a while she decides to go meet him anyway.  


They meet Mr. Blake. He is a nice old man who offers them to come over to him so they can meet each other in secret. They were happy for that, and so they do. When Mr. Blake finds out that Sadie has lost her job, he offers her a job. And she starts working for him.


It is hard to have a boyfriend or a girlfriend who have another belief. Sadie and Kevin get to experience that. Kevin is beaten up several times, and they both loose their jobs because of their love to a person with another belief.


Sadie and Kevin are the main characters in this novel. Here are the most important characters:


Sadie Jackson is a 16 years old protestant girl, who lives with her brother, Tommy, and their parents in a protestant neighbourhood of Belfast. She is a hard working girl, who knows what she wants. She fells in love with a catholic boy named Kevin.


Mr. Jim and Mrs. Aggie Jackson are Sadie’s parents. They just want their children to be good people. They dislikes that Sadie is seeing a Catholic boy. They are Protestants and lives in a protestant part of Belfast.


Tommy Jackson is Sadie’s brother. He likes Kevin and Brede, and supports and trust Sadie with her decisions. He have a girlfriend who don’t supports Sadie, and I think she don’t like her.



Kevin McCoy lives with his huge family, he have 8 brothers and sisters. He is a catholic boy who loves the protestant girl Sadie. Mr. Pete and Mrs. Mary McCoy are Kevin’s parents. They have 9 children together, so they have to work a lot. They have their house in a Catholic part of the town. Brede McCoy is Kevin’s sister. She is very nice, and likes Sadie, but she thinks it is dangerous for them to see each other.


Mr Twinkle Blake was Sadie’s old geography teacher. He is a nice old man who offers them to come over to him so they can meet each other in secret. He gets into a lot of trouble by helping them.


Moira Henderson is Mr. Blake’s neighbour. She is Catholic, but has a Protestant husband, and she helps Kevin and Sadie when they need it. Sadie baby sits Moira’s three children when Moira needs help.


Here are some of the minor characters:

Linda Mullet: Sadie’s old school friend, and Tommy’s girl friend. She hates Catholics and makes it hard for Sadie. Mrs. Jessica and Mr. Bill Mullet are Linda’s parents. They are friends with the Jackson family. Mr. Mullet is in the Orange Lodge together with Mr. Jackson. Steve: Tommy’s friend from schooldays. He is keen on Sadie, but she doesn’t like him. Mrs McConkey: An old woman who owns a shop in Sadie’s neighbourhood. Her shop is bombed, and she dies. Kate Kelly: She is Brede’s friend. She likes Kevin, and they live in the same street as the McCoys. Uncle Albert: Kevin and Brede’s uncle. He is a bit weird, and has a crazy car. Brian Rafferty: An old friend of Kevin. Brian beats up Kevin because of his friendship with Sadie. He is the one who almost makes Kevin go to jail. Mr. and Mrs. Rafferty: Brian’s parents, and neighbours of the McCoys.

The Setting
The story takes place in Belfast in Northern Ireland. The city seems to have been parted in two separate areas, where one of those areas is for Catholics and the other for Protestants. Kevin and Sadie, the two main characters, live in each of the areas. There has been revolt and fighting in both areas.


Northern Ireland has for long been the scene of struggle between the Catholic minority and the Protestant minority. We can also observe the Protestants and the Catholics blaming their problems on each other.


I would guess that this story is set in the 1970’s. I think that because the book is first published in 1973 and maybe the author has written the story to be at that time. The story could really be set anywhere in time and place, because of the true love, threatened to be ruined by the situation that the two main characters can’t change, the book is about.


The Plot
The main theme is a very well known one. True love judged to fail. This theme is used in films, novels and on other ways all over the world. In this novel the love is judged to fail between a girl and a boy with different belief.


The title "Across the Barricades" can be interpreted on several ways. The barricades between a girl and a boy with different is one. Another way, is the barricades between Catholics and Protestants in peoples minds. The story tells us about what happens when two people, Sadie and Kevin, cross these barricades.


I will say that the moral of the story is that true love will survive everything!  
My Opinion
I enjoyed this novel at some points. I think I enjoyed the book because it was a mixture of love, war and the wish for peace. The author has wrote in some historical facts, without making the novel boring.


I think that true love survives everything is a theme that I like to read, because it feels right that the good things survives in the end. The novel had a few difficult words, but I managed to understand the meaning of them when I read the whole sentence.


This book was very a okay book to reed. I would recommend it to people who are in love, especially girls.


I like Uncle Albert. He was funny and stupid, but a great man because he didn’t mind about Kevin was together with Sadie. I think the characters come alive to me and I could think how it was to be one of them.

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