Catherine McLaughlin: Blue Collars
Thursday, September 13
Blue Collars, the debut novel by New Bedford native Catherine McLaughlin and Spinner Publications first book of fiction, presents a compelling story about growing up during the late 1950s and 1960s in a New Bedford working-class family. On Thursday, September 13 at 6:00 pm, author Catherine McLaughlin will read from Blue Collars and discuss the issues of child sexual abuse presented in the novel in the Library’s Marc Jacobs Reading Room.
Told through the eyes of young Fiona “Finn” Kilroy, Blue Collars details the triumphs and tragedies of the close-knit Kilroy family. Surrounded by the love of a caring, extended family, Finn’s life seems from the outside to be carefree and idyllic. But a terrible secret haunts her childhood. This is the story of a young girl’s endurance in the face of betrayal and her brave efforts to overcome the shocks that rock her world.
From Finn’s tumultuous childhood to her coming of age, we deeply experience her family’s life of love, abuse, and heartache amidst a backdrop of historical events such as textile strikes and economic and political upheaval that shaped America and this industrial city. Both a coming-of-age, hardscrabble narrative and a true-to-life drama, Blue Collars bravely exposes the oft-hidden anguish of child sexual abuse and shares a story that will infuriate and inspire.
Catherine McLaughlin grew up in New Bedford and now lives nearby in Padanaram. She received her undergraduate degree from UMass Dartmouth, formerly Southeastern Massachusetts University, and her graduate degrees from the University College Dublin and Bowling Green State University. A published poet and an accomplished artist, McLaughlin has taught English and writing for 40 years and is a professor emerita of Framingham State University.
Spinner Publications is a non-profit publishing house in New Bedford whose mission is to record and prom