Coming late Spring 2018
a novel by Catherine McLaughlin
McLaughlin’s work never fails to leave the reader enthralled. Blue Collars is no exception. In this book, we journey the streets, backyards, and factories of New Bedford in the late 1950s throughout the fevered ‘60s as seen by McLaughlin’s young heroine, Finn. We watch hopefully as Finn overcomes one dilemma after another—problems too heavy for her slender shoulders to bear, and we, the rapt reader, look for solutions alongside her. We are her cheerleaders, her shoulder to lean on. McLaughlin’s collection of poetry, Under a Circus Moon, left me breathless; Blue Collars resurrected the same emotion.
—Patricia Gomes, poet laureate for New Bedford, MA
A must-read for anyone who grew up in New Bedford in the mid-20th century, an absorbing read for anyone who didn’t get the chance. With dialogue that rings true, McLaughlin at once delivers a sweeping family drama, a bildungsroman of a young Finn Kilroy, and a story with New Bedford itself as a main character. From Clarks Cove to Hazelwood Park, we smell the salt water, the malassadas, the Portuguese “pops.” We see the millworkers, the ice cream trucks, neighborhood ball games. McLaughlin speaks SouthCoasters’ language.
—Lauren Daley, BookLovers’ columnist for The Standard-Times of New Bedford
McLaughlin captures not just the marrowed scintilla of significance in Finn as she grows up on these dear streets of New Bedford, but with practiced hand she culls and reimagines the exotic amid the New England quotidian life. We feel an eerie familiarity with these sometimes not-familiar-at-all stories—thus is the compelling power of McLaughlin’s prose. You’ve never read New Bedford like this.
—Corey Nuffer, freelance writer