Note: originally this was a one star review because I found the problems in this work very severe and I explain those in detail below. Upon further reflection, I realized this work is more readable than my only other recent one-star review so I added another star.
The problems in this very short story is mind-boggling, from the historical inaccuracies to the character confusion to the lack of anything going on in general.
Where to begin? How about Sean McCarthy, Mr. Walking Contradiction. Sean is a carefree boy full of life and happiness. But he's also been fending for himself since he was six. Wow! Still carefree even though he's been struggling to survive since he was six? It's almost like he's not a real person! Oh, wait...
But that's not where the contradictions end with him. He also expresses disgust at Ireland's rich history of mythology and legends, saying that's what's been holding Ireland back. This aligns with his wish to go to America just fine. But Sean has a superstitious streak as well because he kissed Rose because it's good luck to kiss a girl under a shooting star. He also gets swept up in the magic and beauty of life a lot. So much for being grounded in reality to get ahead. Sean's in the book for maybe four pages and his character already has a lot of problems.
But he's not the only one. Rose's best friend Mary also has contradictions in her character and is essential to the most problematic scene in the story. Mary is headstrong to the point of being reckless, and while that's consistent in the entire story, her views on Progress is not. One page she's ranting about how Progress is bad if it costs people their lives. On the next she's praising all the new and amazing things America has to offer and saying she'll never go back to Ireland.
The only characters who are consistent in this story is Rose and her mother. And I'd bet my entire tea supply on the only reason why her mother has a consistent character is because she only appeared for a paragraph.
Then there is the problematic scene! It's like a weird aberration in time! Mary, fresh off the boat from Ireland, now in a place and time where the Irish are heavily discriminated against, yells at a police officer for being mean to a man. But does she get arrested? No. In fact, the officer listens to her and is afraid of her. What strange fantastical alternate reality is this?
(review of free book)