Books

Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

Things You Get for Free

by Michael McGirr

Things You Get For Free isn’t just an amusing travelogue; it’s also full of the sorts of stories we all can tell about our pasts. It’s so easy to forget how precious our family histories are. If you’ve forgotten, read McGirr’s book; it’s an excellent reminder.” –Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 304
  • Publication Date April 22, 2003
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-4000-5
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $13.00

About The Book

Although Maureen McGirr planned to go to Europe with her late husband for their honeymoon, she spent forty years finding excuse after excuse to put off the trip. Finally her son Michael, a Jesuit priest, uses his vacation to take her on the honeymoon she never got around to having. Things You Get for Free is a priest’s hilarious and heartwarming account of six weeks spent discovering a continent–and so much more–in the company of his mum, an eccentric and strong-willed woman whose motto is, “I know more than you think I do.” Touring Europe’s hot spots in addition to those places off the beaten path, Michael finds his fellow travelers as fascinating as the places he visits, offering an hilarious account of family, faith, and the extraordinary people who have shaped us–and in ways that never cease to surprise, shape us still.

Praise

Things You Get For Free isn’t just an amusing travelogue; it’s also full of the sorts of stories we all can tell about our pasts. It’s so easy to forget how precious our family histories are. If you’ve forgotten, read McGirr’s book; it’s an excellent reminder.” –Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald

“[McGirr has] written an inspired [book] about family, religion love and life” It is only natural that talk turns to religious issues, both funny and profound” It is also a book about being tourists, an activity that brings out much of the author’s humor.” –Roger K. Miller, Boston Herald

“A wry observer of human behavior–his own and that of his often eccentric companions’ McGirr’s prose is spare and occasionally touches the sublime. This wise, funny book is a celebration of traveling light.” –Eric Wargo, Book Magazine

“[A] witty, engaging travelogue and family memoir” McGirr offers some of the sharpest observations of European foibles since Mark Twain swept through the continent. But his book is more than just a travel comedy” Readers will come for the humour but they’ll stay for McGirr’s haunting memories of his path into the priesthood, his mother’s sacrifices and his father’s death. Brimming with lyrical insight and earthy humor, this debut is a rare treat.” –Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“No travel writing I have read elsewhere has such depth of insight into depression, organized religion and the empires of Other People and What It All Meant.” –Les Murray, Times Literary Supplement (London)

“A Jesuit priest and his mother leave Australia for a European holiday. Warm, witty, wise, and wonderful are these musings on faith, family, friends, and assorted strangers. A charming tale of trials and travels.” –Margaret Poppe, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL, Book Sense quote

“An illuminating voyage of self-discovery. . . Populated with an eccentric cast of fellow wayfarers, this heartfelt, often hilarious travelogue offers a rare and intimate glimpse into the intricacies of a mother-son relationship” –Margaret Flanagan

“In this story of a Jesuit son’s trip overseas with his mother, Michael McGirr lets tales of suitcases, mothers and sons, fellow bus travelers from New Jersey, an aunt in the House of Lords and great people of the church and the arts tumble onto the page in delightful profusion. But Michael’s steady reconnection with his feeling self gives us males a much-needed license to become more open to our own inner lives. His book might provoke us to stand back and take the time to discover just who our mothers really are.” –Tim Costello

“It would be impossible not to enjoy the company of Michael McGirr.” –The Age (Australia)

“An account of a journey that nurtures a relationship of mutual affection and respect between a mother and son. Maureen McGirr is a delightful travel companion.” –Catholic Life

“Lucid, immediate and even popular in its appeal ” I smiled and chuckled and guffawed throughout” McGirr is good, very good, at the neatly laid out sentence, putting it down without ostentation but just so… [McGirr] is every bit as attractive as his mother, very witty, very Sydney, very kind (except to men with moustaches), and authentically spiritual.” –Gerard Windsor, Australian Book Review

“A delightful blend of travelogue and memoir.” –The Weekend Australia

Awards

A Book Sense 76 Selection