Then I heard the most beautiful music, an suddenly I was outa me body an flyin. An I wanted te cry inside meself. I wasn t dead any more, I was lifted away, far away. I can do anythin. I can be somebody, I can be beautiful, I can be gentle, I can be rich, I can smell good. The world is waitin fer me. I can be what I want. Then it ended. An I was back in the room. I opened me eyes slowly an took in everythin aroun me. One day I ll be able te stop this. Nobody will keep me down. I ll work hard, an I ll be at the top, cos I don t want anyone lookin down on me.' Born a bastard to a teenage mother in the slums of 1950s Dublin, Martha has to be a fighter from the very start. As her mother moves from man to man, and more children follow, they live hand-to-mouth in squalid, freezing tenements, clothed in rags and forced to beg for food. But just when it seems things can t get any worse, her mother meets Jackser. Despite her trials, Martha is a child with an irrepressible spirit and a wit beyond her years. She tells the story of her early life without an ounce of self-pity and manages to recreate a lost era in which the shadow of the Catholic Church loomed large and if you didn t work,
Martha Long was born in Dublin in the early 1950s and still lives there today. She calls herself a 'middle-aged matron' and has successfully reared three children.