The Story of Chicago May

Crime Fiction, Women s Studies, Irish Studies
The Story of Chicago May Crime Fiction Women s Studies Irish Studies

  • Title: The Story of Chicago May
  • Author: Nuala O'Faolain
  • ISBN: 9781573223201
  • Page: 436
  • Format: Hardcover
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    1 thought on “The Story of Chicago May”

    1. When the author's name is larger than the subject's in the title, beware. As dynamic Chicago May was I would have easily given this book 4 stars if it hadn't been for O'laughlin's constant reminisces about her brother. Wth does he have to do with my thieving, fighting, conniving, hard drinking street walker???? I do not want personal family dynamics in my bios. They do not belong. Plus they completely blow first person perspective, especially in an audiobook. Don't' authors, just don't. If I wer [...]

    2. Here we have the notorious Chicago May, criminal mastermind, prostitute, con artist, pickpocket, et cetera, etc &c. She left Ireland in 1890 for America, taking with her all of her family's assets and entered into a life on the edges of society. She romped around the World's Fair in Chicago. She married and divorced a lieutenant, taking much of his money with her. She ran off with lover Eddie Guerin in a Bonnie & Clyde-style spree, stealing several thousand dollars from an American Expre [...]

    3. A biography yes, but different than any I've read. O'Faolain follows the life of famed fellow-Irish woman and criminal Chicago May. It is well researched and written. The material and interesting life of May make it very readable, but it was the personal interjections of O'Faolain that made it quite interesting. I can't think of another biography where you frequently hear the voice of the biographer with her opinions and personal reflections. She also draws parallels between the struggles of May [...]

    4. I first heard of Irish writer Nuala O'Faolain when I picked up one of her books in the WH Smith at Heathrow as I ran to catch a flight back to the States. Sometimes we are drawn to certain authors in mysterious ways, as if the moments were meant to be. Thereafter, I was led to her two memoirs, breathtaking in their candor about moving through stages of life as a young Irish girl, a writer, and mature woman coming to terms with her past.Knowing this writer's work, I didn't expect "The Story of Ch [...]

    5. This story is interesting and has a lot of potential. I think it was just too much good material that went by the wayside caused by an author who infused her own life story into that of "Chicago May's." I love a good turn-of-the-century underworld story (e.g. "Devil in the White City) but this was somewhat of a disappointment. It was great learning a bit about Chicago May but, her history (or lack thereof) would be best framed by a semi-non-fiction novel, not a non-fiction meets memoir. It remin [...]

    6. I really feel like I should've just read the autobiography of Chicago May, as this book is either quoting it or ruminating on it. Felt like reading a book report.

    7. The Story of Chicago May (Hardcover) by Nuala O'Faolain Feminine sexualization. A biography of a woman in crime. Irish immigrant to America. Prohibition era.

    8. I have been wanting to read this book for a long time, as I am a fan of O'Faolain's writing, and I also find the lives of infamous people fascinating - where did they come from, how did they end up doing whatever it is that made them famous, etc. This book was a nice combination of the two. In addition to that, it was my first choice for the "What's in a Name" reading challenge, serving as a book with a place name in the title.The story begins as May Duignan, 19 years old, is running away from h [...]

    9. A biography in only the most liberal interpretation of the word, Ms. O'Faolain has instead created a documentary of her life as she sees it intersecting Chicago May's. Since May passed away in 1929, this amounts to Ms. O'Faolain documenting her own thoughts about May's experience as she reads about May's life, follows the scant trail of information still in existence about her, and actually travels through the States to some of the same cities May passed through. The author certainly is not shy [...]

    10. 2005Having read other books [memoirs] of O'Faolain's helps you 'get into' this book.What it relates is the PROCESS of O'Faolain trying to write about the life of this Irishwoman who ended up in the U.S. [though she did not actually spend much time in Chicago].Given the paucity of sources about May, born around 1875 deep in the Irish countryside to a quite poor family, O'Faolain talks a lot about how she went about her research, what was going on in her own life, what she found out about the plac [...]

    11. I had stumbled across this book in the bargain section of chapters and it sounded very interesting from the description on the back. I had never heard of Chicago May before and I was intrigued to find out what would make a young girl from Ireland run away from home to become a notorious crook and prostitute in The United States. Granted she traveled abroad for quite a while and was not just causing mischief in the states. May seemed to have a real adventurous side to her and I’m still left won [...]

    12. Non sono molto pratico di biografie, anzi a dirla tutta questa �� la prima che mi ricordi di aver letto, per cui le caratteristiche del genere non mi sono molto familiari.La persona attorno alla quale ruota tutta la storia �� Chicago May, un'esule Irlandese fuggita in America alla fine del 1800 in cerca di riscatto, e poi dedicatasi al crimine e alla prostituzione.La storia in se non �� particolarmente avvincente (pi�� volte mi sono sorpreso a leggere "sorvolando" sulle righe), m [...]

    13. p 182 et je suis enchantée :)qui plus est très belle édition, agréable à lire :)_________________________Beau livre (malgré deux fautes d'orthographe flagrantes), par contre la lecture a été un peu laborieuse, je n'ai pas lu vite et j'ai dû faire un petit effort pour continuer chaque jour la lecture. Je n'ai pas dévoré donc. En fin de volume l'auteur dit qu'elle ne ressent pas d'amour pour Chicago May alors qu'elle pensait qu'elle serait proche d'elle. Elle ressent juste une certaine [...]

    14. Interesting biography of the colorful criminal known as Chicago May. The author does a great job pointing out that the purpose of this biography is to give a voice to women of that period that had no voice.Chicago May was born in Ireland and stole her parents life savings to get to America. She had no desire to get back. She, like so many immigrants of the day, looked to America as a place of transformation. Much of the book is about the immigrant experience and the lengths May would go to achei [...]

    15. I feel this book was a waste of my time. I didn't come away with any sort of clear picture about who Chicago May really was. The author spent too much of the book speculating about May's life and providing the reader with her interpretation of the autobiography written by Chicago May, which begs the question — why did O'Faolain even bother to write this story? Every other sentence begins with, "I imagine" or "Perhaps" or "Maybe" The book makes me feel like there really wasn't anything special [...]

    16. An interesting yet highly speculative account of the life of 'Chicago' May Duignan, a young Irish girl who ran away from home in the late 19th century, away from her rural life. Crossing the Atlantic, she soon became a notorious figure in America. This notoriety was clearlyl deserved - May was a well-known confidence trickster, thief, prostitute and sometime showgirl. She spent a considerable amount of time behind bars as a result of her career choices, but she was a strong, intelliegent and det [...]

    17. My interpretation of the forward of this book is the author didn't see herself as a true fiction writer, or at least lacked the confidence to write historical fiction, so decided to write a book with as much fact as she could find (including adding in contemporary details from other primary research, such as the Pinkerton files) and then add in her own musings about May's attitudes, thoughts and motivations. Or maybe she really doesn't value historical fiction at all. Regardless, the author seem [...]

    18. Chicago May was a infamous crook/prostitute during the first three decades of the 20th century. Nuala O’Faolain discovered her story and became increasingly interested in the life of her fellow Irish countrywoman. O’Faolain takes the story of May from May’s own memoir and adds a bit of history and insight. For the most part, the author’s presence is welcome, she provides us with facts about the places and the culture that May lived in, and she has researched what others who knew May, or [...]

    19. An unusual and personal biography as O'Faoiain draws the story of her brother, the black sheep of her family and his end together in a loose weave with the story of MayI'd never heard of this lady before: and all women are ladies, just different types. she is a cousin of cousins of ours and I stumbled on her story by accident.My verse on her is here: writingsinrhyme/index.Most poignant was the story how her nephew never knowing of her lost his mind on learning everyone knew bar him. such is the [...]

    20. The author admits that only a few accurate and specific details about Chicago May are available (why she did what she did), so it seems that much of the book is conjecture by the author. Additionally, Chicago May's history is clouded by conflicting information (for example, what she says happened vs. what polic reports say happened). I would have preferred to see this turned into a historical fiction novel, rather than to continuously read "I imagine that she" or "it might have been that" or "pe [...]

    21. Overall the book was interesting, spanning many decades and countries. I understand that it was difficult to find records of this individual and the author fills the gaps with her conclusions based on their common home and her knowledge of historical circumstances.One thing I found very distracting were the tangents that O'Faoloin followed. At one point, rather than simply give a brief overview of a new character's background and significance she gives an abbreviated history of the Irish struggl [...]

    22. Fascinating. Nuala did it again. She "talks" to her reader when she wrote. Nuala read about Chicago May when she lived in Ireland and couldn't find enough info about her. May was born in Co. Longford, left her family home with all their savings. She went to Chicago and became a prostitute and a wanted criminal. She was married about four times and imprisoned in France and jailed in the States. She did return home once but her family was ashamed of her. Nuala followed May's footsteps to see what [...]

    23. I agree with another reader's review, Selena Higgins. I had just got through reading Devil in the White City, so this seemed extremely interesting to me. Unfortunately, I was very disappointed. The writer, in my opinion, puts too much of her own life and her critique into the book. I would just start to be really immersed in the story and then be ripped back to the 21st century to hear what the author thought of May. It also seemed to me that the author was very harsh in her judgment of this ver [...]

    24. Nuala O'Faolain knows how to give good memoir, but she seriously did a number with this one. There are a lot of stories about Irish immigrants in the 19th century, but Chicago May has got to be one of the more interesting cases. What makes O'Faolain's take so interesting is that she spends far more time focusing on the themes of May's life than on the events, which are mostly lost to time. She really gets into May's head, insomuch as it is possible to do so, and makes the real person come to lif [...]

    25. Chicago May is a fascinating character, but O'Faolain's blend of memoir and biography doesn't do her subject any favors. She tries to impose too many similarities between herself and May, I think, and she speculates far too much not just about the facts of May's life but about how May "must have felt." She approaches her subject from the perspective that prostitution is necessarily shameful, demeaning, and humiliating, and while I'd personally agree with that, I think it's far from a universal a [...]

    26. In this book, she writes about a woman of a certain distinction who went by the name of Chicago May. She tries to understand something about her by the little information she comes across in her research. If you like reading social history through the exploration of a certain character, I recommend this book. I am a sucker for stories about strong women who do things that go against the grain. May does whatever she can to escape her difficult life in Ireland. She comes to the United States and, [...]

    27. i don't see myself finishing this one. i bought it because i love reading stories of vice in that era, especially in chicago. when i'm reading a biography, i like to learn something along with being entertained. but i can't help but feel that what i'm reading is bullshit when a lot of the sentences start with, "now, i imagine that". also, the author brings way too much of herself into the book. i'm not very interested in your journey from library to library looking for crap about chicago may. i [...]

    28. When am I going to learn? I have made a point in the last few years, to stop reading when I don't care for a book. There are just too many good ones. But I continued to read and waited for this book to get good. It was a waste of time, though. I don't wish to speak ill of the dead (Chicago May or Nuala O'Faolain) the book was like reading a really long emailformation on Chicago May with interjections of Ms.O'Faolain's life experience. It turns out May was just a bad girl who came to a bad end.

    29. I'd give this 3 and a half stars. Chicago May was truly a fascinating person but I was uncomfortable with the style of doing history O'Faolain employs. A substantial portion of the book is based on what the author thinks happened, as opposed to what can be gleaned from the documents pertaining to May's life. She doesn't always explain why she thinks May did this or that, or felt this way or that, and I don't buy this as an valid method for drawing conclusions.

    30. Probably not too many people know about Chicago May--a beautiful young woman from Ireland who comes to America in 1893. She ends up on the wrong path and with the wrong people but being high spirited and strong, she endures much to survive. One moment she is wealthy and the next in prison. This is an excellent biography written by a wonderful writer who knows how to make her subject come to life.

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