'Poignant, funny and highly readable. Would make a wonderful present.' Sue Leonard, Examiner
'A real snapshot in time ... a celebration of female friendship ... fantastic - such a good read' Irish Times Women's Podcast
'Engaging ... tender and true and spiced with wit and no little wisdom' RTE Guide
'Heart-warming ... nostalgic ... the letters brim over with the kind of humour and honest reflection that only best friends exchange' Irish Independent
'I highly recommend this unusual and fantastic book. It's a great trip down memory lane.' Librarian Lavender
'Isn't it great, Cathy, being where we are (age-wise I mean)? I really enjoy being 18 cos you have a degree of independence and yet you can act the gom if you want cos we're not "all growed up" yet.'
'I don't know if I agree about it being great being 18. I'm kinda apprehensive, waiting for "it all" to come. I think 22-23'd be better. Then you'd be sophisticated and knowledgeable ...'
It's the era of Dynasty, Murphy's Micro Quiz-M and MT-USA on the telly, Kajagoogoo, Culture Club and Chris de Burgh in the charts. And also a time of mass emigration and creeping social change.
In 1983 in Carrick-on-Suir two 18-year-olds take tentative steps into the future: Cathy to become an au pair, Mary to study accountancy. For a year they exchange long gossipy letters.
The letters are touching, funny, tender and gutsy. They show the girls' growing pains as they make sense of their new lives, dream about finding love, and start to realise that the world is a more complex and challenging place than they had ever imagined.
Most of all, Cathy and Mary's letters are filled with the eternal optimism and sense of wonderment of youth.
Catherine Conlon and Mary Phelan are still the best of friends. After leaving at 18, apart from visits to family and friends, Catherine never again lived in Ireland. She now lives in Oregon. Despite her reservations about accountancy, Mary is now Head of Finance at the Irish Stock Exchange and lives in Dublin. Catherine and Mary both turn 50 in 2015 and are thrilled that their lifelong friendship is being commemorated in a book.