A Book Review – The Road To McCarthy by Pete McCarthy

If you didn’t know this already, Hopscotch the Globe has an official book club! Each month, avid reader and fellow traveller Trish McNeill will be announcing a travel inspired novel chosen by you to read and review. We will be posting updates on Twitter and Facebook for you to follow along and discuss the novel as we all read through it together. Also, if you have a book you’d like to be the HTG book of the month, let us know by reaching out on social media or comment below. We look forward to having you part of the book club! Last month, we read and reviewed What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, this month we read The Road To McCarthy.


Where do you belong?

Personally, I’ve felt a strong connection to central Europe lately. It’s not because I was born there, grew up there, or can trace my ancestry back to that area. It’s simply because I’ve visited the area recently and felt happier than I can ever remember feeling.


Pete McCarthy feels at home in Ireland and for good reason. Unlike my reasons for loving central Europe (it’s beautiful and the beer is cheap), his mother was born in Ireland and he has many childhood memories of long ferry rides, Irish relatives, and rolling countrysides.

This book invites the reader along on their own individual search of who am I and where do I belong?

Pete McCarthy was born to an Irish mother and English father. Growing up in England for most of his life, he never quite felt that he fit in and felt a tight bond to Ireland; as if that’s where he belonged.

Being from Canada, I’ve heard many claims to Irish and Scottish ancestry. During my first trip to Ireland, I was warned never to walk into a pub and announce that I was Irish. I’m sure they get that a lot and I can only imagine how tiring it is when Canadian and American tourists stream in one after another announcing that they belong. I cringed a little every time McCarthy took this route but knowing his background, it makes more sense coming from him.

The road to McCarthy is one man’s journey around the world as he seeks for sense and meaning behind tales of his family history. One of the things I love and admire (and am envious of) about McCarthy is his readiness and willingness to take off to a new land at little notice.

McCarthy could be told a myth by some Irishmen in a pub or read something in an old newspaper that made him wonder and he’d just… go.

I read McCarthy’s other book first, McCarthy’s Bar and instantly fell in love with his tongue and cheek humor, easy wit, and hilariously bitter self conversations.

When it comes simply saying whether or not I enjoyed this book, I struggle to make the answer that simple.

I found it hard at times to keep up with what he was talking about as he tends to go off on tangents and kind of lose the reader. To be honest, I like this about him. I think it adds to his personality and charm but may not be the best approach to take when writing a book.


To recap and simplify my mixed emotions about The Road To McCarthy, it was a book that made me wish I could have been friends with him or called him “Uncle Pete” while he was alive or at least invited him over to some family dinners. I’d settle for sitting behind him on the bus reading over his shoulder or walking behind him for a day and wondering what hilarious banter was going on inside his head.

McCarthy, to me, was a very complex and refreshingly realistic person but he let’s all the uncertainties and undesirable emotions he feels be put back out into the world as humor and there is nothing in a person that I appreciate more than that.

Trish is a freelance travel and lifestyle writer from the East Coast of Canada. Travel lover. Humour finder. Story teller.


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