Frightened Pilgrim

Non-Fiction - Autobiography
212 Pages
Reviewed on 06/30/2024
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Author Biography

I was born in County Armagh N. Ireland July 3rd. 1942. When I was 9 years old I had an accident that damaged my left shin. Doctors wanted to amputate my leg, but my parents refused. After cobalt treatment, the wound remained. Neighbors took up a collection & sent me to Lourdes in France. A few weeks after I returned from Lourdes the wound disappeared. There are 26 chapters in my book & this is one of them. I wrote this story for my grandkids & I never dreamed I would become a Published writer. I came to the USA, served in the US. Army, became a husband & father, helped write a Play 'A Bump on the Leg' & now Frightened Pilgrim. SAG/AFTRA member in Chicago!

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite

In his memoir Frightened Pilgrim, James O. Mallon recounts his life journey from Northern Ireland to America, detailing personal and professional experiences across decades. Born in County Armagh, Mallon grew up in a rural Catholic community marked by financial hardship and familial tragedies, including a serious leg injury and a pilgrimage to Lourdes. Moving to England and later New York, he worked at Bloomingdale's and served in the army during the Vietnam War. Returning to civilian life, Mallon resettled in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Reflecting on the Troubles, Mallon discusses personal and employment issues before ultimately moving to Chicago, where he pursued acting as the economy downturned. Despite marital strains and divorce, Mallon persisted in his acting career, securing roles in commercials and theater productions, firmly on the path to achieving his dreams.

In addition to allowing us to get to know him through his writing, James O. Mallon also does an excellent job of offering insight into the historical events and cultural traditions that shaped him, adding a wonderful layer of contextual depth and authenticity to Frightened Pilgrim. I was especially touched by Mallon's firsthand, detailed discussion of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, its political unrest, and its impact on individuals and communities. When he speaks on the Battle of Bogside, an area near the walled city of Londonderry, where “Catholic homes and Protestant homes had been torched creating thousands of refugees with no place to go,” the very human side of living through these turbulent times are captured in fear, resilience, and loss. Still, it's not all doom and gloom! The upswing as Mallon starts to make headway in the career he always wanted delivers a hopeful, refreshing story of resiliency paying off, and we can all use a bit of that hope right now. Recommended.