Publishing the history & culture
of Southeastern New England  •  Since 1981


Blue Collars

A novel by
Catherine McLaughlin

$16.00 (softcover) ~ ISBN 978-0932027-25-2 (Publication Date May 2018)

$24.00 (hardcover) ~ ISBN 978-0932027-25-2 (Publication Date May 2018)

240 pages • 6.125” x 9.25”

Spinner's First Novel

    A compelling story about growing up during the late 1950s and 1960s in a New Bedford working-class family, Blue Collars details the triumphs and tragedies of the close-knit Kilroy family. Told through the eyes of young Fiona “Finn” Kilroy, her story unfolds in the city’s South End, a neighborhood where Portuguese, Irish, French, and Cape Verdean immigrant families lived side-by-side in mostly three-decker tenement houses typical of many New England cities. Finn’s father worked long hours as a loomfixer at the Berkshire Hathaway textile mill along the city’s waterfront and her mother struggled to keep the children healthy, well fed and well dressed.

    Surrounded by the love of a caring, extended family, Finn’s life seems from the outside to be carefree and idyllic. But a terrible secret haunts her childhood. This is the story of a young girl’s endurance in the face of betrayal and her brave efforts to overcome the shocks that rock her world. Finn's efforts to present a normal face breaks the reader's heart. Her story infuriates – even as her determination to stay strong and survive will inspire every reader.

    From Finn’s tumultuous childhood to her coming of age, we deeply experience her family’s life of love, abuse, and heartache amidst a backdrop of historical events such as textile strikes and economic and political upheaval that shaped America and this industrial city.

About The Author

    Author and artist, Catherine McLaughlin grew up in New Bedford, Massachusetts. She received her undergraduate degree from Southeastern Massachusetts University, now University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, and her graduate degrees from the University College Dublin and Bowling Green State University. As a graduate student at Bowling Green, Catherine was assigned to be the assistant of writer-in-residence James Baldwin, author of The Fire Next Time. Baldwin mentored McLaughlin and they developed a friendship that lasted the last ten years of his life. Catherine taught English and writing for 40 years at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and Framingham State University. In 2015 she published a book of her poetry, Under a Circus Moon. Now retired, McLaughlin is professor emerita of Framingham State University, she lives in Dartmouth, Massachusetts with her two cats.


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