Himself, Jess Kidd

There are leaves on vines all over the cover. A bee sits above the title in the center, towards the top.

About the Book

Abandoned on the steps of an orphanage as an infant, Dublin charmer Mahony assumed all his life that his mother had simply given him up. But when he receives a tip one night at the bar suggesting that foul play may have led to the disappearance of his mother, he decides to return to the rural Irish village where he was born to learn what really happened twenty-six years earlier.

From the moment he sets foot in Mulderrig, Mahony’s presence turns the village upside down. His uncannily familiar face and outsider’s ways cause a stir among the locals, who receive him with a mixture of curiosity (the men), excitement (the women), and suspicion (the pious). It seems that his mother, Orla Sweeney, had left quite an impression on this little town—dearly beloved to some, a scourge and a menace to others. But who would have had reason to get rid of her for good?

Determined to find answers, Mahony solicits the help of brash pot-stirrer and retired actress Mrs. Cauley, and the two concoct an ingenious plan to get the town talking, aided and abetted by a cast of eccentric characters, some from beyond the grave. What begins as a personal mission gradually becomes a quiet revolution: a young man and his town uniting against corruption of power, against those who seek to freeze their small worlds in time, to quash the sinister tides of progress and modernity come hell or high water. But what those people seem to forget is that Mahony has the dead on his side….

Centering on a small town rife with secrets and propelled by a twisting-and-turning plot, Himself is a gem of a book, a darkly comic mystery, and a beautiful tribute to the magic of language, legacy, and storytelling.

Book Links


My Thoughts

I’m ashamed to admit that this book took almost 3 months to finish. I would set it down for a few weeks, pick it up, read a few chapters, rinse and repeat.

The Night Ship was my first Kidd read, and then Things in Jars, and I adored them both. Himself is an interesting story, but for me, it dragged. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I just didn’t wholly love it.

This is a story that leisurely unfolds. It’s funny, quirky, and encapsulates the typical small town to a T. I liked Mahoney, who, in addition to seeing dead people, marches to the beat of his own drum. He’s exactly what the small town needed, even though most of them didn’t want him there. My favorite character, which I’m sure many agree with, is Mrs. Cauley. She knows there’s more to life than meets the eye, and she’s the perfect person to ingratiate Mahoney to the town.

I enjoyed the varying magical elements, that some characters worked with the unbelievable, and the humor infused throughout the book. Overall, this is an enjoyable read, and I’m looking forward to starting Mr. Flood’s Last Resort, which arrived in the mail a few days ago.

Read this review on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub.


6 thoughts on “Himself, Jess Kidd

  1. The premise of this books sounds super interesting! I’m wondering if her writing style is slow, in general. While I haven’t read anything by Jess Kidd yet, my mom recently read The Night Ship (i think she is still reading it, actually) and it is taking her a while because she’s struggling with all of the characters. I definitely prefer a lighter read, but the premise of this book sounds very intriguing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. This one is the lightest of the 3 I’ve read. I think she does leisurely tell stories. The Night Ship does take some time to get into, it’s haunting but beautiful.

      Liked by 1 person

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