The Personals

by Brian O’Connell

On Sale: 10/03/2019

About the Book

The Personals reveals how classified ads are not just a few commercial lines of text in print or online – they can be a treasure trove of fascinating human stories; stories of love, loss, loneliness, redemption and hope.

Some people do Sudoku, others watch Netflix. Brian O’Connell loves the classified ads.

In an era of spin doctors and press releases, celebrities and social influencers, the classified ads can open a door into the lives of ordinary people with extraordinary stories.

What draws Brian to the classified ads are the intriguing human stories he finds there, the unexpected twists and turns, the personalities, the curious objects and the range of human experience waiting to be discovered.

The Personals is a diverse collection of compelling stories about the people and the lives behind the small ads.

Critical Praise

• ‘In this quirky, insightful adventure, Brian O’Connell finds the humanity behind the typeface.’– Ryan Tubridy

• ‘A fantastic collection’ – <i>The Today Show</i> with Sean O’Rourke, RTE Radio 1

• ‘It’s good to know that the classifieds continue to thrive, because, as O’Connell shows, that is where history with a lower-case h will always be found, one small ad at a time.’ – <i>Irish Times</i>

• ‘Charming and often moving … <i>The Personals</i> is full of great stories – from sad to quirky to funny to, the odd time, baffling – as Brian tracks down the back-story to such unusual items-for-sale as a pair of monkeys, Leaving Cert notes, a cross-dressing dress-up service, German Army helmets from World War I and a bulletproof car, among more mundane objects. In other words, life in all its madness and glory.’ – <i>RTE Guide</i>

• ‘A charming and moving look at the world of personal ads.’ – Martin Doyle, <i>Irish Times</i>

• ‘A great read, full of moving, often funny, stories.’ – <i>Irish Examiner</i>

• ‘Warm, wry and insightful’ <i>Sunday Times</i> Ireland edition

• ‘Entertaining and poignant reading’– <i>Echo</i>

• ‘An utterly lovely gift idea.’ – <i>Woman’s Way</i>


Product Details

  • ISBN: 9780008321352
  • ISBN 10: 0008321353
  • Imprint: HarperCollins
  • On Sale: 10/03/2019
  • Pages: 288
  • List Price:14.99 CAD
  • BISAC2 : ANTIQUES & COLLECTIBLES / Magazines & Newspapers
  • BISAC3 : CRAFTS & HOBBIES / Upcycling & Repurposing
  • BISAC4 : HUMOR / Form / Essays
  • BISAC5 : BIOGRAPHY & AUTOBIOGRAPHY / Entertainment & Performing Arts

The Personals by Brian O’Connell

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the web site's home page.

Other Booksellers

The broadest selection of online bookstores. The links will take you to the Web site's home page.


Specialty Booksellers

Interest-specific online venues and gift accounts that offer books for purchase. The links will take you to the store’s home page.

International Customers

If you are located outside Canada, the best way to order online is to choose from the following bookstores listed by region and country.