Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Rating : 3.5/5
Number of Pages : 282
Reason for Reading : Book Awards Reading Challenge and Nick Hornby is a fan

Tells the story of Paddy Clarke (Patrick) growing up in Ireland in the 1960s. Set in the fictional estate Barrytown when Paddy is 10, Doyle looks at childhood and the brutality of it. Paddy is pretty much second in bully Kevin's gang and they get into all kinds of trouble. Probably the worst is pouring lighter fluid down Paddy's younger brother Sinbad's (Francis) mouth and then lighting a match horribly burning his lips. Another time they post a dead guinea pig through the letterbox of a woman in their estate that they don't like.

About halfway through the book it turns from the misadventures of youth to a more serious tone as Paddy's parents marriage begins to reall break down. Paddy begins to take more responsibility in trying ti stop their fighting without their knowledge as well as looking out more for Sinbad who is starting to grow up. He starts to recognise Kevin for the true bully he is and hang out with loner and hard knock Charles Leavy.

The children are written very convincingly, both their language and their often bizarre logic. For instance in fights there are rules and if one hits another you get a free hit in return. It made me miss my childhood a little with all the random games with local kids. It also made me sad as this culture seems to be shrinking as kids these days seem more interested in indoor persuits like watching the television and playing computer games rather than running about and playing outdoors.

4 comments:

Nymeth said...

I will be reading this one soon for the Booker Challenge. You're not the first to say that he captures the voice and the thought process of a child perfectly. I look forward to reading it.

Margo. said...

This sounds like a good book. One I think I'd enjoy. ;)

Andi said...

Sadly, I've never read a Roddy Doyle novel. I was scheduled to read Paddy Clarke ha ha ha in a contemporary English Lit class in graduate school, but I was overloaded and had to drop the class. :(

Glad you enjoyed this one!

Trish said...

I picked this one up last summer at a booksale, but I haven't heard that much about the book or author--well, actually I've heard the style compared a little to James Joyce, who I don't really care for. hmmm....