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In Roddy Doyle's Booker Prize winning novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha an Irish lad named Paddy rampages through the streets of Barrytown with a pack of like minded hooligans playing cowboys and Indians etching their names in wet concrete and setting fires Roddy Doyle has captured the sensations and speech patterns of preadolescents with consummate skill and managed to do so without resorting to sentimentality Paddy Clarke and his friends are not bad bo. I hate to think that I m susceptible to some merchandiser s power of suggestion but as soon as hearts and Cupids give way to shamrocks and leprechauns typically Feb 15 my thoughts often turn towards the Emerald Isle Of course when the lovely lass I married accompanied me there last year to celebrate a round number anniversary I can be forgiven for thinking about it even right Beyond the history scenery culture silver tongued locals and tasty libations there s the draw of their proud literary tradition Roddy Doyle has done his part to continue this Many here know him from his book The Commitments the first in the Barrytown Trilogy and the basis for a fookin brilliant film Well PCHHH is no slouch either It won a Booker in 1993 Both Doyle and his protagonist are exactly my age It was interesting to me to see the similarities and differences that a ten year old Dublin lad would experience in 1968 I could relate to the joys of transistor radios and The Man from UNCLE for instance and generally to that emerging awareness of a complicated world The horseplay among boys that age was another commonality When or where has that not been the case Even so the extremes to which Paddy and his mates took it would have been ruled out of bounds most places For instance I m pretty sure I never tried to set my brother s lips on fire with lighter fluid or hobble anyone from the wrong side of the tracks The overall feel of it was like Ralphie from A Christmas Story had he been speaking about his miserable Irish childhood a la Angela s Ashes though perhaps slightly drier with the Maruis de Sade as technical advisorOne aspect of the book that was both similar and different was the emphasis on sports While stateside the obsessions involved baseball football the oblong American kind and basketball over there it was just football the round rest of the world kind George Best was the flashy Irish superstar at Manchester United who was Joe Namath Mickey Mantle and Dr J all wrapped into one In their play acting matches there was fierce competition for who got to be him Paddy s little brother Francis aka Sinbad opted out of that role preferring to be one of the less celebrated players I figured it said a lot about the brother relationship that Paddy always worked every advantage to appear the dominant star whereas Sinbad was happy to play an ancillary role creatively feeding the ball to the scorers ending up responsible for the results even if less recognized The fact that Paddy acknowledged Sinbad s sacrifice and cleverness was meaningful since we saw only the antagonism prior to that point George Best also featured in another story when Paddy s da bought him a cherished copy of Best s book autographed by the man himself Or was itPaddy s vignettes did not constitute a plot per se They were closer to stream of consciousness though a post Joycean variety where obfuscation was less of a goal Plus they built towards something of a climax an affecting realization The convergence of Paddy s growing maturity and empathy levels with his mum s tears and his da s sullen demeanor made him view Sinbad and his parents in a new way but begorra I shan t say Sl inte Paddy Sl inte Sinbad Your creator made me care That s something worthy of a toast in a St Patrick s Day tribute isn t it

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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

When nothing happened it was really getting ready to happen Paddy Clarke senses that his world is about to change forever and not necessarily for the better When he realizes that his parents' marriage is falling apart Paddy stays up all night listening half believing that his vigil will ward off further fighting It doesn't work but it is sweet and sad that he believes it might Paddy's logic may be fuzzy but his heart is in the right place Jill Maru. I ve read a lot of books and I can tell you there isn t one out there that captures a childhood or the perspective from a 10 year old child better than this oneNot just any childhood and certainly not any in 2014 in a middle class or affluent neighborhood where the children can now be found indoors and in silence save the hum of their tv or computerThis is a childhood set in Ireland but these are the childhoods that many of us before say 1985 experienced in our own lower and middle class neighborhoods The childhoods where the parents had little involvement the kids were a grubby rude bunch and trouble could be drummed up on a dimeThis was before schools banned teachers and administrators from hitting you on the hands and heads and promoted any such thing as an anti bullying policyAnd even if in many ways you can argue we ve become too soft or our children are over monitored this book is a great argument as to why things changed Needed to changeBut author Roddy Doyle isn t preaching about social change he s just telling a story Ten year old Paddy Clarke s story It s a meaningful read despite many stops and starts and a middle that sagged and if you need uotation marks to distinguish dialogue you won t find any hereDoyle nails it though he nails our meanness The meanness that trickles down from our parents teachers administrators and adult neighbors to our kids who then become mean to their siblings friends and neighborhood dogsMy stomach hurt through many of these stream of consciousness passages of bullying and taunting and I was sure an innocent animal would die at the hands of these brats at some pointDoyle does a brilliant job of maintaining Voice and staying true to Paddy Clarke s world

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Ys; they're just a little bit restless They're always taking sides bullying each other and secretly wishing they didn't have to All they want is for something anything to happen Throughout the novel Paddy teeters on the nervous verge of adolescence In one scene Paddy tries to make his little brother's hot water bottle explode but gives up after stomping on it just one time I jumped on Sinbad's bottle Nothing happened I didn't do it again Sometimes. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha reminded me of another famous Irish novel Patrick McCabe s The Butcher Boy Both are narrated by a young boys who grow up in Ireland during the 1960 s and both make use of vernacular and local folklore The Butcher Boy was shortlisted for the Booker in 1992 and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won it in 1993But don t be dissuaded from reading Paddy Clarke by thinking that it s of the same both books are novels of childhood in the same country at roughly the same time but achieve different results Young Francie of The Butcher Boy was a sad abused derelict who never had a chance to experience childhood and grow up he retracted into his own small bubble where the world resembles comic books and films with John Wayne In comparison Paddy Clarke is an ordinary young lad who grows up in much better conditions he has a group of friends with whom he runs around town and does various pranks has various adventures with various ends Francie is a character largely oblivious to things happening around him and can be genuinely mean and abusive towards others he observes the world around him largely through the lens of his imagination which he uses to justify his actions with sometimes truly bizarre logic Paddy is an observant boy who sees how the world is changing he runs around the neighborhood and performs pranks with a group of fellow boys but also notices how urban development is slowly encroaching the areas they used to play in he picks on kids but does so largely to remain in the pack with which it commits mischief in the neighborhood Still he begins to notice a creeping disruption into his antics filled life as his parents begin to argue Paddy dedicates himself into improving the mood at home and erase the tension between his parents in a series of touching scenes he stays up in the kitchen for a long time pretending to study so that he can be between them and make them laugh he listens to the news and then tries to discuss them with his father in hope with forming a better bond with him He turns to his younger brother Sindbad on whom he used to previously pick up in hope of finding comfort and support Paddy doesn t uickly mature and grow up rather he is uprooted from the prank filled world of childhood He realizes that there might be no way to stop things that he doesn t understand and can only hope that somehow somehow he will be able to cope and go onThis is a book worth reading for those who enjoy novels with child narrators Roddy Doyle captures Paddy s voice very well While the book might not pull all readers into its world with a disjointed fractured story I believe that it would be a mistake to introduce calculated plotting and seuenced events It s much effective to read through the eyes of a young boy who experiences everything vividly The text flows from one scene to the next like a stream as Paddy s thoughts and emotions mix and change like summer weather with warm sun but also cold and biting rain


10 thoughts on “Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

  1. says:

    I hate to be facetious about this but it’s true I love to read good books as much as I love to discover which ones are actual impostors—that is which ones are overrated past the norm books like “On the Road” “Catcher in the Rye” or anything by Ayn Rand Yuck Well this one won the Booker which I can only guess

  2. says:

    I hate to think that I’m susceptible to some merchandiser’s power of suggestion but as soon as hearts and Cupids give way to sh

  3. says:

    I was first introduced to Roddy Doyle’s stories when I went to see the movie based on his book The Commitments and then later on read his book The Guts which follows the characters in The Commitments and then following that several years later read The Star Dogs Beyond the Stars a short book written for younger readers about the Soviet space dogs This story takes place in Barrytown Dublin but the antics of these young boys could have t

  4. says:

    Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha reminded me of another famous Irish novel Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy Both are narrat

  5. says:

    This was much better than I had expected based on other reviews and I think expectation is everything with this novel It's not really a story with a plot and the characters experience little in the way of change or development And it’s not uite a stream of consciousness either It’s kind of a mix of impressions and dialogue; the world seen through the mind of its young protagonist The experience reminded me a bit of

  6. says:

    I am now into my final three Booker winners and this one left me somewhat in two minds I had never read Doyle before and always had a feeling that I wouldn't enjoy it that muchSo let us start with the positives Doyle's ability to inhabit the mindset of a boy who is ten at the end of the book is extraordinary and

  7. says:

    Roddy Doyle is a wonderful comic writer The Commitments and The Snapper are both Recommended but this one is off the scale irritating People who finish it and even actually like it clearly love kids way than I do

  8. says:

    I've read a lot of books and I can tell you there isn't one out there that captures a childhood or the perspective from a 10 year old child better than this oneNot just any childhood and certainly not any in 2014 in a middle class or affluent neighborhood where the children can now be found indoors and in silence save the hum of their tv or computerThis is a childhood set in Ireland but these are the childhoo

  9. says:

    A strikingly powerful portrait of a dysfunctional family and the boy acting as the glue holding it together Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a nostalgic Irish novel with many profound themes hidden beneath childish innocence

  10. says:

    Booker Prize Winner Paddy Clarke HA HA HA by Roddy Doyle was a bit disappointing as I expected so much Doyle is the author of books such as The Commitments The Snapper and The Van In fact The Van is one of the funniest books