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The Snapper Paperback – August 1, 1992

44 customer reviews
Book 2 of 3 in the Barrytown Trilogy Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This sketchy novel by Doyle ( The Van forthcoming from Viking; starred PW review, May 25), the second in his trilogy about a working-class Irish family, is almost all dialogue, which would be a clever device if the dialogue were not written in transliterated Irish accent ("yeh" for "you," "Jaysis" for "Jesus"). Fortunately, some endearing characters and a number of hysterically funny lines make this an enjoyable read. The narrative focuses on the Rabbitte family's eldest daughter, who has become pregnant after being raped by a friend's father, although she never recognizes the incident as rape. Sharon is determined to bear the child, referred to in Irish slang as a "snapper," and raise it alone. Although her conversations in pubs with her friends and at home with her family illustrate her position in society and often amuse as well, it is clear from the first chapter that her parents accept her choice, so the story lacks conflict. Even her struggle to conceal the identity of the baby's father seems assured to succeed from the start. One of the more touching details is her father's buying a book about women's anatomy and--better late than never--educating himself about pregnancy and female sexuality. In his own clumsy way he growspun intended. sg along with his daughter.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Dublin playwright Doyle's first novel, The Commitments (Vintage, 1989), told the story of Jimmy Rabbitte Jr.'s formation of Ireland's first soul band and went on to become a popular film. These two volumes continue the saga of the Rabbitte family in the mythic working-class Dublin neighborhood of Barrytown. The Snapper concerns the unplanned pregnancy of the eldest daughter, delineating nine months of sparring between Sharon, who refuses to reveal the baby's father, and Jimmy Sr., the clan's vulgar, witty patriarch. Among its many other virtues, it offers a sensitive fictional narrative of pregnancy. The Van picks up a year or so later. Jimmy Sr. is now unemployed, his family is growing up, and gloom has set in. Consolation comes when his best friend Bimbo also becomes "redundant" and the two go in together on a filthy, used fish-and-chips van. Their riotous adventures give a new spin to the notion of male bonding. Brilliantly constructed from the details of everyday life, both novels are made up almost entirely of dialog: sharp, crackling, relentless vernacular speech that never patronizes the characters. This is great comic writing that makes you laugh for pages yet keeps you aware that you could, instead, be crying.
- Brian Kenney, Pace Univ. Lib., Manhattan Campus, New York
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140171673
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140171679
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #776,540 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roddy Doyle is the author of eight novels, a collection of stories, and Rory & Ita, a memoir of his parents. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. He lives and works in Dublin.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bryan Stevens on January 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I recently read "The Snapper" as a part of the Barrytown trilogy, and found Doyle's prose as I always have -- fast paced and incredibly honest. For me, and Im sure other readers, its Doyle's honesty that evokes so much emotion and reflects the depth of the culture he writes about. I couldn't help but feel a part of the family as I witnessed the Rabbitte family's difficulty in accepting Sharon's pregnancy. Doyle's characters aren't shallow - they're so honest you wouldn't be surprised if they walked in your front door and asked you down to the local pub for a pint. If harsh language is a problem for you, perhaps you should stick with more sheltered literature that refuses to tell the truth about real life. Another success for Doyle.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By taking a rest HALL OF FAME on May 11, 2001
Format: Paperback
I had seen the screen versions of Roddy Doyle's, "The Commitments" and "The Snapper", prior to reading his written work. As I have now experienced his work in both mediums, its as funny on the page as it is on the screen. "The Van" is the last in this trilogy and it definitely focuses on the older of the generations. The movies actually enhanced the book as the actors were spectacular and the memories of their performances kept returning to mind.
The book is almost pure dialogue, and the humor will certainly leave you in pain. The issue of colorful language has been mentioned and while there is no denying its prevalence I don't believe there was any increase in this particular book. When his work is read every word is as clear as the reader's vocabulary, when on screen the accents often rendered dialogue difficult to decipher. The cadence of his writing is so well done, that even when spoken the humor works with a word or two missing, the structure implies the emotion.
Mr. Doyle also wrote, "The Woman Who Walked Into Doors", and this was the previous work of his that I had read. As a writer he has remarkable range as the previous work was dark and violent, and the humor too was black as pitch. It was not just sad it was unsettling. His ability to portray the Human Condition whether bleak or bright, or even with humor when it is all that keeps a character going, in simply brilliant.
If you have not read this man's work or seen the movies I would recommend both formats. His material is great regardless of the medium.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 24, 1997
Format: Paperback
After having read both "The Commitments" and "The Snapper", I now feel as a part of the crazy, confused and wonderfully human Rabbitte family. Roddy Doyle has a great way of almost understating when he writes. The tone is warm, human and tragi-comic - these characters are real, they are everyday people with "loves and hates and problems just like mine", thus making the book a loving and heartfelt celebration of your average lower-class Irish family. And another thing: the dialogue is "bleedin brilliant!"
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By MandyB on November 3, 2004
Format: Paperback
After watching the film "The Snapper" over 100 times in my life time I figured it was time to read the book. The film is great ... the book is excellent.

Sharon gets herself "up the pole" at 19. She is too embarrassed to tell anyone who the father is so she tell's everyone, including her own family it is a "Spanish Sailor". However, rumor has it that her "Spanish Sailor" is more than likely the fat, ugly short man from across the street!

The story highlights the local gossip surrounding Sharons pregnancy, how her family & friends try to suss out who she's "having it for" and how Sharon herself deals with it all.

The script is mostly dialogue, it is a refreshing change!

Every page guarentees you to laugh out load. I couldnt put it down. The storyline is excellent, the frequent vulgar language making it more and more realistic. I love the whole "tell it as it is" attitude. This book is hilarius and I would highly recommend it to anyone
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Craobh Rua on May 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958 and saw his first novel, "The Commitments", published in 1987. It was later adapted for the big screen, a version that saw Star Trek's Colm Meaney and a very young Andrea Corr among the cast. "The Snapper" was firs published in 1990 and is the second book in his "Barrytown Trilogy".

Where "The Commitments" followed Jimmy Rabbite's attempts to bring soul "back" to Dublin, he takes a back seat in "The Snapper". (He now hopes to be a famous DJ, rather than a manager or a drummer - an ambition that quickly earns him the nickname "Larry Gogan". You'll probably need to have spent little time in Ireland to catch that one... ). Instead, the starring roles go to his sister, Sharon, and his father, Jimmy Senior. The book opens with Sharon in a horrible situation : twenty years old, still living at home and three months pregnant, she's breaking the 'bad' news to her parents. She's decided not to name the father - though, there's plenty of speculation, suggestion and rumour over the following six months. Some of it is embarrassingly close to the mark, and causes her no end of trouble. While Sharon's pregnancy obviously isn't easy for her, it also puts Jimmy Snr through the mill - shock, concern, embarrassment and anger. He even, briefly, casts himself as her champion in defending her honour.

A very enjoyable and easily book - it's also a good deal better than "The Commitments". While the language is (authentically) 'colourful', it's generally a good-natured book and there's plenty of humour. (However, some of the humour may be lost if you're not familiar with the Irish dialect). Well worth reading.
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