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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha Paperback – January 1, 1995
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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 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 Marquis
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Top Customer Reviews
Tragedy lies just the other side of wildest laughter in Doyle's first three novels. Each is characterized by lots of colorful, streetwise dialogue, fearlessly resourceful characters and loads of ironic wit.
This novel, winner of London's prestigious 1993 Booker Prize, is different.
Paddy Clarke is ten in 1968 and the narrative explores what that means in an almost stream-of-consciousness fashion. Paddy and his friends stage a Viking funeral for a dead rat, run the Grand National over the neighbors' hedged gardens, set fires at building sites, rob ladies' magazines (because they were the easiest) from shops, and torment each other, forming fluid alliances and watching for weaknesses. They are funny and frightening and unaware of both.
The early part of the book roams from hair-raising adventure to adventure, incorporating casual cruelties and unheeded dangers with equal aplomb. Family intrudes only as a framework, a background of sustenance and tiresome restraints. Sinbad, Paddy's younger brother, is a tag-along nuisance, tolerated primarily as a victim for experimentation, such as forcing a capsule of lighter fluid between his teeth and lighting it.
Paddy is full of life and contradictions; his mind is never still and, while full of wonder, not introspective. His rich fantasy life is more likely to be cruel than kind. He's as typical as any individual can be.
Then the ever-simmering tensions between his parents intensify.Read more ›
I have no idea how Roddy Doyle managed this incredible book - how he captured the wonder, the pain, the self-importance of being a child - but he did, I'm glad for it.
If you can't remember the wonder, the adventure, the all-engrossing pain of being a child, you should pick up this book.
Those who discern little plot in this book should reflect on their own lives. Can you trace the steps leading to now from when you were 10 years old? It may seem easy now. Doyle superbly expresses the complexity of a boy's life. Elders view it with simple minds. Paddy must balance life with his family with that of his gang, his teachers, learning about himself against conflicting views of others. Kids don't have it as easy as we like to think. Parents devised the ignorant dictum that 'children should be seen but not heard' with the result that boys like Paddy expend immense amounts of energy forging an identity for themselves.
Reviewers here make much of the Irish city setting of this book. Bosh! Urban, rural, Eire, Canada, Germany - all could find in children's lives a compelling topic. The locale is meaningful in the expressions Doyle uses to impart his ideas. There's merit in contending that only an Irish writer could do this tale full justice. Doyle's tale is a cry from the heart, a characteristic many attribute to a Gaelic inheritance. No matter, Paddy's story is truly universal. Every parent should read it carefully. Every bookshelf should contain a copy.
Paddy Clarke is a pretty normal kid, which means, of course, that he is quite different from adults in profound ways. It's certainly a challenge to wade through his misperceptions, and his random eruptions, but it is well worth it.
It is also a very funny story. I rarely laugh out loud while reading, but I laughed a number of times in this slender tome.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Can Doyle sound like a rambunctious ten year old, and write convincingly in that boy's voice? Yes. Can Doyle make that boy's stories any more interesting than the stories you could... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Pop Bop
Meet a couple in Las Vegas n thy recommend this book. ..love it..cracks me upPublished 13 months ago by Amazon Customer
Few books successfully capture the experience of a child, fewer still manage to both capture the perspective of a child with a thorough comment on 'adult' issues. Read morePublished 20 months ago by T. Edmund
After reading this book, I am almost inclined to go back and change my review of David Mitchell's Black Swan Green, which owes a tremendous debt to Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Michael Moisio
I didn't like it as much as the Rabbitt trilogy books. These kids did and were victims of violent incidents.Published 20 months ago by Dennis Croll
Good Book... nothing to scream about. Lynne from SellersvillePublished 22 months ago by Amazon Customer