Thursday, 27 June 2019

Doyle, Roddy "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha"

Doyle, Roddy "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" - 1993

This book was highly praised and it sounded interesting and all, so when a friend left and gave it to me, I thought, great, I'll read it.

It still took me a couple of years until I finally started it. And now I know why. It just wasn't my story. To me, it wasn't really a big story. A man remembers what he experienced as a little boy. Nothing spectacular, just what little boys are up to. I don't mind that kind of reminiscences but they were neither funny nor in any way interesting.

Funnily enough, someone compared this to "The Catcher in the Rye" and "On the Road", and not in a positive way. I couldn't agree more.

Roddy Doyle won the Booker Prize for "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" in 1993.

From the back cover:

"It is 1968. Patrick Clarke is ten. He loves George Best, Geronimo and the smell of his hot water bottle. He hates zoos, kissing and the boys from the Corporation houses. He can't stand his little brother. He wants to be a missionary like Father Damien. He coerces the McCarthy twins and Willy Hancock into playing lepers. He never picks the scabs off his knees before they're ready. 

Kevin is his best friend. Their names are all over Barrytown, written with sticks in wet cement. They play football, knick-knack, jumping to the bottom of the sea. Shoplifting. Robbing Football Monthly means four million years in purgatory. But a good confession before you died and you'd go straight to heaven. 

He wants to know why no one jumped in for him when Charles Leavy had been going to kill him. He wants to stop his da arguing with his ma. He's confused: he sees everything but he understands less and less. 

'Witty and poignant, earthy and exuberant, Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha charts the triumphs, indignities and bewilderment of Patrick Clarke and his world, a place full of warmth, cruelty, love and slaps across the face."


  1. I have heard so much about this author. Sorry the book did not impress you.

    1. He's a pretty famous writer in Europe but this book did disappoint. Don't know whether I'd read another one by him.
      Bill Cullen' s "It’s a long way from Penny Apples" - 2003 and Frank McCourt's trilogy "Angela's Ashes", "'Tis", and "Teacher Man" were far better books about life in Ireland at the time.