Sometimes when nothing happened it was really getting ready to happen Irish Paddy rampages through Barrytown streets with like minded hooligans, playing cowboys, etching names in wet concrete, setting fires The gang are not bad boys, just restless When his parents argue, Paddy stays up all night to keep them safe Change always comes, not always for the better Doyle, one of my favorite authors, nails the stream of consciousness of a young boy, Paddy Clarke of the title While not exactly spelled out, I think Paddy, our narrator, is about 8 when the book starts and 10 when it finishes He and his mate Kevin are the defacto leaders of a band of boys who rove a developing subdivision in late 1960 s Ireland, wreaking havoc on themselves and anyone who might be in their way I kept picturing the antics of my two younger brothers in our developing subdivisi Doyle, one of my favorite authors, nails the stream of consciousness of a young boy, Paddy Clarke of the title While not exactly spelled out, I think Paddy, our narrator, is about 8 when the book starts and 10 when it finishes He and his mate Kevin are the defacto leaders of a band of boys who rove a developing subdivision in late 1960 s Ireland, wreaking havoc on themselves and anyone who might be in their way I kept picturing the antics of my two younger brothers in our developing subdivision in Central Illinois My guy told me of the antics of his pals in a developing subdivision west of Ft Worth and we laughed until we cried Young boy antics are universal and, believe me, Paddy and his friends were inventive I laughed out loud many times, especially at the workings of Paddy s mind, where while going about his school, play and home life, he simultaneously imagined himself as Geronimo, their bikes as horses, himself as George Best the Manchester United super star, etc I also got teary at times because, this being Roddy Doyle, we see life in all its complexity Paddy s ma and da aren t getting along and we see the burden this represents for Paddy and the responsibility he takes on for making things ok for them This book has a beginning and an end, lots in between to keep us engaged, but not much of a plot in the traditional sense In Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, we get to spend a bit of time in Paddy s world and for me that was worth the ride 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 is a HUGE deal But I guess the year this book was published there were a few other, if any, contenders for the top prize.It s certainly not awful It s actually entertaining, read 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 is a HUGE deal But I guess the year this book was published there were a few other, if any, contenders for the top prize.It s certainly not awful It s actually entertaining, readable, sometimes funny There is true mastery of the language here, an even flow The tone istolerable than say, Emma Donoghue s Room which is also about a child growing up But, although I am not at all a fan of the almighty Huck Finn , I must say that this one does not possess that wackiness there is some unconscious logic to Twain s tale, at the very least This is a chapterless novel a pretty ordinary account of a pretty ordinary boy What is the main motor that keeps the prose congruent, that makes the entire novel work The fact that Patrick s parents fight That s all They keep it private, they try to keep the kids out of it, yet this still registers within Paddy he s human alright, just not a remarkable one.Indeed Bookers are bestowed upon like the Pulitzers here in the U.S to novels that exemplify the experience of being European American for a Pulitzer This hits several targets to become a well loved book, but it still remains a coming of age story of an Irish imp a precocious, slightly evil ten year old boy Who do we side with in this account of playground cruelty cute impressions With the bully The victim In this case, I would say neither.Apathy is the worst type of feeling a book can give its reader 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 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 U.N.C.L.E., for instance, andgenerally 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 Marquis de Sade as technical advisor.One 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 a.k.a 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 upresponsible 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 it Paddy 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 saySl 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 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 taken place in just about anyplace where a small town 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 taken place in just about anyplace where a small town village suburb begins to feel the changes that comes with progress, as newer houses are being built in what were once fields that offered a buffer from the encroaching world, the changes that accompany said progress But the real heart of this story is about childhood, how it shapes our lives, our views of others and of the world It sets the ground upon which we will see the future, our future, and it becomes the source of reminiscences, eventually, both those ones good and sometimes bad Most often in this story, the boyhood encounters involve the kind of mischievous childhood expeditions you d expect, but Doyle tells them with such a wonderful mixture of fondness, and vividly brings to life this story through the eyes of childhood wonder But childhood isn t always filled with magic, dreams don t always come true, and life isn t always fair Parents sometimes fight, and children aren t shielded from the worries of life Somehow, Doyle brings all these sides of childhood to life, the pain, the joy, the dreams of childhood years looking to those years of adulthood where we believe we can choose our own destiny with the limitations of childhood removed, and leave behind the memories that haunt us I wanted to read this after reading my friend Julie s review for this As she says about this bookthere isn t one out there that captures a childhood, or the perspective from a 10 year old child, better than this oneThank you, Julie Julie s review