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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (original 1993; edition 1997)

by Roddy Doyle

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2,972471,927 (3.67)175
Title:Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Authors:Roddy Doyle
Info:Minerva (1997), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction
Tags:Ireland, 200-300, BOS 2010

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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle (1993)


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Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
An enjoyable read about suburban Dublin in the late 60s. The main character is a 10 year old Paddy Clarke; we see the then Dublin, the working class family and local community through his eyes. Written with a lot of humour and honesty, but also has some more violent moments (boys beating up each other and abusing neighbour's dog), but I guess it's just the reality in a life of a little boy. I absolutely loved the dialogue in this book and the insight into family relations in Ireland. The book had some slower parts, but all in all it was a good read. ( )
  justine28 | Jun 14, 2014 |
I have a sense, indeed I'm certain, that had this been the first Roddy Doyle I'd ever read I would have given it five stars. Was it the shock of the new that prompted me to award five stars to The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, or is it genuinely the better novel? I find it hard to judge. And is it a bad thing that I find Roddy Doyle's writing so good in general that I can't give top marks to a book that I would nonetheless describe as stunningly good, just because it falls a shade short of some of his other writing? And does it really matter? (I somehow doubt Roddy Doyle is watching my LT reviews with baited breath and becoming downhearted at the missing 1/2 a star.)

Through Paddy's wandering child's mind, the reader is drawn into small town/outer suburban late 60s Ireland. It's not a fun place, although fun ("ha ha ha") is to be had from time to time, and Paddy is certainly not a perfect little boy: he's downright horrid a lot of the time, but that's reality for you. I mention his character flaws only because some readers found they did not like this book because of them, but they are, to my mind, an integral part of the no-holds-barred honesty of which Roddy Doyle is a master. He is not a teller of fairy-tales.

Despite this darkness, I feel genuine empathy for this strange, funny and sad little boy, desperate for his Ma and Da, both of whom he loves, not to split up. I wish him well. ( )
1 vote Vivl | Mar 21, 2014 |
At first I did not get this book. It was a disconnected narrative of a 10-year old boy who loves to beat up people. In fairness, the book improves toward the end but still I did not get the point. I don't know how people at the Booker choose their winners. Maybe because it has a different and unique writing style and format. 2 stars and additional 1 star for the effort. ( )
  krizia_lazaro | Mar 11, 2014 |
It used to be said that children should be seen and not heard, and, as I've heard it, most pre-moderns assumed children were, after the age of seven or so, pretty much like adults, so it's good to remind ourselves that, in some ways, childhood was something that literature, and society as a whole, had to create and then discover. In "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" Roddy Doyle places everyday experiences of an ordinary Irish nine-year-old at the center of a novel, and, in doing so, gets an absolutely unforgettable character and a really good novel out of a rather unlikely source. Oh, and the Booker Prize, too, I suppose.

Doyle's always struck me as a very local writer -- he's not afraid to include the specifics of twentieth-century Irish life in his books and leave the reader to figure out the references, slang terms, and brand names -- but his take on childhood also seems wonderfully universal. Paddy's word is an energetic mixture of innocence and knowingness, bedrock certainty and amorphous fear, kindness and cruelty, feelings of helplessness and an urge for control. I'm sure that many readers will find themselves thinking, "I know this kid!" or even "I used to be this kid!" What I most enjoyed about "Paddy Clarke," though, was its willingness to present the adult world through a child's eyes. Paddy himself can observe that important changes are going on around him: his parents are fighting, the farms near his house are disappearing, and he and his brother are growing older. The terms he uses to describe these changes, and the details he notices about them, aren't the ones that the adults around him would notice, and in this way he's both more perceptive and less perceptive than they are. He provides startlingly clear descriptions of father's unhappiness, his mother's love, and his teacher's frustrations without being quite aware of the implications of what he's describing, or that he's describing anything noteworthy at all. "Paddy Clarke" is a wonderfully natural performance, and Doyle, to his credit, presents Paddy's viewpoint without providing an ironic counterpoint or contrasting it with a more authoritative adult account of these events. Paddy stands more or less on his own here, and this childhood-specific sense of loneliness and defenselessness suffuses the entire novel.

This also means that, good as "Paddy Clarke" is, it's often sad, slow going; I found it an emotionally difficult read. I like to keep a good deal of distance from the characters between myself and the characters in the novels I read, and I seldom finish a novel with a specific like or dislike for a character. But I've met few literary characters that I've wanted help more than I wanted to help Paddy: the combination of his vulnerability and honesty is often hard to bear. This, of course, shouldn't be taken as a criticism, since it only goes to show what a marvelous job Doyle did with this novel. Recommended, but be warned: childhood may hurt even more than you remember. ( )
  TheAmpersand | Dec 17, 2013 |
This was a surprisingly good read for me. Doyle main character, and narrator of his story, is young 10-year old Patrick Clarke of Barrytown, North Dublin. Patrick lives with his Ma, his Da, his younger brother Francis (aka "Sinbad") and his two much younger sisters Catherine and Deirdre in a clean but otherwise nondescript home on an ordinary street.

In young Patrick, Doyle has captured the quintessential young boy living in a 1960's working class community. Like all young kids, he wants to be appreciated by his peers, lord it over his younger brother - when he isn't feeling protective of him - and struggles desperately to understand what is going in his family, in particular the raised voices he can hear between his parents late at night. Patrick grows up faster than any 10-year old should have to, and not by choice.

Parts of the story are touchingly amusing. I loved how Patrick was listening to the news on the TV with his Da about Vietnam and marveling at the Americans being at war with 'gorillas' and how interesting that the 'gorillas' had their own country and everything..... not a surprising thought process since most 10-year olds of the time period would know about the ape family but weren't really up to speed on the concept of 'guerrillas' in the warfare sense. Good "A-ha" light-bulb moment when Da grasp the confusion in Patrick's understanding of the news. Many of the stories and events told here resonate with authenticity and give voice to some of the toughness and struggles children and families in these communities experienced during the 1960's. My other half grew up in a predominately blue collar community in North Glasgow, Scotland and some of Patrick's experiences are stories I already know and understand from him.

The writing style and plot development take a little getting used to, although part of that could be my struggles to get inside the mind of a 10-year old and the language of Patrick and his friends, his "gang". It is a strong coming-of-age story that hit a chord with me of the antics of childhood and reminded me once again about the bullying that went on in the pre Social Media world of my own youth.

Favorite quote: "But I didn't. When I asked myself why I hated him, the only reason was that he was my little brother and that was all; I didn't really hate him at all. Big brothers hated their little brothers. They had to. It was the rule. But they could like them as well. I liked Sinbad. I liked his size and his shape, the way his hair at the back went the wrong way; I like the way we all called him Sinbad and at home he was Francis. Sinbad was a secret."

Overall, this one is well worth reading for its well written insights into family, community and peers from a young boy's point of view. ( )
  lkernagh | Jun 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
This must be one of the truest and funniest presentations of juvenile experience in any recent literature.
The novel's boldest feature is its infantile style of narrative.
Roddy Doyle's book has already dead-legged the assumption that grown-ups are more interesting. To borrow the formula: 'It was sad and brilliant; I liked it.'
added by sneuper | editThe Independent, Mick Imlah (Jun 13, 1993)

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0140233903, Paperback)

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 boys; 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 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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:56:07 -0400)

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In this national bestseller and winner of the Booker Prize, Roddy Doyle, author of the "BarrytownTrilogy," takes us to a new level of emotional richness with the story of ten-year-old Padraic Clarke.Witty and poignant--and adored by critics and readers alike--Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha charts thetrumphs, indignities, and bewilderment of Paddy as he tries to make sense of his changing world. Annotation. In this national bestseller and winner of the Booker Prize, Roddy Doyle, author of the "Barrytown Trilogy", takes us to a new level of emotional richness with the story of ten-year-old Padraic Clarke. Witty and poignant--and adored by critics and readers alike--Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha charts the trumphs, indignities, and bewilderment of Paddy as he tries to make sense of his changing world.… (more)

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