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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle
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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (original 1993; edition 1997)

by Roddy Doyle

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3,002481,901 (3.68)179
Member:Booksloth
Title:Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Authors:Roddy Doyle
Info:Minerva (1997), Edition: New Ed, Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library, Fiction
Rating:
Tags:Ireland, 200-300, BOS 2010

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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle (1993)

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» See also 179 mentions

English (46)  Romanian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
One of my very favorite books of all time...I wish I could give it more than 5 stars!!! Spectacular. ( )
  annwieland | Sep 26, 2014 |
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 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (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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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roddy Doyleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Moppes, Rob vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Rory
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We were coming down our road. Kevin stopped at a gate and bashed it with a stick. It was Missis Quigley's gate; she was always looking out the window but she never did anything.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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