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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle

Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1993)

by Roddy Doyle

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,356592,278 (3.67)213
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English (56)  Romanian (1)  Italian (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (59)
Showing 1-5 of 56 (next | show all)
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha achieves the remarkable feat of both depicting a childhood at its most normal and humdrum while also drawing out something much more profound about being a kid and coming of age. While Paddy and his friends are lighting fires, stealing magazines, and torturing his younger brother in the most typical of lowgrade miscreant ways, Doyle does a remarkable job of capturing the casual cruelty of childhood, the bullying, the posturing. At times the book is so good at portraying these things that it's almost hard to read, despite its impressive quality.

Doyle nails the random transitions of his child narrator's mind, the relationships that skirt the emotional depth that an adult can see but a child cannot, and the affliction of younger siblings that sits side by side with love. Most impressive of all, however, is Doyle's depiction of Paddy's confusion when adult situations have outpaced his understanding of them, but only by the slimmest of margins, so that while he knows something is amiss he can't grab ahold of what, if anything, he can do to fix it. Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is one of those books that, for lack of any sort of linear plot, would seem to be about nothing, but in taking a snapshot of a life, it ends up being about a little of everything. ( )
  yourotherleft | Nov 24, 2017 |
This book did not disappoint. Roddy Doyle has managed to inhabit a ten-year old boy's mind so completely that you could almost believe Patrick (Paddy) Clarke wrote this himself.

Paddy is the oldest of 4 Clarke children growing up on the outskirts of Dublin. His best friend is Kevin and he hangs around in a group with Fluke, Liam, Aidan, James and his little brother, Francis (whom he calls Sinbad). They explore the neighbouring fields, light fires, build hideouts, swim in the ocean, run through the pipes being laid along their road and all the other little mischiefs that children get into. At the same time Paddy is bright, inquisitive, thoughtful and worried about the fights his parents keep having. There are no chapters in the book. The days follow one another just as they do in real life. Paddy is the type of boy that would be giggling in a corner with his friend over some naughty word one minute and wanting a hug from his mom the next.

To use one of Paddy Clarke's favourite words, this book is brilliant. No wonder it won the Booker prize in 1993. ( )
  gypsysmom | Aug 25, 2017 |
I gave up on the book at the halfway stage having had my fill of toilet humour and little lad jokes. I couldn't care for Paddy Clarke nor any of his family and friends. ( )
  cappybear | Jul 22, 2017 |
3.5 stars ( )
  Gaiagirlie | Jan 12, 2017 |
“We parked our bikes on verges so they could graze.”

SET in 1968 in the fictional Dublin suburb of Barrytown Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a boy's own account of when he was 10. The tale is told not with the benefit of hindsight but in the present tense.

The novel has no chapter divisions and Paddy Clarke has an infantile style matching his age. The story is told in fragments that appear to have no particular sequence but on closer inspection there is a definite thread as Paddy slowly matures as events in particular at home unfold.

Many of Paddy's sentences are amusing and many of his dealings with his friends seem to involve daily acts of minor violence - dead legs, 'prunings'- as Paddy struggles to sustain his friendships yet he appears blind to adult violence. Yet they also play games which seem to stretch their verbal
curiosity. In one, the boys each have to become a swear-word for the week. Paddy comes out with the word Fuck and becomes a kind of hero with his gang.

Fuck also represents a growth of a sort, but also marks a change in Paddy as he becomes sensitive to the discord within his parents marriage but his immaturity means that he is unable to fathom its cause. When his 'da' eventually leaves home, Paddy can find no reason for it 'why he hated Ma', since 'She was lovely looking, though it was hard to tell for sure'.

There is a also a separation between Paddy from his friends and in particular his former best friend and neighbour Kevin when Paddy becomes drawn to new boy and surly loner Charles Leavey. This culminates in a pretty vicious fight with Kevin which earns Paddy a general boycott: 'I had Kevin's blood on my trousers. I was on my own.' This then leads to the reason for the novels title as his former friends chant 'Paddy Clarke - / Paddy Clarke - / Has no da / Ha ha ha.'

This is the first novel by the author that I've read and overall I enjoyed it, in particular how he never strayed from the child's voice despite the serious events that are unfolding. However, I find it hard to imagine that when this book won the Booker Prize in 1993 that it was really the best book written in English that year or perhaps I've just had an overdose of harsh growing up in Ireland. Worth a read all the same. ( )
  PilgrimJess | Apr 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 56 (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)

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Roddy Doyleprimary authorall editionscalculated
Moppes, Rob vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Rory
First words
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:34 -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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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