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Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe

Butcher Boy (original 1992; edition 1993)

by Patrick McCabe

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1,304248,834 (3.78)92
Title:Butcher Boy
Authors:Patrick McCabe
Info:Pan Books Ltd (1993), Paperback, 224 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe (1992)

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» See also 92 mentions

English (23)  German (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
I found The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe a powerful, engrossing and disturbing read. Young Francie Brady never really stood a chance at having a normal life. His father spent all his time in the local, drinking and feeling sorry for himself for how his life had turned out. Francie’s mother, whom he loved very much, had emotional problems and at one point is taken off to the ‘mad-house’. After his parents have a particular nasty fight, Francie runs away. He makes it to Dublin, but misses his mother, his friends and his village and so returns. He buys a present for his mother, hoping that will make her happy. Unfortunately, while he was gone his mother had killed herself. His father tells him it was Francie’s fault that she did this and he responds by withdrawing further into his violent fantasy world.

He takes against one particular family; in particular the mother, Mrs. Nugent and her son, Philip, but it’s obvious that he longs to have his mother back and in such a close, caring and safe relationship. As his obsession grows stronger, Francie’s behavior gets worse and worse until he crosses the line from mischief to madness. A spell in reform school under the care of priests only served to make him worse. When he gets back home, he picks up a job at the local butcher’s, which of course, doesn’t help. The author never uses quotation marks so I found I had to read carefully to figure out who was talking, also Francie was so into his strange visions that the reader had to figure out what was really taking place and what was just happening in his head. Even with these difficulties, this is a book that I am glad that I didn’t miss.

The Butcher Boy was a violent, pitiful, sometimes funny and exhausting read. I felt almost traumatized by being placed in Francie’s mind and experiencing the blurring of his reality taking form. You can’t help but feel compassion for this young man even as he shocks and revolts you. The content of Francie’s mind is horrific, but his inner voice can be quite funny. In the end you are left wondering if things would have been different if this boy had only been nurtured on love and hope instead of indifference and despair. This will definitely be a book that I will remember as much for it’s uniqueness as for it’s unrelenting darkness. ( )
2 vote DeltaQueen50 | Mar 6, 2017 |
I have this feeling that it's not fair to think of Francie as a psychopath. He kills somebody but it doesn't make him a psycho. And about his percieved delusions, i didn't take them as such. This is a stream of consciousness narative and these are the images of his desire and anger and fears he tells us.
So what i'm trying to say here is that he is just one of us. I understand him. I mean come on guys we all have experienced such feelings and thoughts, it's just that we've not been as clever as Francie to have them this clear in our minds or as brave to express as such.
He is no mad this Francie. He's sad and alone and scared. I don't judge him, no, i don't. ( )
1 vote R-Ash | Nov 12, 2016 |
Disturbing as all h***. Hard to finish, but amazing and scary-sad. ( )
1 vote DeborahJ2016 | Oct 26, 2016 |
Oh.my.god. I experienced such a wide range of emotions while reading this: disgust, pity, sadness, horror..and those are just to name a few. McCabe does a great job of getting the reader wrapped up into Francie's miserable existence. Unlike Holden Caulfield, you can find reasons to feel bad for this kid. However, Holden never did horrific things which makes this book so much more complicated. ( )
1 vote PagesandPints | Sep 1, 2016 |
The Butcher Boy Patrick McCabe

Set in a small town in Ireland in the 60's this is the story of a boy from a deprived family. Francie Brady lives with his alcoholic father and his suicidal mother in a run down house on the outskirts of town.

At the beginning of the novel we know that Francie has down something wrong as he is hiding out while everyone in town is looking for him because of what he did to Mrs Nugent.

We then go back to the beginning of the story when Francie is just a "normal" boy.

As the only narrator in the story the reader is constantly inside Francies head, from there we follow him along his descent into mental illness.

This is not a comfortable read because despite the fact that we know what Francie is doing is wrong and abnormal we are inside his head and from that point of view we can predict what he will do next meaning that while it is wrong the progression is not illogical to Francie. ( )
  BookWormM | Jan 15, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 23 (next | show all)
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McCabe, Patrickprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lynch, BrianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For the McCabes, Brian, Eugene, Mary, and Dympna
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When I was a young lad twenty or thirty or forty years ago I lived in a small town where they were all after me on account of what I done on Mrs Nugent.
I was thinking about Mrs. Nugent standing their crying.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385312377, Paperback)

"I was thinking how right ma was -- Mrs. Nugent all smiles when she met us and how are you getting on Mrs and young Francis are you both well? . . .what she was really saying was: Ah hello Mrs Pig how are you and look Philip do you see what's coming now -- The Pig Family!"

This is a precisely crafted, often lyrical, portrait of the descent into madness of a young killer in small-town Ireland. "Imagine Huck Finn crossed with Charlie Starkweather," said The Washington Post. Short-listed for the Bram Stoker Award and England's prestigious Booker Prize.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:18 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Telling the strange and sometimes hilarious tale of a deeply disturbed boy, a portrait of a dangerous mind profiles Francie, known in his repressive Irish town as the "Pig Boy," as his bright and love-starved psyche descends into madness.

(summary from another edition)

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