25 June 2010
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, by Roddy Doyle
This book is in some ways very similar to another one of Doyle's, The Woman Who Walked into Doors (which I really liked). It's the same stream-of-consciousness, episodic narrative style, where you're seemingly getting everything with the immediacy of the character's perspective. The problem is, unlike the other book, where the narrator is a middle aged woman with a lot to say, the narrator here is a ten year old boy. Who doesn't have a whole lot going on in his life outside the usual 10 year old stuff, except for what appears to be the dissolution of his parents' marriage. So where The Woman has a compelling narrative arc, and a kind of progression, Paddy Clarke just sort of ambles along. The real merit of the book is the voice, which is indeed rendered quite well. But ultimately... I just don't find 10 year old boys all that compelling.