Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won the Booker Prize in 1993. It is the first Roddy Doyle book I have read, so I didn’t really know what to expect.
It follows Paddy Clarke, as he grows up in 1960’s Dublin, witnessing the break down of his parent’s marriage
He has a real talent for being able to describe the thoughts and feelings of a ten year old boy:
I prefer magnifying glasses to matches. We spent afternoons burning little piles of cut grass. I loved watching the grass change colour. I loved it when the flame began to race through the grass. You had more control with a magnifying glass. It was easier but it took more skill.
I found some scenes touching, and I managed to read the whole book fairly quickly, but the plot meandered about a bit too much for me, so I didn’t get drawn into it fully. His childhood had very little in common with mine, so this may be another reason I was not as enthralled with this book as others seem to be. I was only born in 1978, so have no nostalgia for the 60s, and I was never a little boy, who had fights and played jokes on my teachers!
It was OK, but I think I’d only recommend it to older people, who would be able to fully appreciate the nostalgia this book has to offer.
Originally reviewed here.