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Skippy Dies (2010)

by Paul Murray(Favorite Author)
3.71 of 5 Votes: 5
0241141826 (ISBN13: 9780241141823)
Hamish Hamilton
review 1: Very enjoyable, funny, but also quite profound albeit in a slightly obvious way... but probably at least 10% longer than it needed to be. Reminiscent, to me, of The Rotters Club (in tone) and Tom Brown's Schooldays (all the sickening bullying) this novel is set in and around the claustrophobic world of a school for Ireland's privileged class. It's an effective mirror of the society it fits within and, as the author makes explicit for those of us who might not have worked it out for ourselves, the purpose of the school is not to educate - and at least one teacher finds this out belatedly and to his cost - but simply to prepare the son for the same role - or a very similar one - to that his father occupies. Well worth the ten grand a year.... And on the other side of a very ... morehigh wall there's a school for girls that is the mirror image.This is not a world in which the sons of plumbers belong, for example, so a pupil (a prominent character but I'll not post spoilers) makes up an elaborate if not always consistent cover story to conceal this fact. Talking of spoilers the title, and the first chapter (in which Skippy dies) create an unusual sense of discomfort. I came to like Skippy, I didn't want him to die, but this is kind of the point.... The first two thirds of the novel, which lead up to the events that culminate in Skippy's death, are really very poignant at times, though humorous too. The latter part of the book, exploring the immediate aftermath, is still very funny at times but definitely darker in tone. I was glad that the novel ended with some rays of hope for some of the other characters I'd grown to know well, but sad that some people who deserved a come-uppance don't get it. Very definitely worth a read but the mystical passages are quite poor and it's that bit too long. 4.5 stars/5
review 2: It's interesting how the coming-of-age tale is basically the same for all of us, yet unique for each one of us, and the same goes for this book as well. Balancing between the hormone-laden chaos of teenage angst and the cynicism and resignation that accompanies adult trials and tribulations, the one constant here is characters; strong, interesting, funny, tragic. It's a tribute to the power of the story that the big, fat spoiler in the title takes nothing away from it, but hits hard all the same. less
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need a follow up, should not waste these characters.
More like 4.5 stars.
What a BLAST.
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