Sunday, 1 August 2010

Man Booker Skippy Dies

Number three from the list: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray.

Thoughts so far: Skippy is Everyteen.

More on that when I've had more/less beer and read more of the book. now I have read more, but no more beer was drunk. In fact, I have read it all and still no more beer was drunk.

Very short summary- teenage boys in Catholic boarding school. Teenage boy falls hopelessly in love with girl from Catholic girls' school. Some dark thread running through story. Teenage boy dies.

I really liked this book. If you'd asked me about 2/3 of the way through I would have said that I loved it.....but for me it ran out of steam about 3/4 of the way through and I found myself repeatedly checking the progress bar on the Kindle app...not such a good sign. In my (very humble) opinion as a book critic, what really shone out was the characterisation. Skippy might have been a teenage boy, well, he was, no might have been about it, but I identified with him with every fibre of my once-teenage being. It wasn't Skippy falling in love with a girl he had never met, it was me falling in love with B, or A or....well....not quite the whole alphabet....but the sheer hopelessness of teenage love and angst is still seared on my soul and Skippy brought it all back...those of you who look back on your teenage years through a goldne glow may not recognise Skippy. He may not be Everyteen to you....but he certainly represents Twelfthknitteen to me.

The storyline kept me on my toes during the first half of the book. I kept having 'Aha' moments when I thought I knew just what this 'dark thread' was, only to have my assumptions shoved to the side within a couple of pages. The way the story was structured more-or-less guaranteed that the element of suspense was over while the book still had a fair way to go. In short, if about a quarter of the book had been hacked out of the middle, I would have liked it a lot more. I did wonder if my feeling about the book were influenced by the fact that it felt a bit like A Spot of Bother , and I couldn't forgive it for not being that book. But that wasn't it. It just needed a bit of pruning.....(I feel all audacious now....bit it is my blog, so I can be audacious if I want to... can't I ?)

Scores on the door: 6 out of 10

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