Last Fall I took a class on the Irish Novel and was able to explore Irish history and culture through literature. What interested me the most was the family dynamics in the stories, especially in the novels by Roddy Doyle. I fell in love with The Woman Who Walked Into Doors and as soon as I was ready I read its sequel, Paula Spencer. Roddy Doyle has easily become one of my favorite writers and as I am about to leave for Ireland in a month, I've begun an Irish literature kick for the summer. The first on the list being Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.
Doyle captures the carefree life of a ten-year old boy, Paddy Clarke, as he grows up in Ireland during the 60's. The stylized voice gets in the mind of the restless child as he runs around Barrytown with his gang playing, stealing, and causing shenanigans. But even while he is having fun teasing his brother with his friends, Paddy Clarke starts to observe the world around him as he finds his childhood slipping away from him.
I think the conversation that Paddy Clarke and the boys have with the Father captures the loss of adolescence perfectly:
Heaven was supposed to be a great place but nobody knew much about it. There were many mansions.
-Do you have to live by yourself?
Father Maloney didn't answer quick enough.
-Can your ma not live with you?
-She can, of course.
I'd really recommend reading this book if you haven't already, I know I'll soon have to read Roddy Doyle's The Commitments Trilogy soon enough.