Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

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Overview

It is 1968. Patrick Clarke is ten. He loves George Best, Geronimo, and the smell of his hot water bottle. He hates zoos, kissing, and the boys from the Corporation houses. He can't stand his little brother Sinbad. He wants to be a missionary like Father Damien, and he coerces the McCarthy twins and Willy Hancock into playing lepers. He never picks the scabs off his knees before they're ready. Kevin is his best friend. Their names are all over Barrytown, written with sticks in wet cement. They play football, ...
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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

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Overview

It is 1968. Patrick Clarke is ten. He loves George Best, Geronimo, and the smell of his hot water bottle. He hates zoos, kissing, and the boys from the Corporation houses. He can't stand his little brother Sinbad. He wants to be a missionary like Father Damien, and he coerces the McCarthy twins and Willy Hancock into playing lepers. He never picks the scabs off his knees before they're ready. Kevin is his best friend. Their names are all over Barrytown, written with sticks in wet cement. They play football, knickknack, jumping to the bottom of the sea. They shoplift. Robbing Football Monthly means four million years in purgatory. But a good confession before you died and you'd go straight to heaven. Paddy wants to know why no one jumped in for him when Charles Leavy had been going to kill him. He wants to stop his da arguing with his ma. He's confused: he sees everything, but he understands less and less.

Winner of the 1993 Booker Prize

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Winning the 1993 Booker Prize propelled Doyle's fourth novel from its original spring publication to a December issue date. While retaining the candid pictures of family life, the swift, energetic prose, the ear-perfect vernacular dialogue and the slap-dash humor that distinguished The Van , The Snapper and The Commitments , this narrative has more poignance and resonance . Set in the working-class environment of an Irish town in the late 1960s, the story is related by bright, sensitive 10-year-old Paddy Clarke, who, when we first meet him, is merely concerned with being as tough as his peers. Paddy and his best friend Kevin are part of a neighborhood gang that sets fires in vacant buildings, routinely teases and abuses younger kids and plays in forbidden places. In episodic fashion, Doyle conveys the activities, taboos and ceremonies, the daring glee and often distorted sense of the world of boys verging on adolescence. As Paddy becomes aware that his parents' marriage is disintegrating, Doyle's control of his protagonist's voice remains unerring, and the gradual transition of Paddy's thoughts from the hurly-burly of play and pranks to a growing fear and misery about his father's alcoholic and abusive behavior is masterfully realized. While some topical references may bewilder readers unfamiliar with life in Ireland, other background details--the portrayal of small-town society, of the strict teacher who shows sudden empathy for Paddy--have universal interest. Most notable, however, is the emotional fidelity with which Doyle conveys Paddy's anguished reaction to the breakup of his family. Dec.
Library Journal
Paddy Clarke is ten years old. He lives with his ma and da, his younger brother Sinbad ``at home he was Francis'', and two baby sisters in the Dublin working-class neighborhood of Barrytown. Paddy spends his days with his friends Kevin, Aiden, and Liam, roaming local construction sites it's the late 1960s, and suburbia is creeping over the Irish countryside, writing their names in wet cement, conducting Viking funerals for dead rats, and torturing Sinbad ``Big brothers hated their little brothers. They had to. It was the rule.''. At night, Paddy listens vigilantly for the sounds of his parents fighting, whispering the magic word ``Stop'' to end it. Filled with the same earthy humor and pungent Irish dialog that marked Doyle's earlier novels The Commitments , Vintage, 1989; The Snapper and The Van , LJ 7/92, this book is also a vivid and poignant portrait of a little boy trying to make sense of the adult world. As Paddy Clarke himself would say, it is `` brilliant,'' well deserving of the 1993 Booker Prize . The U.S. publication date of this book was changed from April 1994 to December after it won the prize.--Ed.-- Wilda Williams, ``Library Journal''
School Library Journal
YA-A look at the daily exploits and thoughts of a 10-year-old Irish boy. As the story progresses, readers become more and more aware of the anguish that Paddy Clarke is feeling as he becomes conscious of the impending breakup of his parents' marriage. They may find it disconcerting to see the pain he inflicts on others preferably younger or weaker boys for the sheer ``fun'' of it and the dangerous antics of Paddy and his friends. The novel is powerfully written and slowly draws readers into the protagonist's complex personality. However, in spite of the critical acclaim the book has gotten, its lack of a straightforward plot and its violence and petty lawlessness to the exclusion of the character development may limit its appeal to YAs.-Shirley Blaes, R.E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Carolyn See
A beautifully written book; it may be one of the great modern Irish novel.
The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670853458
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 12/1/1993
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 5.97 (w) x 8.74 (h) x 1.32 (d)

Meet the Author

Roddy Doyle
RODDY DOYLE worked for fourteen years as an English and Geography teacher at Greendale Community School, in Kilbarrack, North Dublin. He achieved widespread recognition when his novel The Commitments (1987) was made into a motion picture in 1991. Doyle's novel Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won the Booker Prize, Britain's highest literary award in 1993.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 15 )
Rating Distribution

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(7)

4 Star

(6)

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Sort by: Showing all of 15 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 29, 2014

    Haughtyclan rules

    1: You have been trolled, like yeah, this whole clan was a prank.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 21, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a brilliant little novel. Paddy is a 10

    Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a brilliant little novel. Paddy is a 10 year old boy growing up in a Dublin suburb in the late 60s. I didn't grow up in Dublin in the late 60s; I grew up in California in the early 90s. Does that mean I can't properly understand Paddy? Not in the least, because this is not a novel about time and place; this is a novel about living through childhood, and I can still recall what that was like. Roddy Doyle captures childhood perfectly here. This book is written in Paddy's ten year old voice, and we are treated to all the leaps in subject and logic the ten year old mind is prone to. Impressively Doyle manages to write in this voice without the narrative ever becoming "cutesy" or sentimental; Paddy acts and thinks as a real child, not an adult's image of a child. Much of the story centers around Paddy's interactions with his group of friends, and all the fickleness, cruelty, and petty politics involved in friendship at that age. Alliances shift, attitudes change, and newcomers upset the balance. We're also witness to Paddy's home life, where his feelings toward his younger brother are confused, and his parents' marriage is falling apart. Paddy doesn't understand why these things are happening, only that they are happening and he doesn't like them. In the end this novel is hilarious, touching, and beautiful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2013

    ♼ hej ♼

    Norwegian is in the house!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    Boy succumbs to his culture

    Paddy Clarke is just trying to grow up, not make too much trouble at school, have fun, keep it all together and survive. Told in the first person, the narrative gets into the head of the ten-year old and I frequently found myself laughing out loud. But the story is also sad because in the end the bad joke's on Paddy Clarke, ha ha ha. Booker award winner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Irish boy forced to grow up

    Written entirely from the perspective of an 11-year-old, Paddy Clark gets into his fair share of boyhood scrapes. A reminder of how kids used to roam around free getting into adventures and developing a sense of how friendships work. Paddy is forced to mature when his parents have marital problems, which Paddy thinks he can fix, but cannot.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2005

    brilliant

    Doyle's ability to tap into his youth (not saying this is a memoir) is amazing. An adult was able to narrate through a 10-year-old's voice--incredible writing. Probably the only book I've ever written w/o chapters but this was an easy read, I loved the changes in stories. There is an understated resolution at the end even though this doesn't contain the traditional plot-line. Not your standard novel, but that's not a reason to avoid reading it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2003

    Poignant tale well told

    Great work by Roddy Doyle, sensitive, capturing the spirit through the narrative. He has managed to almost walk the reader through the boy's mind, one cant but help 'experience' the journey...superb!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    its good

    this is an honeslty heartfelt, painfully truthful, tear jerkingly insight into an innocnet boys life as a ten year old.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 2, 2002

    this is good

    an honestly heartfelt, painfully truthful, tear jerking insight into an innocent young boys life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 23, 2001

    in the tradition of Bell Jar and the Butcher Boy

    This is a funny, heartbreaking book about the sad, poignant end of a 10-year-old Irish boy's innocence. The protagonist and his voice are so lovable and entertaining that it's hard to put the book down.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2000

    I did not enjoy this book!

    This is about a young boy going through bad experinces. I did not enjoy reading this book.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 1999

    A sad story about a Boy who is forced to grow up.

    Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a novel that was about a ten year old boy who frequently witnesses his parents fighting and they eventually break up. The novel epitomizes the thoughts of a ten year old in that they are so sporadic and not focused that they lose you quite easily. Failing to keep the reader's interest, this novel is difficult to read and does not address the point directly. I would not recommend this novel if you are looking for something quick or easy to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 25, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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