Skippy Dies: A Novel

( 94 )

Overview

Why does Skippy, a fourteen-year-old boy at Dublin’s venerable Seabrook College, end up dead on the floor of the local doughnut shop?

Could it have something to do with his friend Ruprecht Van Doren, an overweight genius who is determined to open a portal into a parallel universe using ten-dimensional string theory?

Could it involve Carl, the teenage drug dealer and ...

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Skippy Dies: A Novel

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Overview

Why does Skippy, a fourteen-year-old boy at Dublin’s venerable Seabrook College, end up dead on the floor of the local doughnut shop?

Could it have something to do with his friend Ruprecht Van Doren, an overweight genius who is determined to open a portal into a parallel universe using ten-dimensional string theory?

Could it involve Carl, the teenage drug dealer and borderline psychotic who is Skippy’s rival in love?

Or could “the Automator”—the ruthless, smooth-talking headmaster intent on modernizing the school—have something to hide?

Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the subject of this dazzling and uproarious novel, unraveling a mystery that links the boys of Seabrook College to their parents and teachers in ways nobody could have imagined. With a cast of characters that ranges from hip-hop-loving fourteen-year-old Eoin “MC Sexecutioner” Flynn to basketball playing midget Philip Kilfether, packed with questions and answers on everything from Ritalin, to M-theory, to bungee jumping, to the hidden meaning of the poetry of Robert Frost, Skippy Dies is a heartfelt, hilarious portrait of the pain, joy, and occasional beauty of adolescence, and a tragic depiction of a world always happy to sacrifice its weakest members. As the twenty-first century enters its teenage years, this is a breathtaking novel from a young writer who will come to define his generation.

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Editorial Reviews

Dan Kois
Extravagantly entertaining . . . One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Paul Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-twentieth-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography.
The New York Times Book Review
Jeff Giles
Murray's humor and inventiveness never flag . . . Skippy Dies leaves you feeling hopeful and hungry for life.
Entertainment Weekly (grade: A)
Jess Walter
Dazzling . . . It's the Moby-Dick of Irish prep schools . . . In short, it's like childhood. In shorter, like life.
The Washington Post (a pick for Best Fiction of 2010)
Michael Berry
Funny, tragic, thoroughly captivating . . . One of the most enjoyable books of the year.
San Francisco Chronicle
Radhika Jones
Skippy is so desperately, painfully alive that you hope the mere act of reading about him will save him . . . A virtuosic display you'd expect from a writer with the confidence to kill off his title character in the title.
Time
From the Publisher
Praise for Skippy Dies:

 

“Extravagantly entertaining . . . One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Paul Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-20th-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography . . . Six hundred sixty-one pages may seem like a lot to devote to a bunch of flatulence-obsessed kids, but that daunting length is part and parcel of the cause to which Skippy Dies, in the end, is most devoted. Teenagers, though they may not always act like it, are human beings, and their sadness and loneliness (and their triumphs, no matter how temporary) are as momentous as any adult’s And novels about them—if they’re as smart and funny and touching as Skippy Dies—can be just as long as they like.” —Dan Kois, The New York Times Book Review

“Murray’s humor and inventiveness never flag. And despite a serious theme—what happens to boys and men when they realize the world isn’t the sparkly planetarium they had hoped for—Skippy Dies leaves you feeling hopeful and hungry for life. Just not for doughnuts.” —Entertainment Weekly, Grade: A

“Dazzling . . . If killing your protagonist with more than 600 pages to go sounds audacious, it’s nothing compared with the literary feats Murray pulls off in this hilarious, moving and wise book . . . It’s the Moby Dick of Irish prep schools . . . Murray is an expansive writer, bouncing around in time, tense and point of view. He’s unafraid to tempt sentimentality, to write directly at his deep themes, to employ shameless cliffhangers. And he’s talented enough to get away with most of it . . . The mixture of tones is the book’s true triumph, oscillating the banal with the sublime, the silly with the terrifying, the sweet with the tragic. In short, it’s like childhood. In shorter, like life . . . Murray makes the right choices, refusing to spare kid and kidult alike the gorgeous harshness of the world, filled as it is with ‘a sadness everyone can recognize, a sadness that is binding and homelike.”—Jess Walter, Washington Post Book World

“He really does die. It’s in the opening scene. But as Paul Murray’s novel backtracks to explain what brought about his death, Skippy is so desperately, painfully alive that you hope the mere act of reading about him will save him . . . Murray balances . . . forces in finely tuned chords of pathos and comedy, a virtuosic display you’d expect from a writer with the confidence to kill of his title character in the title.” —Radhika Jones, Time magazine

“[Murray] gets away with almost everything, owing to the strength of his remarkable dialogue, which captures the free-associative, sex-obsessed energy of teen-age conversation in all its coarse, riffing brilliance.” —The New Yorker (Briefly Noted)

 

“This epic page-turner sweeps you along with the heedless gusto of youth.” —People magazine

 

“Deeply funny, deeply weird and unlike anything you’ve ever encountered before.” —NPR.org

 

“The novel is a triumph . . . Brimful of wit, narrative energy and a real poetry and vision.” —Adam Lively, The Sunday Times

“A real joy.” —Marie Claire

“One of the most enjoyable, funny and moving reads of this young new year.” —Patrick Ness, The Guardian

“An utterly engrossing read.” —Elle

“Noisy, hilarious, tragic, and endlessly inventive . . . Murray’s writing is just plain brilliant.” —Kate Saunders, The Times

“A blast of a book.” —Kevin Power, The Irish Times

 

Darkly funny and wholly enjoyable . . . Murray will never once lose your attention, writing with wit and charm and making this tragicomedy both hilarious and effortlessly moving.”—Very Short List

“A total knockout.” —The Christian Science Monitor

“A refreshing break from the simple, bloglike prose of more popular novels . . . A most entertaining book from an excellent writer.” —Dallas Morning News

“A great, early fall read . . . Bursting with plot and characters.” —San Antonio Express-News

“When I tell you there’s a scene towards the end of Paul Murray’s Skippy Dies, where I was struggling to maintain my composure while reading on the New York subway, I hope you’ll understand just how powerful this novel is. And the fantastic thing is: Just a few hundred pages earlier, I was fighting off a major case of the giggles on an airplane because there’s another scene in this book that is hysterically funny, that takes its joke and just keeps turning the dial a little bit further until . . . well, until I was about to explode anyway.” —Ron Hogan, Beatrice.com

“A triumph.” —Bookforum online

“This novel is going straight to the top of my best books of 2010 list.” —Baby Got Books

Library Journal
At Dublin's Seabrook College, Skippy survives the daily indignities common to a boarder's life in an elite boys school. Still, something's wrong. Why does he want to quit the swim team? Why are his grades slipping? And who's the dark-haired St. Brigid's girl Skippy is always trying to spy on with his roommate's telescope? Seabrook is the world in miniature, and its gates threaten to burst from the hugger-mugger of cruelty, scandal, and materialism teeming within. It takes Skippy's tragic death and a sequence of events both hilarious and horrifying to recover the consolations provided by sympathy and friendship. Whether these will be enough to redeem Seabrook remains anyone's guess, though Murray suggests that a fleeting sense of grace may be all we can hope for and more than we deserve. VERDICT Murray's second novel (after An Evening of Long Goodbyes) is almost flawless, a gift for fans of character and plot. In addition to his masterly use of James Joyce and Robert Graves throughout, Murray has created a social realism that holds its own with that of Dickens. Skippy Dies deserves to be widely read and loved. [Also available as a three-volume paperback boxed set, ISBN 978-0-86547-948-7, $30; see Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/10.]—J. Greg Matthews, Washington State Univ. Lib., Pullman
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780865478619
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 8/30/2011
  • Pages: 672
  • Sales rank: 244,728
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Murray was born in 1975. He studied English literature at Trinity College in Dublin and creative writing at the University of East Anglia. His first novel, An Evening of Long Goodbyes, was short-listed for the Whitbread Prize in 2003 and was nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award. Skippy Dies, his second novel, was long-listed for the Booker prize and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

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Read an Excerpt

In winter months, from his seat in the middle desk of the middle row, Howard used to look out the window of the History Room and watch the whole school go up in flames. The rugby pitches, the basketball court, the car park and the trees beyond – for one beautiful instant everything would be engulfed; and though the spell was quickly broken – the light deepening and reddening and flattening out, leaving the school and its environs intact – you would know at least that the day was almost over.

Today he stands at the head of the class: the wrong angle and the wrong time of year to view the sunset. He knows, however, that fifteen minutes remain on the clock, and so, pinching his nose, sighing imperceptibly, he tries again. ‘Come on, now. The main protagonists. Just the main ones. Anybody?’

The torpid silence remains undisturbed. The radiators are blazing, though it is not particularly cold outside: the heating system is elderly and erratic, like most things at this end of the school, and over the course of the day the heat builds to a swampy, malarial fug. Howard complains, of course, like the other teachers, but he is secretly not ungrateful; combined with the powerful soporific effects of history itself, it means the disorder levels of his later classes rarely extend beyond a low drone of chatter and the occasional paper aeroplane.

‘Anyone?’ he repeats, looking over the class, deliberately ignoring Ruprecht Van Doren’s upstretched hand, beneath which the rest of Ruprecht strains breathlessly. The rest of the boys blink back at Howard as if to reproach him for disturbing their peace. In Howard’s old seat, Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster stares catatonically into space, for all the world as if he’s been drugged; in the back-row suntrap, Henry Lafayette has made a little nest of his arms in which to lay his head. Even the clock sounds like it’s half asleep.

‘We’ve been talking about this for the last two days. Are you telling me no one can name a single one of the countries involved? Come on, you’re not getting out of here till you’ve shown me that you know this.’

‘Uruguay?’ Bob Shambles incants vaguely, as if summoning the answer from magical vapours.

‘No,’ Howard says, glancing down at the book spread open on his lectern just to make sure. ‘Known at the time as “the war to end all wars”,’ the caption reads, below a picture of a vast, water-logged moonscape from which all signs of life, natural or man-made, have been comprehensively removed.

‘The Jews?’ Ultan O’Dowd says.

‘The Jews are not a country. Mario?’

‘What?’ Mario Bianchi’s head snaps up from whatever he is attending to, probably his phone, under the desk. ‘Oh, it was … it was – ow, stop – sir, Dennis is feeling my leg! Stop feeling me, feeler!’

‘Stop feeling his leg, Dennis.’

‘I wasn’t, sir!’ Dennis Hoey, all wounded innocence.

On the blackboard, ‘MAIN’ – Militarism, Alliances, Industrialization, Nationalism – copied out of the textbook at the start of class, is slowly bleached out by the lowering sun. ‘Yes, Mario?’

‘Uh …’ Mario prevaricates. ‘Well, Italy …’

‘Italy was in charge of the catering,’ Niall Henaghan suggests.

‘Hey,’ Mario warns.

‘Sir, Mario calls his wang Il Duce,’ says Dennis.

‘Sir!’

‘Dennis.’

‘But he does – you do, I’ve heard you. “Time to rise, Duce,” you say. “Your people await you, Duce.”’

‘At least I have a wang, and am not a boy with … Instead of a wang, he has just a blank piece of …’

‘I feel we’re straying off the point here,’ Howard intervenes. ‘Come on, guys. The protagonists of the First World War. I’ll give you a clue. Germany. Germany was involved. Who were Germany’s allies – yes, Henry?’ as Henry Lafayette, whatever he is dreaming of, emits a loud snort. Hearing his name, he raises his head and gazes at Howard with dizzy, bewildered eyes.

‘Elves?’ he ventures.

The classroom explodes into hysterics.

‘Well, what was the question?’ Henry asks, somewhat woundedly.

Howard is on the brink of accepting defeat and beginning the class all over again. A glance at the clock, however, absolves him from any further effort today, so instead he directs them back to the textbook, and has Geoff Sproke read out the poem reproduced there.

‘“In Flanders Fields”,’ Geoff obliges. ‘By Lieutenant John McCrae.’

‘John McGay,’ glosses John Reidy.

‘That’s enough.’

‘“In Flanders fields,”’ Geoff reads, ‘“the poppies blow”:

‘Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived –’

At this point the bell rings. In a single motion the daydreaming and somnolent snap awake, grab their bags, stow their books and move as one for the door. ‘For tomorrow, read the end of the chapter,’ Howard calls over the melee. ‘And while you’re at it, read the stuff you were supposed to read for today.’ But the class has already fizzed away, and Howard is left as he always is, wondering if anyone has been listening to a single thing he’s said; he can practically see his words crumpled up on the floor. He packs away his own book, wipes clean the board and sets off to fight his way through the home-time throng to the staff room.

In Our Lady’s Hall, hormonal surges have made giants and midgets of the crowd. The tang of adolescence, impervious to deodorant or opened windows, hangs heavy, and the air tintinnabulates with bleeps, chimes and trebly shards of music as two hundred mobile phones, banned during the school day, are switched back on with the urgency of divers reconnecting to their oxygen supply. From her alcove a safe elevation above it, the plaster Madonna with the starred halo and the peaches-and-cream complexion pouts coquettishly at the rampaging maleness below.

‘Hey, Flubber!’ Dennis Hoey scampers across Howard’s path to waylay William ‘Flubber’ Cooke. ‘Hey, I just wanted to ask you a question?’

‘What?’ Flubber immediately suspicious.

‘Uh, I was just wondering – are you a bummer tied to a tree?’

Brows creasing, Flubber – fourteen stone and on his third trip through second year – turns this over.

‘It’s not a trick or anything,’ promises Dennis. ‘I just wanted to know, you know, if you’re a bummer tied to a tree.’

‘No,’ Flubber resolves, at which Dennis takes flight, declaring exuberantly, ‘Bummer on the loose! Bummer on the loose!’ Flubber lets out a roar and prepares to give chase, then stops abruptly and ducks off in the other direction as the crowd parts and a tall, cadaverous figure comes striding through.

Father Jerome Green: teacher of French, coordinator of Seabrook’s charitable works, and by some stretch the school’s most terrifying personage. Wherever he goes it is with two or three bodies’ worth of empty space around him, as if he’s accompanied by an invisible retinue of pitchfork-wielding goblins, ready to jab at anyone who happens to be harbouring an impure thought. As he passes, Howard musters a weak smile; the priest glares back at him the same way he does at everyone, with a kind of ready, impersonal disapproval, so adept at looking into man’s soul and seeing sin, desire, ferment that he does it now like ticking a box.

Sometimes Howard feels dispiritedly as if not one thing has changed here in the ten years since he graduated. The priests in particular bring this out in him. The hale ones are still hale, the doddery ones still dodder; Father Green still collects canned food for Africa and terrorizes the boys, Father Laughton still gets teary-eyed when he presents the works of Bach to his unheeding classes, Father Foley still gives ‘guidance’ to troubled youngsters, invariably in the form of an admonition to play more rugby. On bad days Howard sees their endurance as a kind of personal rebuke – as if that almost-decade of life between matriculation and his ignominious return here had, because of his own ineptitude, been rolled back, struck from the record, deemed merely so much fudge.

Of course this is pure paranoia. The priests are not immortal. The Holy Paraclete Fathers are experiencing the same problem as every other Catholic order: they are dying out. Few of the priests in Seabrook are under sixty, and the newest recruit to the pastoral programme – one of an ever-dwindling number – is a young seminarian from somewhere outside Kinshasa; when the school principal, Father Desmond Furlong, fell ill at the beginning of September, it was a layman – economics teacher Gregory L. Costigan – who took the reins, for the first time in Seabrook’s history.

Leaving behind the wood-panelled halls of the Old Building, Howard passes up the Annexe, climbs the stairs, and opens, with the usual frisson of weirdness, the door marked ‘Staff-room’. Inside, a half-dozen of his colleagues are kvetching, marking homework or changing their nicotine patches. Without addressing anyone or otherwise signalling his presence, Howard goes to his locker and throws a couple of books and a pile of copies into his briefcase; then, moving crab-like to avoid eye contact, he steals out of the room again. He clatters back down the stairs and the now-deserted corridor, eyes fixed deter-minedly on the exit – when he is arrested by the sound of a young female voice.

It appears that, although the bell for the end of the school day rang a good five minutes ago, class in the Geography Room is still in full swing. Crouching slightly, Howard peers through the narrow window set in the door. The boys inside show no sign of impatience; in fact, by their expressions, they are quite oblivious to the passage of time.

The reason for this stands at the head of the class. Her name is Miss McIntyre; she is a substitute. Howard has caught glimpses of her in the staff room and on the corridor, but he hasn’t yet managed to speak to her. In the cavernous depths of the Geography Room, she draws the eye like a flame. Her blonde hair has that cascading quality you normally see only in TV ads for shampoo, complemented by a sophisticated magnolia two-piece more suited to a boardroom than a transition-year class; her voice, while soft and melodious, has at the same time an ungainsayable quality, an undertone of command. In the crook of her arm she cradles a globe, which while she speaks she caresses absently as if it were a fat, spoiled housecat; it almost seems to purr as it revolves langorously under her fingertips.

‘… just beneath the surface of the Earth,’ she is saying, ‘temperatures so high that the rock itself is molten – can anyone tell me what it’s called, this molten rock?’

‘Magma,’ croak several boys at once.

‘And what do you call it, when it bursts up onto the Earth’s surface from a volcano?’

‘Lava,’ they respond tremulously.

‘Excellent! And millions of years ago, there was an enormous amount of volcanic activity, with magma boiling up over the entire surface of the Earth non-stop. The landscape around us today –’ she runs a lacquered fingernail down a swelling ridge of mountain ‘– is mostly the legacy of this era, when the whole planet was experiencing dramatic physical changes. I suppose you could call it Earth’s teenage years!’

The class blushes to its collective roots and stares down at its textbook. She laughs again, and spins the globe, snapping it under her fingertips like a musician plucking the strings of a double bass, then catches sight of her watch. ‘Oh my gosh! Oh, you poor things, I should have let you out ten minutes ago! Why didn’t someone say something?’

The class mumbles inaudibly, still looking at the book.

‘Well, all right …’ She turns to write their homework on the blackboard, reaching up so that her skirt rises to expose the back of her knees; moments later the door opens, and the boys troop reluctantly out. Howard, affecting to study the photographs on the noticeboard of the Hillwalking Club’s recent outing to Djouce Mountain, watches from the corner of his eye until the flow of grey jumpers has ceased. When she fails to appear, he goes back to investi–

‘Oh!’

‘Oh my God, I’m so sorry.’ He hunkers down beside her and helps her re-amass the pages that have fluttered all over the gritty corridor floor. ‘I’m so sorry, I didn’t see you. I was just rushing back to a … a meeting …’

‘That’s all right,’ she says, ‘thanks,’ as he places a sheaf of Ordnance Survey maps on top of the stack she’s gathered back in her arms. ‘Thank you,’ she repeats, looking directly into his eyes, and continuing to look into them as they rise in unison to their feet, so that Howard, finding himself unable to look away, feels a brief moment of panic, as if they have somehow become locked together, like those apocryphal stories you hear about the kids who get their braces stuck together while kissing and have to get the fire brigade to cut them out.

‘Sorry,’ he says again, reflexively.

‘Stop apologizing,’ she laughs.

He introduces himself. ‘I’m Howard Fallon. I teach History. You’re standing in for Finian Ó Dálaigh?’

‘That’s right,’ she says. ‘Apparently he’s going to be out till Christmas, whatever happened to him.’

‘Gallstones,’ Howard says.

‘Oh,’ she says.

Howard wishes he could unsay gallstones. ‘So,’ he rebegins effortfully, ‘I’m actually on my way home. Can I give you a lift?’

She cocks her head. ‘Didn’t you have a meeting?’

‘Yes,’ he remembers. ‘But it isn’t really that important.’

‘I have my own car, thanks all the same,’ she says. ‘But I suppose you could carry my books, if you like.’

‘Okay,’ Howard says. Possibly the offer is ironic, but before she can retract it he removes the stack of binders and textbooks from her hands and, ignoring the homicidal looks from a small clump of her pupils still mooning about the corridor, walks alongside her towards the exit.

‘So, how are you finding it?’ he asks, attempting to haul the conversation to a more equilibrious state. ‘Have you taught much before, or is this your first time?’

‘Oh –’ she blows upwards at a wayward strand of golden hair ‘– I’m not a teacher by profession. I’m just doing this as a favour for Greg, really. Mr Costigan, I mean. God, I’d forgotten about this Mister, Miss stuff. It’s so funny. Miss McIntyre.’

‘Staff are allowed to use first names, you know.’

‘Mmm … Actually I’m quite enjoying being Miss McIntyre. Anyhow, Greg and I were talking one day and he was saying they were having problems finding a good substitute, and it so happens that once upon a time I had fantasies of being a teacher, and I was between contracts, so I thought why not?’

‘What’s your field normally?’ He holds open the main door for her and they step out into the autumn air, which has grown cold and crisp.

‘Investment banking?’

Howard receives this information with a studied neutrality, then says casually, ‘I used to work in that area myself, actually. Spent about two years in the City. Futures, primarily.’

Excerpted from Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Copyright © 2010 by Paul Murray. Published in 2010 by Faber And Faber, Inc. All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

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Reading Group Guide

As promised, fourteen-year-old Daniel “Skippy” Juster dies in the opening scene of Paul Murray’s tragicomic masterwork. But much remains to be seen in the ensuing chapters. Who is responsible for his demise? And why does he die such a weird death, gasping for air on the floor of a doughnut shop without having eaten any doughnuts? And what are we to make of his final message, written on the floor in syrupy raspberry filling: “TELL LORI”?

Set in Dublin at the Seabrook College for boys, Skippy Dies combines the visceral power of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest with the raw anxieties of life in the twenty-first century. The result is a dazzling and uproarious novel in which nearly all the characters are at odds with one another (and with themselves) as they walk the line between fantasy and reality, spectacular deception and jaw-dropping revelation. While a ruthless Acting Principal (“the Automator”) tries to dissolve the school’s affiliation with the Holy Paraclete Fathers, faculty and students alike revel in unholy obsessions. For the teenage drug dealer Carl, it’s porn, laced with his borderline psychotic fantasies. For the pudgy young genius Ruprecht, it’s a quest to open a portal to a parallel universe. Unable to get his students to understand the magnitude of the Great War, the history teacher Howard Fallon spends equal time trying to get it on with his sexy colleague Aurelie. For Eoin “MC Sexecutioner” Flynn, life is an endless hip-hop soundtrack. As for Skippy, with a distracted father and a cancer-stricken mother, he simply dreams of a day when no one harasses him anymore. There’s not enough Ritalin in the world to bring normalcy to Seabrook, but then again, normalcy is all relative within those historic walls.

Hailed by The New Yorker as an author who “gets away with just about everything,” Paul Murray reinvents adolescence, adulthood, and storytelling itself in Skippy Dies. We hope the following questions will help your book club survive the exhilarating ride.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 94 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(38)

4 Star

(27)

3 Star

(11)

2 Star

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1 Star

(13)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 95 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2011

    IS IT GOOD???????

    ok so everybodys talkin about how badly its priced..... iis it a good book or no?!?!?!?!

    3 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Poor Skippy

    Paul Murray must have labored hard to write a 661 page novel. The story is intricate, colorful characters have been created, and a variety of things happen to them. In the beginning, the reader is filled with optimism that the story will turn out to be a good one- after all, the author has filled up 661 pages! But it is not to be, as, in my opinion, the story takes turns that are simply not credible, written more for the shock value than any attempt to be real. The twists in the tale end up even more bizarrely, and, sad to say, knowing from the beginning that Skippy Dies, there is not much reason to keep reading. I give it four stars, though, because it is a work that includes some really good scenes, just not the sum of the parts.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 10, 2011

    Great Read, Great Job, Great Story

    The closest familiar story I can think of to compare this to would be Dead Poet's Society; but in my opinion Skippy Dies is even better. Masterful craftsmanship, very creative and these characters really live as they change with the events taking place around them. This is the kind of book you'll want to read again and perhaps even study from different perspectives. This book will make you think in more than one direction, on more than one level and somewhere among the characters you will see parts of yourself and people who were once a big part of your life. A great read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    Extraordinary Novel

    Rare is the book that speaks to your soul, reinforces interpretations of life events, justifies personal frustrations and entertains while simultaneously proving sensitive but brutally honest. Paul Murray's Skippy Dies does just that.

    Everyone (over 16) should read this novel. I read 40-50 books a year, I was an English major (so I read a lot then, too) and I honestly believe Skippy Dies is one of the top three most moving and insightful books I've ever read. No other book, fiction or nonfiction, ever put me in a bad mood the next day, as Skippy Dies did when certain plot events occurred. That's how invested I became in this title and its characters. I don't know that there's any higher compliment for a book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2012

    Far exceeded all expectations

    I received this book as a gift and, honestly, was ambivalent about reading it based on the plot summary. Glad I went for it because I absolutely loved it. I was hooked as the story expertly drew me in as it built up to the crossroads in each main character's life. Skippy is central to the story, but there is much more. While many of the most poignant scenes led me to reflect on my own life, just as many made me laugh out loud. "Skippy Dies" is high on my list of books that I've read over the past couple years.

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  • Posted March 21, 2012

    I did not enjoy this book at all. I'm 21 years old so the concep

    I did not enjoy this book at all. I'm 21 years old so the concept of drugs and sex doesn't offend me at all..but this book just couldn't even keep my attention. I was very disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 8, 2011

    Very dsrk

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 29, 2011

    Disturbing but good!

    I wasn't sure what to expect when I picked this up. Wow. What a story. It was disturbing, but heartfelt. This is such a well told story that you can look beyond the disturbing parts. I actually found myself buying into the mysticism but it never goes too far off course. It's a long book, but you won't be able to put it down! Even though it's about teens at a prep school, I don't think it's appropriate for kids that age to read. A word of warning: As a Catholic, it may make you angry.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2011

    Absolutely the worst book I have read in a very long time!

    I too do not care how much a book costs when I go to reviews, or to review a book. This could have been free and still it s simply dreadful. The plot involves a bunch of dumb Brit kids, mastrubating and looking for a lay, using drugs, and then one dies, and I say, Who cares? Boring, meaningless, plotless, dribble. And, I might add, also free! I can read about this in the newspapers or watch TV or think back to my own youth. Yikes - what a waste of paper and ink.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    Love love love it!

    The kind of book that leaves a hole in your day after you finish it. Amazing characters; I could crawl into the skin of all of them. Even the drugged up, sex-addicted 17 year old.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    Entertaining...

    Interesting characters and plot lines. Kinda spread-out, though, since it is over 650 pages. Characters come and go, age, die, move away - and just when they're getting interesting! Kept my interest, however, right to the end. Great background stuff in a contemprary genteel Dublin setting. Pops a few baloons this way, not your typical dark Irish Novel, notwithstanding the title. I'd like to read more of his work.

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  • Posted April 5, 2011

    Six Stars - Out of Five...

    Just finished SKIPPY DIES, and I feel like I just got back from a night at the Pub with Holden Caulfield,Sebastian Dangerfield, Ken Bruen, and Kurt Vonnegut. Funny, brutal, accurate and intricate - Paul Murray cannot lie. It could be any Catholic Boy's School, and Catholic Girl's school, but Skippy's placement in Dublin is even more hilarious and charming.The cast of characters, though huge, is thrillingly drawn.This book is a remarkable achievement. I await his next effort...

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  • Posted January 27, 2011

    STOP!

    Stop reviewing books based on price! It makes star-based review systems irrelevant. If you disagree with the price, don't buy it! Check it out from the library or buy it used. This is a BOOK review section not a PRICE review section. Take it up with the publisher or Barnes and Noble if you want to whine about price. Don't take it out on customers who want to see what other people think about the actual book. It doesn't make me not buy the book. It doesn't make the publisher or Barnes and Noble suffer through lack of sales. If it did, the price would already be lower! This is a problem here, on Amazon, and anywhere else books with an ebook version are sold. Anywhere irritating, inconsiderate people are allowed to post are filled with these things.

    I know I may appear hypocritical for posting this having not read the book but I felt like I should rate the book 5-stars if only to counteract the 1-star reviews from these obnoxious price-based "reviews." I've said my piece.

    STOP!

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2011

    $14.99???

    No way it's worth $14.99.. B & N get it together! iBooks is selling it for $9.99

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2011

    hated it...

    seriously

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 12, 2010

    Unacceptable pricing

    This price is ridiculously unacceptable and can jeoperdize the future of ebooks. I bet the author barely gets a dollar out of it!

    0 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2010

    Trilogy

    This is 600 pages, and appears to be a trilogy. That explains the price. All you have to do is check the New York Times review provided here and you will see that.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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