Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies

by Paul Murray
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Overview

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Paul Murray's Skippy Dies is a tragicomic masterpiece about a Dublin boarding school Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010 Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search of Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Daniel 'Skippy' Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the frisbee-playing siren from the girls' school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest - including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath. . . A tragic comedy of epic sweep and dimension, Skippy Dies scours the corners of the human heart and wrings every drop of pathos, humour and hopelessness out of life, love, Robert Graves, mermaids, M-theory, and everything in between. 'That rare thing, a comic epic. . . Murray is a brilliant comic writer, but also humane and touching, and he captures the misery and elation, joy and anxiety of teenage life' David Nicholls, Guardian 'Novels rarely come as funny and as moving as this utterly brilliant exploration of teenhood and the anticlimax of becoming an adult . . . one of the finest comic novels written anywhere' Eileen Battersby, Irish Times 'I loved Skippy Dies . . . three novels fused into one ignited tragicomic tour de force' Ali Smith, Times Literary Supplement Books of the Year 'An unforgettably exuberant saga set in an Irish boys' school. The insulting repartee is Shakespearean, the minor characters hilarious, and Murray captures the fleeting joys and lasting sorrows of adolescence perfectly' Emma Donoghue, Daily Telegraph 'A triumph . . . brimful of wit and narrative energy' Sunday Times 'The sprawling brilliance of Paul Murray's darkly comic second novel works on many different levels . . . When you finish the last page, you may be tempted to start all over again' Metro Paul Murray is the author of An Evening of Long Goodbyes, shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award in 2005, and Skippy Dies, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780241144978
Publisher: Viking Penguin
Publication date: 10/28/2010

About the Author

Paul Murray is the author of An Evening of Long Goodbyes, Skippy Dies and The Mark and the Void. An Evening of Long Goodbyes was shortlisted for the Whitbread First Novel Award and nominated for the Kerry Group Irish Fiction Award. Skippy Dies was shortlisted for the Costa Novel award and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and longlisted for the Booker Prize. The Mark and the Void won the Everyman Wodehouse Prize 2016. Paul Murray lives in Dublin.

Read an Excerpt

Skippy Dies


By Paul Murray

Faber and Faber, Inc.

Copyright © 2010 Paul Murray
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-86547-948-7



CHAPTER 1

Hopeland


These daydreams persisted like an alternate life ...

Robert Graves


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, waterlogged 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 staffroom.

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 'Staffroom'. 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 determinedly 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 staffroom 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.'

'What happened?'

He cracks a grin. 'Don't you read the papers? Not enough future to go around.'

She doesn't react, waiting for the correct answer.

'Well, I'll probably get back into it some day,' he blusters. 'This is just a temporary thing, really. I sort of fell into it. Although at the same time, it's nice, I think, to give something back? To feel like you're making a difference?' They make their way around the sixth-years' car park, a series of Lexuses and TTs – and Howard's heart sinks as his own car comes into view.

'What's with the feathers?'

'Oh, it's nothing.' He sweeps his hand along the car's roof, ploughing a mighty drift of white feathers over the side. They pluff to the ground, from where some float back up to adhere to his trousers. Miss McIntyre takes a step backwards. 'It's just a ... ah, sort of a gag the boys play.'

'They call you Howard the Coward,' she remarks, like a tourist inquiring the meaning of a puzzling local idiom.

'Yes.' Howard laughs mirthlessly, shovelling more feathers from his windscreen and bonnet and not offering an explanation. 'You know, they're good kids, generally, in this place, but there's a few that can be a bit, ah, high-spirited.'

'I'll be on my guard,' she says.

'Well, like I say, it's just a small percentage. Most of them ... I mean, generally speaking it's a wonderful place to work.'

'You're covered in feathers,' she says judiciously.

'Yes,' he harrumphs, swiping his trousers summarily, straightening his tie. Her eyes, which are a brilliant and dazzling shade of blue custom-made for sparkling mockingly, sparkle mockingly at him. Howard has had enough humiliation for one day; he is just about to bow out with the last shreds of his dignity, when she says, 'So what's it like, teaching History?'

'What's it like?' he repeats.

'I'm really liking doing Geography again.' She gazes dreamily around at the ice-blue sky, the yellowing trees. 'You know, these titanic battles between different forces that actually created the shape of the world we're walking around in today ... it's so dramatic ...' She squeezes her hands sensually, a goddess forging worlds out of raw matter, then fixes The Eyes on Howard again. 'And History – that must be so much fun!'

This isn't the first word that springs to mind, but Howard limits himself to a bland smile.

'What are you teaching at the moment?'

'Well, in my last class we were doing the First World War.'

'Oh!' She claps her hands. 'I love the First World War. The boys must be enjoying that.'

'You'd be surprised,' he says.

'You should read them Robert Graves,' she says.

'Who?'

'He was in the trenches,' she replies; then adds, after a pause, 'He was also one of the great love poets.'

'I'll take a look,' he scowls. 'Any other tips for me? Any other lessons you've gleaned from your five days in the profession?'

She laughs. 'If I have any more I'll be sure and pass them on. It sounds like you need them.' She lifts the books out of Howard's arms and aims her car key at the enormous white-gold SUV parked next door to Howard's dilapidated Bluebird. 'See you tomorrow,' she says.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Copyright © 2010 Paul Murray. Excerpted by permission of Faber and Faber, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Contents

Title,
Copyright,
Dedication,
Prologue,
I: Hopeland,
II: Heartland,
III: Ghostland,
IV: Afterland,
Acknowledgements,

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.

1. What were your initial theories about why Skippy died?

2. Why can't Howard be happy with Halley? Is his obsession with Aurelie any different from

Skippy's obsession with Lori?

3. Who are the heroes and villains in this novel? Is the bad behavior due to bad parenting, high testosterone levels, materialism, lack of belief in a difficult God? Other factors?

4. How does Seabrook compare with your high school? Which characters most closely resemble you and your circle of friends?

5. What do the novel's priests have to say about the nature of the suffering they see at Seabrook? Do they defy or fit the stereotype of prep-school priests?

6. When Carl's parents fight loudly (David versus jealous mother Lucia), what do you think they're teaching him about love? How do they manage to stay so clueless about their son?

7. With his emphasis on marketing, branding, and public relations, does the Automator (Greg Costigan) reflect a typical trend in education today?

8. Would the novel have been as interesting if it had been set at the all-girl's school St. Brigid's? Are teenage girls as destructive as teenage boys?

9. Howard tells the Automator that Skippy earned his nickname because he has buck teeth, which cause him to make a kangaroo-like noise when he speaks. What makes Skippy an easy target? Are those who pick on him (including Father Green, badgering Skippy about obscenity in front of the whole French class) sadistic?

10. Google "M-theory." What do the articles seem to say about the search for order in the universe, even before the Big Bang? Why is it an ideal theory for Ruprecht's obsession, and for this novel?

11. Part I closes with a blend of Professor Tamashi's interview on the eleventh dimension and scenes from Skippy's "seduction" by Lori. What does it take to give and get love in Skippy Dies? What do those scenes say about the reality that love creates? What does the novel say about the reality that drugs create?

12. Lori's father, Gavin Wakeham, is an alumnus of Seabrook, and he is eager to share with Skippy his recollections of the faculty (which included a fondler, alumni who returned to their alma mater to teach when other opportunities didn't work out, and the perennially socially conscious Father Green). What impressions did the school make on Mr. Wakeham? What impressions will it leave on Skippy's class?

13. Discuss Ruprecht's quartet and the musical performance he links to communicating with the dead. Is it a step forward or backward for him, mentally?

14. Which came first: Carl's drug use or his obsession with power and violent sex? When he became haunted by Dead Boy, did you think he was seeing a hallucination or a ghost? Reread his explosive closing scene. Is he a Demon, or the victim of one?

15. After Skippy's funeral, his father tells Howard that Skippy's great-grandfather served in Gallipoli. Does Skippy's generation lack valor?

16. Howard and Father Green are appalled to see the Automator defend Coach Roche. Is Tom worthy of defense?

17. Ultimately, who is to blame for Skippy's death?

18. Discuss part IV, "Afterland." Is Greg's message a victory letter? Did he get everything he wanted?

Guide written by Amy Clements / The Wordshop, Inc.

Customer Reviews

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Skippy Dies 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 94 reviews.
Quidd More than 1 year ago
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.
ErikEckel More than 1 year ago
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.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
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.
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
Despite the sad inevitability the title suggests, and delivers on even in the Prologue, this is a entertaining, if at times darkly so, novel.  Numerous plot lines, both major and minor, intertwine seamlessly; the most amusing, because of the accuracy with which the author captures teenage boy relationships, dialogue, and humor, is that of Skippy and his friends.  The excitement and confusion of a first crush is evident as well in Skippy's pursuit of Lori, and the melancholy of (teacher) Howard's middle-age crisis hits close to home for those of us at a more...mature stage in our lives.  The characters are fully developed and, though I (thankfully) can't claim a boarding school background, the nature of such an experience, for both students and adults alike, seemed an accurate portrayal.  Thoroughly enjoyable!
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MattMarak More than 1 year ago
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.
Amelia90 More than 1 year ago
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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