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Skippy Dies

Thoughts by Paul Murray, Audible Studios 2011 orig 2010, 661 pages

Narrated by: Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, Terry Donnelly, Sean Gormley, Khristine Hvam, John Keating, Lawrence Lowry, Graeme Malcolm, Paul Nugent, 23.6 hours

Challenge: TOB Favorites

Genre/Theme: Contemporary Li t / Irish Boys, Catholic Boarding School

Type/Source: Audiobook / Audible

What It’s About: We know immediately from the title that Skippy Dies. In fact, he dies in the first scene of the book. It takes the next 23 hours to explain who Skippy is, what demons he was wrestling, and introduce the reader to friends, crushes, bullies, parents, priests, teachers and administrators who orbit our titular Skippy. Before and after.

Thoughts: Unfortunately, as impressive as the telling is, I didn’t get into it. My fault or just another coconut scenario. (I just spent 20 minutes trying to find the post where I talk about coconut* books. Why can’t I find it?!)

It is a great book if you like long books about lots of stuff and lots of 14 year old boys. I liked the parts about Howard’s obsession with WW1 history. In fact, my thoughts were two seconds ahead of one of the characters wondering why he wasn’t yet to the point in the curriculum where they discuss the Easter Rising. I had JUST HAD THAT THOUGHT! (Point for the author.) And I was also pleasantly surprised that they were (somewhat, but way more than I expected!) sympathetic, by saying Skippy was in heaven. Most Catholics, in the US anyway, the ones I know, pretty much believe suicide condemns you to hell. So that was a hiccup, to me. (Just hover over that blank space and highlight the white text so you can read it. I didn’t warn about spoilers. Oops.)

Two of the narrator voices didn’t work for me. First, the main narrator and also how he would say “You open the door. You go through. You are amazed about blah blah blah” So maybe it was the present tense or the speaking to the reader – I was confused and annoyed. Second, I did not like Mario. His voice was like a vampire. And he was a 14 year old always talking about his prowess. Ugh. And only a few sounded Irish to me. The American really sounded non-Irish so maybe my ears just adjusted?

Rating: Three slices of pie. No pie mentioned. (LOTS of donuts mentioned.)



The label “Coconut Book” references my idea that some books are just not to my taste. Like how some people just do not like coconut and it doesn’t matter if the coconut is awesome and tastes fabulous to those people who DO like coconut.

Copyright © 2007-2022. Care’s Books and Pie also known as and originally created as Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care. It should not be reproduced without express written permission.


The Paper Wasp

Thoughts  by Lauren Acampora, Grove Press 2019, 289 pages

Genre: Contemporary Lit
Type/Source: Gift from a Friend, to be repaid in kind
 Why I read this now:  Coincide with Author Event

MOTIVATION for READING: Blurb sounded good!

Page 283: “What a sweetie pie”, the woman would say, and Shelby would say thanks as if the sweetness were her doing.”

WHAT’s it ABOUT:  Two friends since grade school reconnect at a high school reunion. One is an actress, a rising star. The other is unhinged.

What goodreads says: “In small-town Michigan, Abby Graven leads a solitary life. Once a bright student on the cusp of a promising art career, she now languishes in her childhood home, trudging to and from her job as a supermarket cashier. Each day she is taunted from the magazine racks by the success of her former best friend Elise, a rising Hollywood starlet whose life in pictures Abby obsessively scrapbooks. At night Abby escapes through the films of her favorite director, Auguste Perren, a cult figure known for his creative institute, the Rhizome. Inspired by Perren, Abby draws fantastical storyboards based on her often premonitory dreams, a visionary gift she keeps hidden.”

The story has a low-level hum of dread, a creepiness that is expressed well in the narrative with Abby telling Elise what is happening – a present tense feel yet immediate past. We can only sense, “this ain’t gonna end well.”

page 198:  I understood that you were gone. I saw that you’d never return to me fully, that we’d forever remain on parallel tracks, never to mesh again, no matter how I twisted and swerved.

   October 2019 Author Event at Brown University, along with poet Jennifer Franklin. I didn’t have a chance to purchase works prior to the event but have both author’s books on order now…

THOUGHTS:  Oh the ending! NOT what I expected but I am impressed. The clues are all there, no lost threads but an exclaimed “OMG! WOW.” from me, thinking in my head that the author was quite clever; fabulously pulled together.

Very smart, imaginative writing.

Four slices of pie.

Page 145: As you spoke, I felt a spiking sensation under my skin. I didn’t want to hear any of it. I tried to tune out your words while I studied the black stone in my hand. I marveled at its weight and warmth. It was solid and eternal, not of this world burning with the patience of the ages. It would outlast your folly and my pain. It would outlast everything.

So…, my friend who invited me to the event gave me her book and thensonow I’m ordering the book to give back a copy to her since she is friends with the author and now they have another good excuse to get together — so Lauren can sign HER book!  too funny. Things we do…  Thanks Kim for inviting me to this.

I can’t wait to read The Wonder Garden. I love linked story collections and the reviews are excellent. Lauren Acampora is an author to watch!



Copyright © 2007-2019. Care’s Online Book Club. All rights reserved. This post was originally posted by Care from Care’s Online Book Club.  It should not be reproduced without express written permission.