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.
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