This touching and uproarious novel by author Paul Murray made everyone’s best fiction of 2010 lists, including The Washington Post, Financial Times, Village Voice, and others. Why Skippy dies and what happens next is the mystery that links the boys of Dublin’s Seabrook College (Ruprecht Van Doren, the overweight genius obsessed with string theory; Carl, the teenager drug dealer and borderline psychotic; Philip Kilfether, the basketball-playing midget) to their parents and teachers in ways that no one could have imagined.
This unique production of Murray’s heartfelt exploration of the pain, joy, and beauty of adolescence features an all-star narrating cast of 16 Audible favorites: John Keating, Graeme Malcom, Khristine Hvam, Nicola Barber, Fred Berman, Clodagh Bowyer, Terry Donnelly, Sean Gormley, Lawrence Lowry, Paul Nugent, Tim Smallwood, Fiona Walsh, Fiana Toibin, Declan Sammon, Heather O'Neill, and Ed Malone.
©2010 Paul Murray (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
"Hilarious, haunting, and heartbreaking, it is inarguably among the most memorable novels of the year to date." (Booklist)
"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." (Washington Post Book World)
"Extravagantly entertaining." (The New York Times Book Review)
Some complained about the length of the book, but for me that feeling only lasted through part I, which I felt dragged a bit. The performances added much to the experience of the novel, given that the various accents (Irish old men, Mario, Miss MacIntyre, etc) were well done and enriched the text. Actually, Mario's narrator made him into a rather Fez-like character from That 70s Show, which wasn't a bad thing.
Negatives: Because of the way the author played with sequence, I didn't find myself unfulfilled by certain glitches in the plot until the end, when I was sure they would never be resolved. SPOILER ALERT (skip the rest of this paragraph if you like): I had a hard time with the following: Where did Skippy get so many of the sedatives? Wouldn't the police have traced that? Did he OD on purpose or not? The police would surely have been more involved in the story behind his death. Also, the very last portion of the book containing the redemption moments fell flat for me; Lori becomes a real person and convinces Ruprecht to live on and be fulfilled? She's going to "help" him? Carl is redeemed somewhat by trying to allow himself to die as pennance? No, really, he's just schizophrenic, right? And finally, Howard is redeemed in the eyes of the school -- no longer a coward -- for running into a burning building to save Carl? Hmm. Don't think so. Still, the lack of real closure on some of these characters didn't hurt the integrity of the novel any more than such failures ever do... I find many of my favorite books a little unsatisfying to me at the end. END SPOILER
Good things: Some real comedy intertwined in the horrors (Greg the Automater, in particular). Excellent portrayals of the crazy world of young boys (and girls) and how they torture and love each other. Satisfying emotional content, and some historical learning material, too. I have no reference point for parochial schools and the sexual frustration borne out of single-gendered environments, but I think it was painted well here. I also think the handling of the characters who considered or perpetrated sexual abuse was nuanced and interesting. In fact, the real villains here were not the those men at all, as it turned out...
The whole cast of characters are excellent. I could picture them all.
Dennis & Mario crack me up. There are so many... there is no way to point out just one.
The characters are well developed by the author.... So many scenes, so little time. What can I say?
You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll wince... and you won't want it to end.
The only reason I thought about listening to this book is because I recently had a dog name Skippy who I had to put down. I thought it was about a dog... but read a review and became intrigued. I am so glad I did. This is one of the best books I've ever listened to. Thank you Paul Murray. I want more.
I totally understand those who are put off by this audible's length ... it's enormous! ... and by the realism. This work seems to be a complex fiction based on very late 20st century social realities that many of us wish not to face or admit exists. Or if they do exist, we don't wish to have our free time reading (or listening) to fiction that so clearly outlines human frailties or certainly not our vulgarities and there are many in this epic novel. I have a feeling that the author was giving us an outline of what he observed while at school in Ireland himself. If so, so much the better. I felt like I was in the middle of a long epic stage play. The narration was stellar and brilliant. Yes, there were a few head-scratching dead spots, but not many. It took me through all emotions, a good thing in my estimation. The book made me laugh, sigh, ponder, smile and even feel regret. Yes, this book is not for everyone, it's too honest for that. By the way, I thought the ending very theatrical and fitting. I won't be listening to this tome again because there are so many audibles I wish to listen to, but I already miss the characters, especially Mario and I have a certain affection also for Howard, but they all contributed to this triumphant production!
This is the first review I have written. "Skippy Dies" is the only book of many I have ordered through Audible.com that I will probably not finish. I feel like I need to give it more of a chance but, quite frankly, I don't want to wast my time. It is hard to follow and boring. Usually I enjoy driving because I get to hear my book but I don't feel that way with this one. I wish I could get my money back.
The best multiple-narrator experience I've had, and the writing is crisp, vivid and memorable. My problem is the story, which I gave up half-way through and determined to read instead. It's incredibly painful, the horrors of Catholic school in Ireland, an original version of much-told tale. Yes, it's funny, but overall there's a dark undercurrent, like a shark circling under a swimmer and surfacing repeatedly to take a bite. I think reading it will give me more control, rather than this outpouring into my ear, beautifully done but unendurable. Thrillers are easy. Bring them on. This is awful.
I gave the audiobook 3 hours, almost a third of it, but gave up. I had no interest in any of the characters or their mundane lives. I didn't care to find out what happens to them.
Not everyone's life is interesting or full of intrigue, but it seems that most of our lives are more interesting than what was occurring in the first 3 hours of this book. If I had it in paperback, I doubt I'd have lasted that long.
I can't even force myself to finish listening to this one. Possibly there are just too many characters and too much jumping around between them to ever really 'care' about what happens to them. I'm about half way through, and I am ditching it. The verbal 'sound effect' of scraping burned toast was SO obnoxious I almost left at that point - and now I wish I would have. Also, while I liked the Irish accents in the beginning, it is getting old 6 hrs in.
The writing is quite clever at times, but those times are too few and far between to hold my interest. Sorry, Skippy.
Well writen, Interesting characters. Buit the book seems to climax to an end and the end falls to pieces. I listened several times over to see if I had missed something. Just doesnt end well
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