Monthly Archives: December 2011

‘Skippy Dies’ by Paul Murray

I only finished reading this 2 days ago so it’s a fresh one! I borrowed it from my Aunt who is usually a sure bet for books but apart from her telling me it was worth the read I had no other preconceptions. The book is all about Skippy, who..dies..obviously.

The story is set in an all boys boarding school called ‘Seabrook’ in Dublin. Straight away you are sucked into Skippy’s world; the teachers, classmates, his best friend Reprecht who he shares his dorm room with and his love of video games. The author doesn’t shy away from depicting a very true-to-life account of how lads actually carry on in boarding school which makes for a lot of humour however not long into the book you see there are a lot of problems lurking beneath the surface.

Not wanting to give too much away (or bore you) the book unravels what exactly caused Skippy to die and the findings are quite shocking. Judging the book by the cover (excuse the pun) you would be forgiven for thinking it was a light-hearted, quirky sort of book that would shy away from any real issues however it is full of drugs, sex, violence, depression, abuse, you name it!

The only drawback of the book is the length. At 660 pages it’s longer than your average read and while I could hardly put it down for the first 3 or 400 pages I found I kind of ran out of steam, or the story lost its momentum a little bit towards the end. Nonetheless very readable and gives an excellent account of the kinds of problems teenagers have to deal with nowadays.

Verdict: Definitely worth the read but because of the length I won’t be picking it up again!

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‘Birdsong’ by Sebastian Faulks

We have this room in our house called ‘the quiet room’. It was supposed to be somewhere where we could go to read or play music or chess etc. Growing up we were told we always had to be quiet in there hence the weird name. Anyway the room is constantly full to the brim with all.sorts.of.crap; Christmas lights, ladles, pine cones, a flat screen tv still in the box, a tea set from a hotel room…you name it, it’s probably in there or has been at some stage or another.

If you’re willing to shoulder the door open and climb through the piles of said crap you may be lucky enough to find a book. One day I emerged a little disgruntled after standing on the prongs of a plug with this book in my hand. I hadn’t even looked at it, I just grabbed the first one I saw and got out of there. Little did I know I had picked up one of the best books I would ever read.

I can’t say much except that I have read loads of war books (not purposely there just seems to be a lot of them around my house) and this is by far the best. Seriously I wouldn’t even attempt to review it just GO BUY IT NOW! You won’t be disappointed πŸ™‚ I will leave you with a direct quote from the book that I found particularly beautiful…

Birdsong book cover

 

“I do not know what I have done to live in this existence. I do not know what any of us did to tilt the world into this unnatural orbit.

No child or future generation will ever know what this was like. They will never understand.

When it is over we will go quietly among the living and we will not tell them.

We will talk and sleep and go about our business like human beings. We will seal what we have seen in the silence of our hearts and no words will reach us.”

Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong 1993

 

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