The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments / The Snapper / The Van
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The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments / The Snapper / The Van (The Barrytown Trilogy #1-3)

4.27 of 5 stars 4.27  ·  rating details  ·  2,017 ratings  ·  120 reviews
A one-volume edition of the celebrated trio of novels about the Rabbitte family, from the author of Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha and The Guts (Viking, January 2014) – which features the return of Jimmy Rabbitte, founder of the Commitments.
Paperback, 640 pages
Published September 1st 1995 by Penguin Books (first published October 11th 1993)
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The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourtDubliners by James JoyceThe Collected Poems by W.B. YeatsDracula by Bram Stoker
Best Irish Literature
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Community Reviews

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Lots of Irish slang and written to capture some of the accent. This trilogy centers around the Rabbitte family. Each book has a different tone, which was interesting to me since the bulk of the story is conveyed in oddly formatted dialogue. Why is that interesting at all? I struggle to write beyond mere summarizations so I get overexcited when I think I recognize the craft in writing.

The first is this chuckling wind-up, not really about the family but following the eldest son who forms a soul ba...more
Sarah Payok
The Barrytown Trilogy is a collection of three novels - The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van - which all follow members of the Rabbitte family in their lives in a small town outside of Dublin.

I picked this book up for two reasons. I previously only knew Roddy Doyle through his short stories that are sometimes in the New Yorker, and he had been on my list of authors to look into for some time. Once I started looking at his novels though, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that he was the ma...more
I always like to read an author's earliest books -- you usually see a lot of growth over a short space. Here especially.

I've never been to Dublin, nor Ireland, but after reading this, I feel as if I had. The dialogue is brilliant, and hilarious -- again, not having been, I don't know if people there actually talk like this, but if they don't, they should. Also, for the occasionally rough language, Doyle really spreads the love around, without it getting schmaltzy -- the locale, the characters --...more
My standard "book-review" is here: , but a few more personal notes on Barrytown:

-These stories are often hysterical, and I've caught myself copying the rhythm and slang of the dialog in my day-to-day speak; mostly muttering "Jaysis" under my breath
- The blurb for The Van made it seem like it was about a couple of buddies following the Irish World Cup team, but it really isn't. That's not a bad thing, mind you; but it's more about a crisis of identity and...more
Nicole Pesce
Jun 27, 2010 Nicole Pesce rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Everyone, but especially if there's some Irish blood coursing through your veins.
Recommended to Nicole by: My mother Lydia Doyle (no relation to the author).
On the first story (The Commitments) about three Dubliners trying to start a band (in the 80s) and already the dialog and premise are totally slaying me (as in, it's hilarious) -- thankfully, I was just in Ireland recently, so I can more-or-less make out the jargon.
I ripped through the first two novels ("The Commitments" and "The Snapper") in just a couple of days, but it's taken a couple of weeks to wrap the third & final chapter of the madcap (and infectious) Rabbitte family because of...more
Cláudia Parra
It was a great reading to me because it shows Dublin and its people as they are, their culture, language, problems and difficulties as well. If you have already been in Dublin, the reading is a way to back there and remember everything you saw and felt. The first part "The Commitments", in my opninion, is the poorer history, The Snapper and The Van are "deeper" , The Van wins. It is not a "high literary value" book, anyway it remembers me Ireland and I love it.
We read the second story, The Snapper, for my book club, and then watched the movie to compare the two. The book really didn't grab me, like I thought it would. I did enjoy getting to know the Rabbitte family, along with Jimmy's goofy friends. Still, when I was reading it, I definitely had a "I can take it or leave it" feeling.

The movie was a decent adaptation. But, as with most movies based on books, the book was better. :-)
Andrew Davis
The Commitments:
A brief and successful story of a chaotic soul band, set up by Jimmy Rabbitte in Dublin. Full of colourful characters continuously fighting with each other about music, girls and almost everything else. Jimmy Rabbitte having brought together a group of young men and women brings in a generation older trumpet player, who whilst teaching them about soul music manages to get involved with three female singers, and ultimately leads to other band members to abandon the group.
The movie...more
Fair play te ya, Mr. Doyle. Ya big bollix.
Abraham Thunderwolf
Yes I know it's actually 3 different novels, but it's in one handy book. How handy is it? Pretty handy. I'm not saying that books are better than e-readers, but they have more uses. You can carve out pages from a book and keep florid love letter in it. You can use a book to block to form a temporary visor, or put it over your face if you want to take a nap in the sun. If you want to spy on people it's much easier to do it with a big book instead of a Kindle or the like. In a pinch you can use th...more
I'll just speak to all three books because I read them in immediate succession. Or most of them. I quit 100 pages into The Van, but I'll probably finish it someday. Maybe.

Frankly I think The Commitments is a better movie than it is book-- more alive, and you get to listen to the music rather than reading the lyrics. Out of the three Barrytown novels, though, it's my favourite, I think.

I just got a little sick of the writing style and the characters partway into The Van. I dunno, man, they're goo...more
The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle. Three books in one - The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van. A wonderful read. I love this book, I have read it before, long time ago, but it bears a second reading. It follows the story of members of the Rabbitte family. The first book, The Commitments, is probably the most famous (because of the Alan Parker film) and follows Jimmy (junior) and his formation (and demise) of a soul band in Ireland. The second book follows the fortunes of Sharon, pregnant a...more
Jan 26, 2008 Willie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves language, laughing, Dublin, or unpretentious characters.
Picked this up in Dublin, having seen the movies of all three (The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van), and became an instant Roddy Doyle aficionado. The writing is very fast, and his writing conjures up real working class Irish sounds, attitudes, and locations like nothing else. In his, and especially his characters' mouths, words for verything from everyday banalities to unbroken dreams are fresh and present and moving and hilarious.
The Commitments focuses on Jimmy Rabbitte Jr. and his que...more
A barrel of laughs compared to Angela's Ashes! A few years in the life of the Rabbittes, a working class Irish family living in Barrytown (outside of Dublin) in the late 80s. This is a quick read trilogy: The Commitments (yes, that Commitments, the great movie that came out in 1991 and re-energized soul sung by white people), The Snapper and The Van.

I liked The Commitments movie better than the book (a rarity) since the music came alive on screen (and audibly, obviously) much more than on the p...more
Impossibile però scrivere qualcosa di sensato dopo tutte quelle pinte di birra! Io che sono praticamente astemia a forza di leggere di ritrovi al pub son stata colta da singhiozzo sconquassante! O erano le risate che mi son fatta? Non so. Singhiozzo, risate, sconquassate... è tutta una gran girandola di parole e le pagine girano, girano..... oooohhhh come girano!! :D
E poi ho le allucinazioni... Eh sì, perché a un certo punto la sentivo sul serio la voce di Jimmy senior! Che persona...more
I borrowed the trilogy from the library. Originally I was looking to read "The Commitments" because I enjoyed the movie so much.

When I realized that it was part of a trilogy I wanted to read all three books. The books tell the story of a typical Irish working class family, the Rabbitte family.

The first book tells the story of how Jimmy Rabbit Junior forms an Irish Soul Band, The Committments, which become quite successful for a time before being torn apart by internal bickering and jealousy.

In t...more
Melanie Briggs
Loved Paddy Clark ha ha ha, but somehow didn't enjoy this trilogy as much as I expected. Much of the story was told via the dialogue and this, to me, did not always make easy reading. I also like some description and thought that this was lacking.

Having said all that, the books were very entertaining and amusing.
Lisa Faye
I keep reading about how funny these books are, but I didn't find them funny at all. In fact, at times they brought me to tears. A culture can keep people so silenced, so afraid to be honest with each other, and holding in all of the hurt and the fear can be really toxic. "The Snapper" and "The Van" were the two best of the trilogy because they really addressed some difficult issues of Irish culture. They were both exhaustingly emotional.
Karen M
Working class Ireland set just outside of Dublin in Barrytown. The slang took away from the stories at first but I soon adjusted to it.

The Commitments is about Jimmy Rabbitte Jr. and his dream to bring Dublin Soul to Ireland. The Snapper is about the Rabbitte family adjusting to their Sharon's having a baby and refusing to say who the father is out of embarrassment. The final story is The Van which is about Jimmy Rabbitte Sr. trying to pick up the pieces after being out of work.

Each story is com...more
Once I made it through the first book, 'The Commitments', which I found a bit slow to begin with, the other two books were hilarious! The Commitments is fine, by the way, and sets the groundwork for the following two. There's a real sense of knowing the characters, and loving them (many) faults and all. I've read this trilogy a few times now, and it's one that can lead to embarrassing moments when on public transport because of the loud laughing that can occur :) On subsequent reads I also got a...more
Jonny & Kate
There is three books here, one many know. The Commitments which was made into a successful film. The Snapper and the Van are teh other two. Both made into lesser known films. In Ireland The Snapper was teh most recorded TV program in Irish history and I think was only surpassed for viewership by the Popes visit in the 1980's and the 1990 world cup when we beat the Italians, man was that a good day. These books all capture Irish humour perfectly and living in contemporary Dublin. Be aware there i...more
Geetha Wilson
The commitments : Are you a person who had goosebumps when u watched Bryan Adams- Summer of 69 Acoustic live ? Have you ever wished singing like Freddie Mercury in white Underwears and still manage to be the coolest person on this planet? Read it :D
The Snapper: The best one :) I have not figured out how to live without having a prejudice against the stuffs the person I loathe, loves. " Georgina" :O
The Van:...more
The Commitments: 5 stars
The Snapper: 2 stars
The Van: 4 stars

Averages out to 3.5, but I rounded up since I liked the first book so much. It's not scientific, but so what?

The books follow the Rabbitte family in Barrytown, a working class North Dublin neighbourhood. They're very funny, although I didn't like the second one so much because of the (ok, spoiler now) unresolved issue of Sharon's rape (because yes, that's exactly what it was).
Nov 16, 2007 Mollyrose rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: joyce lovers
well having lived in dublin this trilogy just made me miss my friends mostly and the city. but really if you enjoy reading about a bunch of crochety middle class assholes who are nothing but lovable, this family is all of those things and you can fly through it. from my experience the characters remind me truly of the older men at the bar with a guinness tab as old as their cars and hooligan futbal kids flooding the streets on weekends.
Sep 19, 2010 Liz is currently reading it
Book 1 - The Commitment: 5 out of 5 Stars. This book was hilarious, really got me interested in the characters (no small feat for a 140 page book), and was damned near impossible to put down. Doyle's eye-dialect writing can get a bit dense for my American eyes, and some of the slang is unfamiliar, but it only makes the atmosphere and tone of the novel better. Loved it and can't wait to move on to book 2.
Pete Danko
Read these years ago, starting even before the individual books had become a trilogy. Emptying boxes of books the other day -- boxes that hadn't been unpacked since I moved from Napa to Portland FOUR YEARS ago! -- found this, an autographed copy no less. I wasn't planning on reading it (them), but after a little taste of the first two pages of The Commitments, I don't know, I might be in for the long haul!
Sue Harmon-King
This is my very favorite trilogy of all time! The Rabbitte family is a from working class Dublin and each person lends a unique viewpoint of family life, full of hopes, dreams, disappointments, and most importantly love. It is a story of a family that you knew or know and you wish the series would never end because you feel so connected to each and every one of them!
The three novels in this collection are all pretty fantastic, not necessarily from the literary perspective, but from the entertainment angle for sure. Doyle creates great, sympathetic characters and crafts them into well-structured and entralling plot lines. I could not stop saying "Fer f!@#$'s sake" every ten minutes after reading this though, so be forewarned.
I've got the one with the laughing black and white horse with the pink gums and teeth on the cover, which I think better captures Doyle's aesthetic than the one pictured above. These are three great novels and they can be read back to back. Funny, sweet, moving, absurd. Just wish his characters laughed at each others' antics less. But a great author.
I love these stories. This book includes "The Commitments", "The Snapper", and "The Van". All stories follow different members of the Rabbitte family and the events at different points in their lives. Doyle's best writing and characters, in my opinion. All made into great films as well, and so fab that Colm Meaney played the Da in each.
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Roddy Doyle (Irish: Ruaidhrí Ó Dúill) is an Irish novelist, dramatist and screenwriter. Several of his books have been made into successful films, beginning with The Commitments in 1991. He won the Booker Prize in 1993.

Doyle grew up in Kilbarrack, Dublin. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from University College, Dublin. He spent several years as an English and geography teacher before becoming...more
More about Roddy Doyle...
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha The Commitments The Woman Who Walked Into Doors A Star Called Henry The Snapper

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