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

4.28  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,359 Ratings  ·  132 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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Marit Lien Nah, there is an awful lot of swearing and sex references.
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Oct 06, 2014 Cphe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: irish, humour, poignant
Really enjoyed this trilogy featuring the Rabbitte family from a town outside of Dublin. It was the second and third book in the trilogy which really captured my attention.
All of the books are written with humour but important themes such as family ties, self respect and friendship are well expressed.

I initially had some difficulty with some of the wording but as I read on it was easy to get the gist of what the author was saying. I laughed out loud in places and even though the trilogy was extr
Oct 02, 2012 Eh?Eh! rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Emma Flanagan
I read the trilogy for my Goodreads Ireland bookclub. We'd selected it as it has just been announced as next years Dublin One City, One Book. I was familiar with the films of The Commitments and The Snapper but had never read the books, and I knew nothing about The Van.

Doyle really captures the spirit, the character, and the language of Dubliners. The city through its people springs off the page.

The three books follow different members of the Rabbite family. The Commitments follows Jimmy Jr. t
Sarah Beaudoin
Apr 29, 2008 Sarah Beaudoin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Dec 07, 2008 Ben rated it really liked it
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 --
Jul 13, 2010 Justin rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
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
Nicole Pesce
Jun 27, 2010 Nicole Pesce rated it it was amazing
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
Donna McCaul Thibodeau
This was a reread for me, as I read all these novels years ago. I think I enjoyed them more when I was younger. I also saw the three films. The Commitments was a rarity - the film was much better than the book. It really fleshed out the characters and Doyle's spare prose. The Snapper was better. The relationship between Sharon and her father was well written. I didn't really care for the way the pregnancy came about, however. The Van was the longest and went into a lot of detail as to the relati ...more
Nov 01, 2014 Sara rated it really liked it
[Review coming]!
Marit Lien
About a boy, who decides to form a soul group with his mates to bring the people's music to the people. Because he means that the irish are the niggers of Europe.
Personally I found it really charming, though a bit slow. A few remarkable and lovable characters in there, but I felt like I was reading a 150 pages long short story. 2 stars for this title.

The snapper shows a different side of the Rabbitte family, seeing as 90 % of the commitments was just them sing
Cláudia Parra
Jan 19, 2013 Cláudia Parra rated it really liked it
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.
Mar 10, 2009 Maureen rated it it was ok
Shelves: bibliobabes
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
Jul 28, 2014 Andrew Davis rated it really liked it
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
Jan 06, 2016 Godlarvae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
Attracted by one of the best movies I've ever seen, "The Commitments", I found his trilogy to be a meticulous, delicate, almost "stream of thought" set of masterpieces. Once one learns the meter/ tempo of the writing, a whole new peek into an entirely different society is given. Roddy is able to describe, through his depictions, the microscopic human dilemma/condition we mammals find ourselves in, with an "ease" that boggles one's mind . . . Thought processes, interactions, emotions, personaliti ...more
Oct 04, 2013 Paula rated it it was amazing
Fair play te ya, Mr. Doyle. Ya big bollix.
Dec 15, 2015 Valerie rated it really liked it
Three books about 3 different members of a blue-collar Irish family. The Commitments is about the eldest son and his fascination with music. A successful band, The Commitments, is too successful for its own good. Jimmy is the manager, who goes on to become a DJ. The Snapper is about the eldest daughter and her pregnancy. The snapper is a term for baby. With this pregnancy we begin to hear more about the father, Jimmy Sr, as he decides with a grandchild on the way he must become a more respectabl ...more
Abraham Thunderwolf
Jan 24, 2013 Abraham Thunderwolf rated it really liked it
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
Dec 07, 2013 Hannah rated it liked it
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
Mar 27, 2008 will rated it it was amazing
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 it was amazing
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
Aug 03, 2009 Stephanie rated it liked it
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
David Haws
Mar 24, 2015 David Haws rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
Jimmy Sr. is a great characterization. Maybe I feel this way because of the quirky Barrytown dialect, or because I’ve seen Colm Meany’s interpretation of the character at least a dozen times, but I can’t help the sense that Jimmy Sr. belongs (as a genre entry) among the pantheon of great characters, which might include (in his category) Falstaff and the Wife of Bath. Similarly, Roland Deschain belongs there with Huckleberry Finn. But then Roland and Huckleberry were both ordinary people doing ex ...more
Mar 11, 2011 Ardesia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: xxxbc
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
Mar 24, 2013 Chuck rated it really liked it
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
Melanie Briggs
May 22, 2014 Melanie Briggs rated it liked it
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
Jan 11, 2014 Karen M rated it really liked it
Shelves: series, fiction
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
Siraj Shaikh
Mar 07, 2015 Siraj Shaikh marked it as to-read
It might not be too profound, but I got hooked immediately. And apparently I'm not the only one. All in all, this was one of the most entertaining books that I've read.
Debbie Manning
Nov 08, 2014 Debbie Manning rated it it was amazing
Read em all!! Laugh out loud and real life poignancy leaps off of the pages.
Jan 04, 2013 Bunyette rated it it was amazing
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
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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 about Roddy Doyle...

Other Books in the Series

The Barrytown Trilogy (3 books)
  • The Commitments
  • The Snapper (The Barrytown Trilogy, #2)
  • The Van (The Barrytown Trilogy, #3)

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