Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  11,899 ratings  ·  512 reviews
Roddy Doyle dazzled and delighted readers with his "Barrytown Trilogy," beginning with The Commitments, hailed by critics as the freshest and funniest first novel in years. Now, in his latest novel, a number-one best-seller in England and Ireland, Doyle takes us to a new level of emotional richness with the story of a young boy trying to make sense of his world.

It is 1968....more
Hardcover, 282 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Viking Books (first published 1993)
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Community Reviews

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Steve
I hate to think that I’m susceptible to some merchandiser’s power of suggestion, but as soon as hearts and Cupids give way to shamrocks and leprechauns (typically Feb. 15), my thoughts often turn towards the Emerald Isle. Of course, when the lovely lass I married accompanied me there last year to celebrate a round-number anniversary, I can be forgiven for thinking about it even more, right? Beyond the history, scenery, culture, silver-tongued locals and tasty libations, there’s the draw of their...more
El
Patrick "Paddy" Clarke is a 10-year-old boy growing up in 1960s Ireland who has good and bad times with his friends, loves and hates his little brother (and has no use for his baby sisters because they don't do anything worthwhile yet), tells lies to his friends and his teachers in order to gain their appreciation and respect, and who wants nothing more than to understand (and fix) the problems that begin to erupt between his parents. As an oldest child he feels it his position to protect his yo...more
Richard Reviles Censorship Always in All Ways
Rating: An irritable 3* of five

Ugh.

Books written in the voice of a child had best use that technique for a reason...the child's perspective becomes wearing unless there is some very, very compelling narrative reason to make us follow a kid around without wanting to scream blue murder after a while.

I don't find any such compelling reason in this book. I don't find anything compelling at all in this book, as a matter of fact.

Ireland sounds damned good and dreary, and I am rethinking my desire to v...more
Faith
I'm very glad I found Roddy Doyle. (Thanx Nick Hornby and Speaking to the Angels.) Cause Paddy Clarke HaHaHa is just like I like a book. It reminds me a lot of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, one of my favorite books. One of the books I truly love. They've got more in common than the comic style. They're both about Irish childhoods. Frankie McCourt's in the late 30s and early 40s. Paddy Clarke's in the late 60s. "It is 1968. Paddy Clarke is 10 years old, breathless with discovery." Writes Irish...more
Lisa
Sep 09, 2014 Lisa rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Lisa by: Booker Prize Yahoo group
Shelves: ireland, 20thcentury
It took me much longer than it should have to finish this slight, inconsequential novel. It won the Booker in 1993, but it's a bit of a mystery why that was so. I would have given the prize to Remembering Babylon by David Malouf, a much better and more significant book in every way.


Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha is written in the voice of Paddy, nine years old in the 1960s, watching The Man From UNCLE on TV and observing his parents' marriage break up. It's impressionistic, with (paraphrasing Jung here, t...more
Portia S
This was okay.

I haven't been feeling well lately, and every-time I neared the end (95%, 98%) I fell asleep on myself, but finally I've finished.

Now, if you look back on my progress, I took roughly a million years to complete this (an entire month). And it wasn't because of all the school work and stuff, cause I got that done. I just feel overwhelmingly lazy and disenchanted with reading right now I think. It's not length or anything, it's just me.

REVIEW STARTS HERE:

Starting the book was great...more
Brad
Dec 28, 2011 Brad rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Marci Simkulet
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim (although square brackets indicate some additional information for readability) from all those years ago. It is one of my lost reviews.

When I tell others about this novel I talk about Roddy Doyle's voice and how he captures the thought patterns of children so well; I mention certain tales Patrick tells,...more
Linda Lipko
If anyone can answer my question, I'd love to know the answer. Why is it that books written by Irish authors or told about the Irish seem to consistently focus on a) drinking b) abuse c) poverty d) dysfunction???? Is there joy in Ireland?

While reviews are primarily positive about this book, for many reasons, I simply reacted to the fact that it was yet another angst filled tale of an Irish child witnessing cruelty, and acting out with cruelty, harming those around him, including his younger sibl...more
Laysee
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, the 1993 Booker Prize Winner, is no Ha Ha Ha story even though there is no lack of Ha Ha Ha moments, as you cannot help but be entertained by the antics of a bunch of 10-year-old boys. Roddy Doyle brilliantly captured the psychology of children and created a credible world of childhood play and dialogue that rang true and real. Paddy and his little brother, Sinbad, spent their school day enduring the tyranny of less than inspiring teachers who could all but “kill” them. Th...more
Colleen
This book won the 1993 Booker Prize. I tend to love Irish authors and books like this one, in which I can hear the brogue in the dialog. This book did a wonderful job of putting the reader in the reality of boys ages 8 to 10 and their relationships. The reader is fully immersed in their neighborhood and given a strong sense of place throughout the novel. The reader gets insight into the bullying (even toward beloved pals and siblings), petty crimes, and other stunts pulled by the main characters...more
Ola Cader
This is one of the very few books I've read twice, and the only one I liked even more when reading it for the second time. I kept following my husband, reading every other paragraph to him. I would like to force everyone to admit how brilliant the book is but at the same time I would like to keep it to myself.
When I was reading Paula Spencer I was thinking that Roddy Doyle must have spent hours talking to women, or rather listening to them. Reading Paddy Clarke... made me think he must have spe...more
Philip
Patrick Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle is an unusual, highly original account of life in a Northern Ireland Catholic household. Written from the point of view of Paddy, the eldest son, aged ten, of the Clarke family, it draws the reader through a particular experience of childhood.

There is a child’s wonder at the new. There are strange facts about the world to be unearthed and challenges to face like a man. But when you are ten, there is also always the rock of parents, ma and pa, ma and da, mum...more
Fabian
“Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha” Roddy Doyle. 6/30/12

I hate to be facetious about this, but it’s true: I love to read good books as much as I love to discover which ones are actual impostors—that is, which ones are overrated past the norm, books like “On the Road,” “Catcher in the Rye,” and anything by Ayn Rand. Yuck. Well, this one won the Booker, which I can only guess is a HUGE deal. But I guess the year this book was published there were a few other, if any, contenders for the top prize.

It’s certainl...more
Malbadeen
I had a hard time focusing on this book for the first 1/2ish. The style (no chapter breaks, stream of conscious) doesn't lend itself to tidy leaving off points between readings but when I was able to sit for longer stretches and not be distracted by homework and work work I LOVED it!

What stands out to me most is Doyle's ability to bring back his 10 year old voice. I underlined the hell out of this book because I kept being amazed at how he could call up that voice for a word or a sentence so con...more
Shanmugam
Kids' world in a kid's words.

Kids do naughty antics, kids go to schools, kids form gangs, kids play football, kids fight with each other and kids grow. Barrytown is going through changes in a year, just like any other town. 10-year-old Patrick Clarke's family is going through changes, like many families.

In a way, this novel is a memoir of mundane things. What makes this novel an extraordinary one is, the narration by young Patrick. There is no chronological order in the plot, still you won't mi...more
Amber
I would have given this book zero quite happily. Was forced to read this for my two GCSE years and hated every second. For some reason the author expects us to like the lead character who likes doing nothing more than bullying and physically torturing his friends and brother. The language is basic which is supposed to reflect the child narrator but was actually just incredibly irritating. Despite having missed reading several chunks of the book I recieved an A* in my GCSE indicating just how pre...more
Kari
I would rarely rate a book under 3 stars because I really respect the hard work and dedication authors put into a novel. And I can almost always see how the book would really appeal to some people, even if I didn't like it myself. But maybe I need to start being a little tougher with my ratings. Yes, I can definitely see how any boy who grew up in Ireland in the 1960s might love this book -- the details are amazing, the characters will likely remind you of kids you knew and played with back then...more
Christian Schwoerke
This is an exuberantly narrated novel, the rambling vibrant words of 10-year-old Patrick (Paddy) Clarke, with long stretches of dialogue and conversation perfectly set down. Roddy Doyle uses the voice of young Paddy Clarke, and his sensibility, to tell a story that is full of life and innocence and wonder and discovery. But at the same time he has Paddy Clarke see and divulge more and more about things that come to trouble him and that he can’t understand or control. This technique of using a na...more
Martin Boyle
After Possession I needed something a little more down to earth, shorter and easier to read. Following A.S. Byatt's 1990 Booker winner, the contrast could hardly be greater with Roddy Doyle's 1993 prize.

Earthy it is: the world seen through the eyes of Paddy, behaving as he thinks he ought to (even when his heart really isn't in it) and his interaction with his "friends," neighbours, teachers and family. A world of casual violence, of thoughtlessness to neighbours, is also filled with inquisitive...more
Julie
I've read an embarrassingly large number of books, and I can tell you. . . there isn't one out there that captures a childhood, or the perspective from a 10-year-old child, better than this one.

Not just any childhood, and certainly not any in 2014 in a middle-class or affluent neighborhood, where the children can now be found indoors, and in silence, save the hum of their tv or computer.

No, these are the childhoods that many of us, before, say 1985, experienced in our low and middle class neighb...more
Leslie
This book was a masterful piece of writing. Paddy Clarke, his little brother Sinbad, best friend Kevin, and an entire cast of wild boys grow up untended outside Dublin in the 1960s, and brought me waves of nostalgia about my own childhood. It was a different time, one in which I adored doing whatever I pleased all day long without much chance of being hurt or kidnapped or herded into camps to do educational activities. As a matter of fact, it only got really good when we all got bored. No one wa...more
Book Concierge
Patrick Clarke Jr is 10 years old, the oldest of four children. He spends most of his time hanging out with his mates (including his little brother Francis – a/k/a Sinbad), trying to stay out of trouble with his strict teacher Mr Hennesey (a/k/a Henno), and observing the changes in his Barrytown neighborhood in about 1968. Patrick and his friends find a lot of adventure exploring construction sites, shoplifting from various merchants (not because they need the item stolen, but because they need...more
Christina
Irish writers will break your heart. Not in a sweet, tender or bitter way. The effect is much more brutal for its ordinariness and inevitability. (I am also thinking of Colm Toibin's 'Brooklyn' here, I guess). They lure you in with the quick and often hilarious wit of their protagonists, and Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is delivered with a lilting melody of local terms and accents that pick you up and carry you along at a cracking and often rhythmic pace. And then, when you least expect i...more
Josh Stoll
This book was not what I thought it would be. I thought it would just be an amusing and fun YA novel, but it turned out to be a pretty (albeit often hilarious) look at growing up through the eyes of a child who's forced to grow up too quickly. Paddy Clarke, the main character, is incredibly well-handled-- the author never panders to his age, or treat him condescendingly, but he writes the character in this really appropriately disjointed form, as if a young boy is telling the story of his life t...more
Clive Thompson
Brilliantly written through the mind of a ten-year-old boy who is discovering the world with great appetite. This novel catches the mood of a time and, for some of us who are old enough, will bring back fond memories. The following passage can be looked on as a test of 'Were you there?.'

"We had to eat the sandwiches; there was no place to hide them. They were nice; egg. They'd gone real flat; there were no holes left in the bread. We had a can of Fanta between us, me and Sinbad. Ma wouldn't let...more
Shahirah
I enjoyed this book. It was a little bit hard to follow at first, because it doesn't go chronologically, and also because of the stream-of-consciousness style of writing, but I got used to it and it definitely intensified my overall appreciation of the book.

Narrated by the titular character, a 10-year-old Irish boy, the story starts off with the insouciance of childhood. Paddy's childhood escapades with his gang of friends are typically carefree and happy.

Initially we get little glimpses of tr...more
James Barker
A few weeks ago I was infuriated by 'Hideous Kinky,' a novel purporting to be narrated by a five year old girl. Linguistically all wrong, the story fell down due to these discrepancies. Happily, 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha,' told from the POV of a ten year old boy, is a masterclass of perception and imaginative writing. This is a boy's voice speaking about the things within his frame of reference, staccato musings that centre on family and its comforts and agonies, the hierarchy of friends and school...more
Helene
I've had this book for quite a while but only recently picked it up to read. I had read the reviews when it was first out and won the Booker. I'm not sure why I waited so long, but it wasn't a fast read.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Commitments movie -the music more than the language, so I was expecting more of the same. Not so, though I've never read Joyce's Ulysses, I'm going out on a limb here and saying I think this is the 10 year-old version of that type of steam of consciousness.

It took a bit...more
Connor
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle


This is a very fun, loose book about the childhood of a boy named Patrick, or as he is often referred to, Paddy. Paddy is a 10 year old boy who is constantly trying to grow up, and act as an adult. One way he tries to act grown up is when he is trying to impress his dad. He often says very subtle things that are attempts and impressing his “Da.” An example early in the book is when Da is flushing the mouse down the toilet and Paddy says, “The life expectancy o...more
Ann
Alternating between tears and laughter, the saga of 10-year-old Paddy Clarke is quite unforgettable. Many of the episodes of Paddy and his mob are funny and/or frightening - I guess little girls are really quite different!!;-) Amid his schoolwork and roughhousing, Paddy develops a growing sense of the friction between his parents, and his inability to intervene. Doyle also envelops the reader in a strong sense of time and place, in the fictional Barrytown,Ireland, in 1968.
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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...
The Commitments The Woman Who Walked Into Doors A Star Called Henry The Snapper The Van (movie tie-in)

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“It was a sign of growing up, when the dark made no more difference to you than the day.” 20 likes
“Fuck was the best word. The most dangerous word. You couldn't whisper it. Fuck was always too loud, too late to stop it, it burst in the air above you and fell slowly right over your head. There was total silence, nothing but Fuck floating down. For a few seconds you were dead, waiting for Henno to look up and see Fuck landing on top of you. They were thrilling seconds-when he didn't look up. It was a word you couldn't say anywhere. It wouldn't come out unless you pushed it. It made you feel caught and grabbed you the minute you said it. When it escaped it was like an electric laugh, a soundless gasp followed by the kind of laughing only forbidden things could make, an inside tickle that became a brilliant pain, bashing at your mouth to be let out. It was agony. We didn't waste it.” 17 likes
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