Carry Me Down
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Carry Me Down

3.28 of 5 stars 3.28  ·  rating details  ·  1,496 ratings  ·  166 reviews
John Egan is a misfit — "a twelve year old in the body of a grown man with the voice of a giant" — who diligently keeps a "log of lies." John's been able to detect lies for as long as he can remember, it's a source of power but also great consternation for a boy so young. With an obsession for the Guinness Book of Records, a keenly inquisitive mind, and a kind of faith, Jo...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published January 23rd 2007 by Canongate (first published 2006)
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I told Karen part way through this book that she would like it. At the time there was something dark and creepy about the book and it felt kind of like Liz Jensen or Ali Smith novels can feel at times. The only thing is that the creepy feeling and foreshadowing never really come to much here. Or they do but not in a way that I found dark enough.

The book works best when it feels like it is building up to something. The story that is told from the perspective from an adult sized twelve year old....more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 08, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2010)
A somewhat different reading experience. The prose is simple and it slowly builds up into something dark and scary, then it just fritters away. However, when you finally close the book, you are left satisfied although you know you did not reach the climax because there is none.

John Egan is an 11-y/o Irish boy who is an only child. His father has not worked for 3 years so he and his parents live with his grandmother, his father's mother. Her grandmother lives with his husband's money and she spe...more
Carry Me Down by M.J. Hyland.

I was referred to M.J. Hyland, an author I hadn't previously heard of, by the algorithm at I found this book quite disturbing when I read it, so much so that I felt I needed some distance before I could articulate my thoughts about it in a review.

A couple of months later, I think I have a better understanding of why I found the book so disturbing. Some basic information about the book: it's a first-person account, in the voice of 12-year old John Egan,...more
Mar 07, 2011 jo rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: parents of teenagers, ex-troubled teens
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Betty  Cooper
Mar 27, 2008 Betty Cooper rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: boys, perhaps they'd connect more readily to the main character.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
I am not going to be an a$$hole about this book. I am not going to say it was written poorly (because it wasn't). I'm not going to say that the story wasn't interesting (because it kind of was). I'm not going to say that Hyland does not have the chops to be a great writer (not that she isn't already). What I will say is that the book is one of the most inane, preposterous, and lame stories I have ever read. This is seriously weird because Hyland first novel, How the Light Gets In was really good...more
The book was written in 2006 by Hyland, a female author born in London of Irish parents. She was born in 1968 so that makes her 38 at the time she wrote this book. Maybe she was influenced by Edna O'Brien's book. The story is of an 11 year old soon to be 12 boy who lives with his father, mother and grandmother in Gorey, Ireland. He is different than other children. John Egan is big for his age. He is an only child and he is fascinated with the Guinness Book of World Records and would like to vis...more
Jayne Charles
The best thing about this book was its narrator John, an overly tall 11-year-old who eats sandwiches pretty much constantly, and who believes himself to be an infallible lie-detector. The author cleverly retreats into the background and allows the voice of her protagonist, with his many eccentricities and insecurities, take centre stage. It's a great piece of writing. One minute I was admiring the measured way John handles bullying, and the next I was thinking: crikey, this is one disturbed kid....more
John Egan is a man-sized, child-aged lie detector and has been sending letters to the folks at Guinness Books to share his special skill. He most often gets to test his ability on his moody, big talk-little action father, whose lies end with John Egan getting physically ill. This self-ascribed specialness is John’s single safety pocket in a world where he struggles to find common ground with his father, has a borderline creepy relationship with his mother and his classmates know him as the freak...more
hylands 2nd book. i read her most recent one first (This Is How), which pushed me to read this. reckon if i read this first, maybe wouldnt have been SO madkeen about This Is How. cos she hasnt developed much in terms of style or content. even tho this is about an 11 yr old irish kid with height issues convinced of his talent for detecting lies, and This Is How is about an older bloke who lives in a seaside dormitory, who, due to his own headfuckedness, SUDDENLY kills the dude across the hall, th...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 10, 2007 Dave rated it 3 of 5 stars Recommends it for: fans of "Extremely Loud..." and "The Curious Incident..."
"Carry Me Down" begins so strongly, with such a profoundly fascinating protagonist, the letdown at the conclusion was probably inevitable. Young John Egan is one of the creepiest child characters I've read, and he made reading seemingly innocuous scenes very uncomfortable for me. It's clear from the start that things are going to go very, very wrong for the Egan family, and that John will probably have a lot to do with that.

But when the "very wrong" does happen, it happens quickly, and is over...more
Even though this is a book written through the eyes of an eleven year old, I found it dark and troubling. The thoughts and feelings of John took my breath away. I'm confused about the boys relationship with is dad.
Glad it ended the way it did considering the options the story presented itself with. But it still leaves me wondering about the John as he grows up.
I'm giving it 3 stars because it's not something I would like to read again, but the writing of it was nice.
I really only perservered with this book because we're discussing it at my book club. Despite all the reviews full of praise for this one, I found it dreary, stark and uninspiring. Hyland's definitely a talented writer, but I couldn't empathise with any of the main characters and found myself 'dragged down' by the unremitting bleakness of this book.
It might be a 'worthy' read, but it certainly wasn't for me.
Picked it up in a car and i couldnt put it down. Its not amazing, but somehow it just holds you. I felt like i was waiting for something to happen, but was glad it didnt. or maybe it was the long car ride with people i didnt know. they were nice though, in fact i liked them. this does relate to the book, by the way.
This was a memorising story. The 12 year old narrator John Egan, lives in rural Ireland. His father is a long term unemployed dreamer. His mother tries to make some money through puppet shows and part time work. They live with John's grandmother. At one stage they move to Dublin and live in a community high rise block of apartments.

There is an underlying tension between all four family members. John is nearly 6 foot tall, intelligent, perspective and his main hobby is in reading the Guinness Boo...more
Cărțile în care naratorul e un copil au un soi de inocență brutală, care te marchează oricât de insensibil ai fi. Nu o să uit cât de mult mi-a plăcut ”Cum mi-am petrecut vacanța de vară” a lui T.O.Bobe și ce stil incredibil de amuzant și veridic avea autorul.

”Declinul” e o carte ce expune o imagine tot din prisma unui copil. John Egan are 11 ani și crede că posedă talentul de a fi un ”detector uman de minciuni”. Am apreciat că deși are o vârstă fragedă știe ce vrea de la viață. Să ajungă în Cart...more
Ian Mapp
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 06, 2013 Sandy rated it 2 of 5 stars
Shelves: own, ya
I really wondered what I had read when I finished reading this book. Yes, this is a book about John and he really believes he has the talent to detect when other people are lying. He is dead-set on getting into the Guinness Book of World Records because he wants to be famous and this theme runs throughout the whole book. He lives with his da, his mother and other relatives as he tries to live his normal 12- year old life but as I am reading this book, I am wondering, what is normal? Does John fi...more
A very captivating novel about a young boy named John Egan living in Dublin who discovers he has an unusual gift for detecting when others are lying. This gift/curse is discovered when he sees his father kill a litter of kittens. John asks his father if it bothered him to kill the kittens, and when his father says no, John is violently ill, and becomes convinced that when he hears someone tell him a lie, his physical symptoms are connected to the lie detection. He is determined to get into the G...more
Katie Grainger
Carry Me Down is by no means an easy read. Told from the claustrophobic world of John Egan, we see a narrow minded view of a family's life.

The novel begins simply with the Egan family reading round a table, seemingly they are a happy family but as the saying goes things aren't always what they seem.

We soon learn that John is a lonely boy, slightly feared by his parents due to a growth spurt which as a consequence has led to him being over 6ft tall at eleven. He has only one friend at school who...more
Heather Pearson
John Egan is just twelve years old, yet he is the size of a full grown adult. His teachers and parents find it hard to accept that he is still a child. Like many children that age, he is pre-occupied with a number of items. He loves the Guinness Book of World Records and reads and re-reads them. He yearns to travel to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada and visit the Guinness Museum. He is uncomfortable when people lie to him, so much so that he feels he has become a human lie detector. On top of gro...more
Once I knew a girl who had a growth disorder, so that by the time she was four, she was as tall as a child twice her age, and by the time she was ten, she was as tall as many adults. The problem with this, was that people, even those who knew her, tended to expect her to behave in a way which suited her height, not her age. Understandably, this caused many problems, but none so deep as those of John Egan, the 11-year-old boy in this book.

John is a sensitive boy in a small town in Ireland who rea...more
Wow, Hyland certainly likes getting under the skin of disturbed people. Her books aren't stories so much as character studies, slices of life in which readers are given a glimpse of what it's like to be someone other.

Eleven year old John lives with his mother, father and granny in country Ireland. It's 1970-something and life for John is changing in ways he can't understand. For one thing he's growing up -- and I mean, UP. He's nearing six feet and his voice has broken. But this doesn't worry hi...more
I didn't like this book. Lucky for me it's a relatively short and easy read, so it didn't hold up the task too much. But for the last 24 hours I've been trying to fathom why I wasn't keen, and I just can't do it. It didn't help that my charity shop copy had two sets of pages 215-246 and then no 247-277, so I had to buy it FULL PRICE from Borders in York to finish on the train. But really, that has no bearing.

The central charater, John Egan, believe he is a human lie detector, and is a young man...more
I didn’t find this one particularly enjoyable. The writing, as usual, was superb and lured me in. Her skill in bringing people and situations to life really shone through in the first few chapters in which the kittens were killed. I was reading that particular scene in a bookshop at the time, and I couldn’t help physically cringing. Although this sort of writing may turn off some, I found that although I am not a fan of horror of any kind, I do appreciate an author who can make me feel, and Hyla...more
About half way through this novel, I was worried that it was another example of what has become something of a genre - miserable and depressing books set in Ireland. I have lost count of the ones I have read. Angela’s Ashes, a memoir of a terrible and poverty-stricken childhood, is a good example and probably the daddy of the genre. But earlier in this blog there is a post about a novel that fits pretty well, too.

But this book is much better than that. It is all narrated through the character of...more
Susie Peky
Oh gosh where do I start?
I finished the book and I'm so glad that I did. It seemed like the longest book I've ever read.

I really dislike the book. It has a theme of a monotone Irish life that I am quite familiar with, but i guess that my life experiences contributed to that opinion.

I think I might have misunderstood the book though. I don't understand what Hyland tried to represent with the story of a young boy who can detect lies.The book is like a collection of irrelevant events that happen to...more
I found this book really interesting. Its told from the point of view of an 11 year old Irish boy living in a fairly unstalbe. family. He is very tall foor his age, very akward and kind of puts people off. He is also very loving, funny, and perceptive. The book is kind of like a curious incident of the dog in night in that its really a window into the mind of someone who is not like everybody else. Except, in the Curious incident, as the reader you know to take the protaganist view of the world...more
MJ Hyland’s second novel, Carry Me Down, is an unsettling story that captures the apprehension and displacement of being in between childhood and adolescence. John is a young boy in the body almost of a man - at eleven years old he’s already almost six foot, an incongruity that I found constantly jolting me. Convinced that he has a special gift for detecting lies, he is fixated on discovering the truth and deciphering his parents’ behaviour. His mother’s treatment of him is inconsistent, and his...more
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M.J. Hyland was born in London to Irish parents in 1968 and spent her early childhood in Dublin. She studied English and law at the University of Melbourne, Australia and worked as a lawyer for several years. Her first novel, How the Light Gets In (2003) was short-listed for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Age Book of the Year and also took third place in the Barnes & Noble, Discover G...more
More about M.J. Hyland...
How the Light Gets In This Is How The BBC National Short Story Award 2011 Le Voyage De Lou Il bambino che non sapeva mentire

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