BORSTAL BOY is the autobiographical record of Behan's experiences from that day through his imprisonment, trial, remand to reform school and final release. Schools for delinquents in England are c...more
Having finished it and pondered over it, I am glad i read it but it is an unsettling book. Borstal Boy is an auto ...more
Think Prisonbreak but with almost no escapees and definitely no rape, sodomy, gang wars and drugs. In Borstal Boy, there are just f ...more
( just to note : I was amused to read a review in which the reader lamented the lack of sodomy and violence. Were they reading the same book I did? Or is it that subtlety is lost on them? Was also a bit shocked to hear it described as 'boring' Perhaps folk's appetites have been so dulled by misery porn that they can't cope with more than a straight forward catalogue of horrors. Shame that, because it means the nuances and layer ...more
I was inspired to pick up Borstal Boy having come across a reference to it in (the marvellous) Handsome Brute: The Story of a Ladykiller. Neville Heath, a once infamous 1940s British murderer, was incarcerated, before he was convicted of murder, with Brendan Behan at Hollesley Bay borstal in Suffolk.
Brendan Behan was arrested in Liverpool, aged 16, with explosives and the intention of blowing up the Liverpool dock. The first section of the b ...more
Though tame for contemporary readers, this is the Cooks Tour of the world 'inside', circa early forties, in the north of England. Oddly enou ...more
"John Howard, ...more
Behan was a most delightful writer.
A great tale of a heavy life, with heavy drinking and flying fists the size of melons.
This is a rare glimpse into the 24/7 of a young man who is basically in the Irish version of Juvie for being an active member of the I.R.A. - stranded in Britain a ...more
Raised in a prominent Dublin family and well-educated, at age 16 the future Irish playwright Brendan Behan attempted to blow up Liverpool docks as part of an unauthorized mission for the IRA, at the start of World War II in 1939. Behan was arrested and spent time in a rough English jail, then in a borstal for juvenile delinquents. He desc ...more
Interesting to see that in 1930s Britain terrorist activities were not regarded with the level of hysteria that now prevails and that he was sent back to Ireland after serving three years in a relatively benign environment.
The book is quite a good read, though overly long. By the time it was 3/4 through, I felt that he had run out of things to say and the ...more
In the end, as Behan would put it, it all comes down to people.
Remember the it describes prison life. The language is of the lowest form of Cockney/Irish/English dialect laced with enough profanity to make a dockyard stevedore blush. These aren't choir boys. Fully ha ...more
I read the book after watching the film. I absolutely loved them both and would highly recommend them. They were, however, separate beasts. I would describe them as fraternal twins: from the same place, but very different. If you were to take that further and assign a gender to each, then the book woul ...more
In all, his storytelling is endearing and entertaining to say the least. Behan portrays himself as a proud Irishman, and a proud member of the IRA, but very well-edu ...more
Beautifully written, Indignant, passionate, funny, humane and starring an engaging character called Brendan Behan who develops as the book unfolds. part of the books attraction is that Behan doesn't big note himself and isn't above making fun of himself or admitting his own doubts and fears. At times the story drags as conversations and days are related in detail, but he's a fine story teller, the model is verbal rather literar ...more
It was boring and I was forced to read it, so there's that. It's just... it took more than half the book before it even got slightly interesting and yeah, I can appreciate that this was an influencial book and all, but hell was it boring. NOTHING HAPPENED. He got a book about the IRA and stuff in the ward-thingy he was in, which looked like it would be important to the story but nope, they never mentioned it again..
(view spoiler)[AND THEN THEY KILLED OFF CHARLIE?! I DON'T UNDERSTAND. Fu ...more
Behan was born in the inner city of Dublin on 9 February 1923 into an educated working class family. He lived in a house on Russell Stree ...more