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Paddy Clarke ah ah ah!

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  16,614 Ratings  ·  662 Reviews
"Sometimes when nothing happened it was really getting ready to happen." Irish Paddy rampages through Barrytown streets with like-minded hooligans, playing cowboys, etching names in wet concrete, setting fires. The gang are not bad boys, just restless. When his parents argue, Paddy stays up all night to keep them safe. Change always comes, not always for the better.
Paperback, 285 pages
Published January 1st 1999 by TEA (first published 1993)
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Mar 17, 2014 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 22, 2012 Fabian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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,” or 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 certainly not awful. It’s actually entertaining, read
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha reminded me of another famous Irish novel, Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy. Both are narrated by a young boys who grow up in Ireland during the 1960's, and both make use of vernacular and local folklore. The Butcher Boy was shortlisted for the Booker in 1992, and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won it in 1993.

But don't be dissuaded from reading Paddy Clarke... by thinking that it's more of the same - both books are novels of childhood in the same country at roughly the same time, bu
Rebecca McNutt
A strikingly powerful portrait of a dysfunctional family and the boy acting as the glue holding it together, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a nostalgic Irish novel with many profound themes hidden beneath childish innocence.
Mar 13, 2016 Suzy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: St. Patrick!
Doyle, one of my favorite authors, nails the stream-of-consciousness of a young boy, Paddy Clarke of the title. While not exactly spelled out, I think Paddy, our narrator, is about 8 when the book starts and 10 when it finishes. He and his mate Kevin are the defacto leaders of a band of boys who rove a developing subdivision in late 1960's Ireland, wreaking havoc on themselves and anyone who might be in their way. I kept picturing the antics of my two younger brothers in our developing subdivisi ...more
James Barker
Feb 16, 2013 James Barker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker-schmooker, ire
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
Jan 26, 2008 El rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Se qualcuno, come me, pensasse che “Paddy Clarke ah ah ah” sia un libro divertente, grazie al quale sorridere e svagarsi dai problemi che ci rincorrono, come volevo fare io leggendolo, si sbaglia. “Paddy Clarke ah ah ah” è un libro molto triste, che rilascia sofferenza, una sofferenza che per noi adulti è la peggiore, quella dei bambini a causa del comportamento degli adulti.
Il libro racconta le avventure di una banda di ragazzini dublinesi negli anni ’60, raccontata in prima persona da Paddy Cl
Richard Derus
Rating: An irritable 3* of five


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
Linda Lipko
Sep 26, 2010 Linda Lipko rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jan 11, 2009 Faith rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2005
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
Ola Cader
Aug 03, 2011 Ola Cader rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
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.
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 spent hours listening to children. I really appreciate books where child characters seem so real, because few people are willing to listen to what kids really have to say.
I love Roddy Doyle f
Dec 31, 2010 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Booker Prize Yahoo group
Shelves: c20th, ireland
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
Mar 15, 2014 Julie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 06, 2015 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tutto-doyle
How much the point of view changes with age! I read the italian translation the year it was published, and I loved it. Moreover, it was a present from a friend of mine and I also loved the time and effort she put into looking for a book that could meet my taste.
23 years later (oh my god!) I really want to give Paddy and his gang a good spanking. I don't think it is just me, though: a lot of things he could have got away with in 1993 fall today under the category of bullying. But when you realize
Maria Thomarey
3,5 χα χα χα τι ωραία και διασκεδαστική σειρά βιβλίων#not . Τα θέματα που διαπραγματεύεται ο συγγραφέας σε όλα του τα βιβλία είναι μάλλον άβολα . Η ηταν άβολα την αποχή της ευημερίας μας . Τώρα ξανάγιναν πραγματικότητα"μόδα"
Greta tra le righe
La risata del titolo è una risata forzata, costruita, innaturale, quella di un bambino che ama inventare le cose perché arrivare in fondo alla bugia senza contraddizioni è vincere una sfida con sé stessi, un bambino che in mezzo alla sua cricca d'amici deve ridere più forte degli altri, ed accertarsi che gli altri lo stiano guardando, si stiano accorgendo della sua voce, stiano riconoscendo il suo sforzo di farsi notare. La risata del titolo è solo una forma, una posa, una maschera. Qualcosa che ...more
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
«Ma il tango è un ballo che si balla in due.»

Alla fine con quest'affermazione Patrick Clarke, anni dieci, Paddy per gli amici, Roddy Doyle per i lettori, mi è venuto in aiuto e mi ha fatto sentire meno in colpa.

Sarà che io non sono mai stata un bambino, piuttosto una "piccola donna".
Sarà che i giochi di strada non li ho mai fatti.
Sarà che di Irlanda, alla fine, in questo romanzo ce n'è pochissima.
Sarà che io sono una seguace entusiasta di Agnes Browne e della dolce melanconironia di Brendan O'Ca
Mar 26, 2008 Brad rated it it was amazing  ·  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,
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.


Starting the book was great
Jan 24, 2011 Laysee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 16, 2011 Christina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2011
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
Aug 07, 2011 Amber rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
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
Thomas Edmund
Dec 04, 2014 Thomas Edmund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Few books successfully capture the experience of a child, fewer still manage to both capture the perspective of a child with a thorough comment on 'adult' issues. In Paddy Clarke Doyle comments on religion, politics, Ireland, family dynamics (and probably more stuff I didn't pick up on)

The story is light-hearted in prose, but deep in content which creates a somewhat awkward but fulfilling story. A good length too, leaving one satiated without gagging for more (or bored throughout)
Ali Nazifpour
Jun 10, 2015 Ali Nazifpour rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most compelling novels I have ever read. Certainly no other book I've seen captures the voice of a child narrator so faithfully, and so strikingly. The book doesn't censor the ugly realities of childhood, and it doesn't shade over the innocence of Patrick, a young boy at the same time cruel and sweet, in a world much bigger than him and with life happening while he comprehends almost nothing.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Started this for a book speed date and wasn't gripped 50 pages in. Will donate to local literacy sale.
Dec 22, 2011 Philip rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 27, 2015 Sandra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paddy is proud to have the same name as his dad. He is 10. It is 1968. Paddy is mostly outside, playing with his friends. They terrorize the neighborhood, frighten other children, build small forts from what they find and test each others strength and bravery. Just what boys do at this age. Though, Paddy is a bit different. He is not inferior compared to the others and always the first trying something new. That’s why he always comes back home with wounded knees and torn clothes. Paddy is differ ...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
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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...

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“It was a sign of growing up, when the dark made no more difference to you than the day.” 32 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.” 23 likes
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