Tiny Pants's Reviews > Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
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May 27, 12

bookshelves: fiction
Read in May, 2012 — I own a copy

This book had caught my eye when it came out, but I had forgotten about it until I spotted a humidity-swollen, mold-spotted copy at Funkytown in Honduras (I traded in my copy of [title: The Wonder Spot] for it). The guy who owns the trade shop said I'd love it (and later told my traveling companion we both had good taste, and should swap books with each other when we finished them) and he was right. Well, he was right that I'd love it, but he was wrong that I'd be willing to trade it!

This is one of those books where you read it and you wonder how the author ever came up with it -- where I think to myself, no, I couldn't do this. The plot is so dense, and you're so often tacking back and forth between the past and the present, different characters, real and unreal worlds, the theoretical and the actual, that even though I found it compulsively readable, I often took breaks in my reading just to slow down and take stock of what was going on. On more than one occasion, I even found myself flipping back to re-read a passage. I liked it so well in the end that I found myself trying to slow down, to prolong the reading, though for the last hundred pages or so this just was not possible.

Murray captures so many things so well, but in particular the casual cruelty of adolescents. The few women in the book come off as a bit caricatured, but in the context, even that worked for me -- they played the roles needed of them, and they played them well. Though this book reminded me a great deal of [title: Special Topics in Calamity Physics], in the end I liked it better.
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