Roddy Doyle is a wonderful and powerful writer. In this book he offers up a slice of life from the poor working class in Ireland. Paula, Doyle's protagonist, narrates the tragic story of her experience as a battered and abused wife. The story is heartwrenching and the dialog alone places the reader in the heart of Ireland. The characters are very convincing. However, the book left me with a sense of helplessness and doom. Paula survives and is a much stronger person at the end of the story but the problem of spousal abuse prevails as an inherant and ignored fact of life among Ireland's poor.