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The Dead Fathers Club

3.28  ·  Rating details ·  2,513 ratings  ·  473 reviews
A ghost story with a twist—a suspenseful and poignantly funny update of the Hamlet story.

Eleven-year-old Philip Noble has a big problem: His dad, who was killed in a car accident, appears as a bloodstained ghost at his own funeral and introduces Philip to the Dead Fathers Club. The club, whose members were all murdered, gathers outside the Castle and Falcon, the local pub
Hardcover, 328 pages
Published February 1st 2007 by Viking Books (first published 2006)
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3.28  · 
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 ·  2,513 ratings  ·  473 reviews

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Lucy Banks
May 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I received a copy of this book from Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.

A Hamlet retelling with a very fresh, thought-provoking perspective.

Okay, I'll admit - when I started reading this book, I initially released an internal groan. Not another Shakesepeare interpretation, I thought! What more can be said about Hamlet - the play that's been covered literally hundreds of times in previous works?

Well, as Matt Haig proves, there is a new angle to explore, and he explores it with real panac
Jul 02, 2008 rated it liked it
An update on the Hamlet story, this reads much like "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nightime" (I think that's right) with a yound narrator set to avenge his father's death at the hands of his uncle. And while that voice worked well for the autistic narrator of "Nightime" at times I felt this kid was really stupid for an 11 year old. Perhaps my standards are too high for preteens or perhaps he was just overwhlemed with grief, but that's not my point. Except it might be my point, because I ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it liked it
When it comes to religion I am, at best, apathetic.

I’ve never been much of a believer, although I’ve backed off on my staunch identification as an atheist – realizing eventually that that group’s smug certainty that there is no God is every bit as obnoxious as the holy rollers who proselytize and damn others to hell. I suppose that technically makes me an agnostic, but I think the most accurate description of my religious belief is “I don’t care.” I try to lead a good life, be kind to others, do
Alice-Elizabeth (marriedtobooks)
DNF @ Page 100

I've had this as ongoing reading since February. I do enjoy reading ghost stories, but I chose to DNF this one sadly for personal reasons. I respect Matt as a writer, he is very open about his mental health across his social medias which I respect, since this happened me to open up about my own experiences too. However, this is a story that at this time, I don't want to continue!
J.A. Ironside
Oct 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars rounded up. I love Matt Haig, I really do. This just isn't a favourite as far as his books are concerned. Actually I think it may have spoiled Hamlet for me a bit, which has always been one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. It's a lot more visceral to have the story told you by an eleven year old boy who is struggling with his father's death, than a privileged and somewhat pampered twenty-something prince. It made me quite sad, which bizarrely Hamlet never has before. It's more likely ...more
Sep 17, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
The conversation I would love to have with Matt Haig, author of The Dead Fathers Club.* We would be sitting in a small diner drinking our hot beverage of choice.

So I said “Hey.”
And He said “Hey, you wanted to talk.”
And I said “I just finished your book The Dead Fathers Club.
And He said “What did you think?”
And I said “I was a little underwhelmed.”
And He said “Why.”
And I said “The Dialogue was a little clunky.”
And He said “In what way?”
And I said “This style is tortuous to listen to and read.”
Kirsty ❤️
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it
This is an updated version of Hamlet. It's quite an interesting concept but I struggled with this one and only just managed to finish it. There's not a whole lot of punctuation and that bothered me. 

It does have a charm to it and I applaud the experimental attempt but overall this one didn't quite work for me#

Free arc from netgalley
This was on my booklist. I found this to be an entertaining book to listen on tape. The prose is comical. The point of view is amusing. It is indeed "more than a nod to 'Hamlet'," yet light. The narration was both charmingly well done. Unlike other Audio Books, my attention was never lost. I think in many ways if I had read this book, the tone would have felt repetitive and the narrator would have seemed darker. The book is fun for what it is. I suggest the audio cd over the book.
Holly (spoopyhol)
‘Philip Noble is an eleven-year-old in crisis. His pub landlord father has died in a road accident and his mother is succumbing to the greasy charms of her dead husband’s brother. The remaining certainties of Philip’s life crumble away when his father’s ghost appears to declare that he was murdered.

Arming himself with weapons from the school chemistry cupboard, Philip vows to carry out the ghost’s relentless demands for revenge. But can the words of a ghost be trusted anymore than the lies of th
Mar 24, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I selected this book because the idea and the voice interested me. The cover boast that it is kind of like a modern day Hamlet adn in a lot of ways it is.

It begins with the death of Phillips father, shortly followed by the appearance of his ghost saying that Phillip's uncle killed his father and Phillip must take revenge. Phillip tests the truth of this the same way Hamlet does, only with a DVD instead of personally directed play.

The book is written in first person train of thought. Haig follow
Marivi Sanz
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, shakespeare
I bought this book not knowing it was a re-telling of Hamlet, but it did not disappoint.

This is the story of Phillip, an eleven-year-old boy whose father has just died in a car crash. Soon after, his Uncle Allan starts getting too close to Phillip's mother, just when Phillip's father's ghost starts appearing before him, telling him he must kill his uncle, as he was the one who killed him.

We follow the narration from Phillip's point of view. There are no punctuation signs, as one could expect fro
May 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I had been keen to read a Matt Haig book for a while, after hearing fantastic reviews of his other books. So I jumped at the chance to read this, especially after reading the description.

What a very unique premise for a book this was. A young boy of eleven loses his father, only to be confronted by his ghost. Ghost Dad tells him that he must get revenge for his father's death, and haunts the boy until he starts getting himself into trouble. Of course, nobody else knows his dad is still around. I
Zoë ☆
May 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley, ebook
This book was kind of addicting! I really enjoyed the POV of an 11-year-old boy, it was so funny and interesting. It also dealt with a lot of heavy topics, which I was surprised by, I also felt like this was such a unique concept, even though I didn’t always like how it was implemented. I think I would have liked it more if it was more focussed on the ghosts themselves instead of the boy trying to get revenge for his father.
Heidi Burkhart
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
I audiobooked this title, and based on other reviews I have the impression that this is the way to go. What can I say? A weird book, perhaps patterned after "Hamlet." It is dark, creepy, and surprisingly graphic for a kids' book.

I gave it four stars because I think Haig created a very clever read. It wasn't really "my style" but I'm glad I read it. I will look for more titles by him in the future.

I would definitely recommend this to middle school boys, or girls, probably grade 8. There are sexu
Aug 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: z2018read, kindle-read, m
Wasn't keen on the lack of punctuation, particularly commas. It made the main character sound like a monotonous automaton. Seems to me a poor way to convey that the MC was only eleven. I also felt the ending was flat. Didn't ring my bell at all.
Sid Nuncius
May 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thought The Dead Fathers Club was excellent. It's a very well-done reworking of Hamlet through the eyes of Philip, an 11-year-old boy whose father has been killed in a road accident, leaving his mother to run their pub in Newark, Nottinghamshire. Uncle Alan, his father's brother has designs on both his mother and the pub and Philip's father appears as a ghost, telling him that Alan arranged the crash and demanding that Philip exact revenge.

I found the whole thing gripping, insightful and touch
Aimee Meester
I'm always a sucker for Shakespeare retellings, especially when they involve my favorite one, Hamlet. This particular retelling is morbid (of course) but charming, in its own way, and features a stream-of-consciousness writing style that lends itself well to the story. (I enjoyed the nods to the original Hamlet, and all the clever ways they're woven in.) Our main character is sympathetic and realistic and tragic all at once, like the story itself, and all in all, this one is a win.
Melanie O'Neill
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
I found this book quite fascinating! It was an easy read, I’m not sure if it is aimed at Young Adult readers but I enjoyed it nevertheless. I have read other Matt Haig books, and they are a bit different to what I would normally read but he’s a good author and they are a pleasant change. A Solid 3 1/2 stars from me !
Jul 24, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This story, set in modern-day England and narrated by an eleven year-old boy, is a clever and subtle retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet. The story opens when Philip, the Hamlet-narrator, sees his father's ghost after the funeral. His father's ghost informs him that he was murdered by Uncle Alan, and that he will be stuck in eternal torment unless Philip kills his uncle before his father's next birthday in a few months. When I say that I don't want to give more than that away, you may think to you ...more
Oct 01, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: english-lit, fiction
A retelling of Hamlet set in modern day England, with a young boy as the protagonist. The whole thing is told in the first person in prose reminiscent of the first chapter of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man—run-on sentences and a blatant disregard for apostrophes. I found this both effective and annoying, often several times within the same page. The writing's certainly powerful, though, and a wonderful-horrible sense of doom and dread pervades the narrative. I appreciated Haig’s decis ...more
Erica (ricci.reads)
The Dead Father's Club by Matt Haig is an interesting take on Shakespeare's 'Hamlet' but I really disliked the writing style. Although I understand that the narrator is an eleven year-old, it was written exactly as The Room by Emma Donoghue is, who's narrator is five years old. I find it difficult to engage with novels that are written in a childlike manner, and this in particular just struck me as too childlike for someone of that age.
Some of my favourite novels have children as the main charac
Dec 17, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
This book is narrated by an 11 year old boy, who is haunted by his dead fathers ghost, seeking revenge for his murder. Sort of an updated take on Hamlet.

I really enjoyed this book. The narrator Philip has a very interesting way of looking at things and describing them... almost too simply for an 11 year old boy, though still cleverly enough to pull you along after him through his encounters with his dads ghost, the school bullies, his first girlfriend, and the various plots and schemes he devel
Shirley Revill
A story based on a retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet and nobody does it better than Matt Haig. There was nothing not to like about this YA ghostly tale.
I listened way into the early hours of the morning as the narrator's voice kept me listening. I so wanted to hear the end of the story but i didn't want the story to end.
Pure genius, storytelling at it's best. Highly recommended.
Michaela Aisling
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
This one’s quite hard to rate, really. I’m a huge fan of Matt’s, and quite honestly who doesn’t love a bit of Shakespeare? So, given that this gem is a Hamlet retelling, I was really excited to read it!

I wanna start off by addressing one of the frequent criticisms I noticed from others who had read this book. A lot of people hated the writing style, which I can totally respect as I know for a lot of people it would have taken a lot of getting used to, absolutely! However, one thing I noticed was
May 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a reimagining of Hamlet, one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, and as well as reading a cracking and innovative interpretation, I had a lot of fun trying to spot my favourite characters. Actually, tell the truth, I got a bit wrapped up in the story as it was unfolding, I actually failed to initially spot R&G, kicking myself when I eventually realised!
Anyway, Philip Noble is still grieving for his father who died recently in a car accident. He lives with his mum at the Castle and Fal
Sep 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Revenge is complicated.
Especially if you’re 11 years old, your father just died in a horrific auto accident (no accident, claims he...blaming his own brother for the faulty brakes) and you learn that dad’s spirit has some unfinished business that only his (only) son perform. Poor Philip, the very much anguished son, needs (NEEDS) to average his murder by killing his own murderous uncle (the murderous mechanic) who wants to marry his widowed sister-in-law and take over the family’s tavern. Simpl
Brenda Kahn
So, so happy that this audiobook was narrated by an actual kid and he did a brilliant job. Phillip is a seventh grader whose father died is a one-car crash. He's eyeing his uncle comforting his grieving mother and doesn't like this one bit. Next thing, his father's ghost pops up telling Phillip that he was murdered by the uncle and that Phillip needs to avenge his death. Say what?

As I listened to this Hamlet with a twist retelling and wondering who the audience was, a number of things happened t
Natacha Oliveira
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
I really enjoyed this book, but I can't give it five stars (for a few reasons) specially because the dialogue almost made me DNF it. I get it that's "how" kids talk, but it drove me a little mad until I force my eyes not to read the beginning of each dialogue sentence.

"He said They're all there can't you see them?
I said Who?
He said The Club
I said What Club?
He said The Dead Fathers Club."

I mean, Matty my boy, it hurt me a little. You still great tho.
Selah Pike
Haig has written a funny, touching, and surprising retelling of Shakespeare's Hamlet. I applaud Highbridge Audio for hiring a child actor, Andrew Dennis, to narrate. He did a phenomenal job! This was a fantastic supplement to my Hamlet study this month!
Aug 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: owned
For a Matt Haig book this one felt quite ‘meh’. It’s not one I would read again, but it wasn’t bad.

I enjoyed the use of font and the lack of grammar to represent the young protagonist. I enjoyed the thought that had been put into the circumstances surrounding the dead, and I liked that Shakespeare’s play within a play (the Murder of Gonzago) was used too. Overall though I wasn’t drawn in the way I wanted to be and I didn’t really care about the characters - with the exception of Leah.
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Matt Haig was born in Sheffield, England in1975. He writes books for both adults and children, often blending the worlds of domestic reality and outright fantasy, with a quirky twist. His bestselling novels are translated into 28 languages. The Guardian has described his writing as 'delightfully weird' and the New York Times has called him 'a novelist of great talent' whose writing is 'funny, rive ...more
“I don't know why people say sorry when they havent done the thing they are saying sorry for. It is like everyone in the world is a little bit to blame for everything.” 3 likes
“Dads are just men who have babies but I know he loved me because I felt it go out of me when he crashed. It was like air or blood or bones or something that made me me and it wasnt there any more and I had only half of it now and I didn't know if that was enough.” 3 likes
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