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The Guts

(Jimmy Rabbitte #2)

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  2,124 ratings  ·  429 reviews
A triumphant return to the characters of Booker Prize-winning writer Roddy Doyle's breakout first novel, The Commitments, now older, wiser, up against cancer and midlife.

Jimmy Rabbitte is back. The man who invented the Commitments back in the 1980s is now 47, with a loving wife, 4 kids...and bowel cancer. He isn't dying, he thinks, but he might be.

Jimmy still loves his mu
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published August 6th 2013 by Knopf Canada (first published January 1st 2013)
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Michael Hockinson While I wouldn't recommend this, I would add that you should, at some point, read The Commitments. It's got soul.

Community Reviews

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3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,124 ratings  ·  429 reviews

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Jan 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding, joyful read for me about a middle-aged Dubliner negotiating the challenges of colon cancer while taking chances with his music revival business. Jimmie Rabbitte returns decades after his roles in Doyle’s “Barrytown Trilogy” (1987-1991).

Again Doyle is the master of dialogue and a special understated deadpan humor mixed with slapstick. But how can a story about someone facing cancer be funny? Somehow Jimmie’s ability to scramble and even dance on the thin ice of his life is so poigna
This is stonkingly good - I think I woke the neighbours this morning, I was laughing that hard. Jimmy Rabbitte (jnr) is now 47, happily married with kids, and has just been diagnosed with bowel cancer - then bumps into the still gorgeous Imelda Quirke from their days in The Committments, fadó fadó...Snort inducingly funny, heartbreakingly sad, and as grittily real as a shopping trolley in the canal, this is brilliant. Jimmy is still involved in the music scene, hence here is one of the best desc ...more
Apr 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me until last year to read the three books that became the Barrytown Trilogy and made Roddy Doyle's name, of which the first, 'The Commitments' immortalised the name of Jimmy Rabbitte Jr, then the manager of the band, now in this novel, a 47 year old with a family, still involved in the music business, just diagnosed with bowel cancer. I loved those books, and this is a worthy follow up.

In the latest boo, we follow Jimmy's journey through his treatment, both physically and mentally, but
Ryan Williams
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Rabbite At Rest.

It's interesting how Doyle's 'Barrytown' trilogy, like The Simpsons, started off being all about the son and became all about the father. Over a quarter of a century after he first appeared in The Commitments,m it's nice to see Jimmy Rabbitte Junior take centre stage again. The last time we saw him in a novel was in the bath singing THIS IS JIMMY RABBITTE ALL OVER OIRELAND.

He's older, married, with a sizeable litter of kids. He also has bowel cancer and a problem with telling hi
Nancy Oakes
Feb 04, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whew! I finished my Roddy Doyle 4-book marathon with this one, although I will definitely be back to read more of his work in the near future. My review is a little long, so I apologize in advance.

I knew going into this novel that the main character here has been diagnosed with bowel cancer, and I wondered how in the heck the author was going to make something funny out of something so normally depressing. I knew it had to be -- in the first three Barrytown novels (The Commitments, The Snapper a
Dec 22, 2013 rated it did not like it
I rarely give up on a book, but I am afraid that this one has beaten me. I have always enjoyed the movie adaptations of Roddy Doyle's books, and so when I heard that a follow up to the Commitments was coming soon, I looked forward to reading it. There is no doubt a very good story in here, however, as it has taken me almost a week to pick my way through Doyle's disjointed narrative style of writing, I can read no more, and am giving up at about the half way point. There is no narrative whatsoeve ...more
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
This is a wonderful book. Funny, sad, warm, tragic, profane. It had me laughing out loud on the train, and there were also a couple of moments when I welled up too.

Jimmy Rabbitte has stomach cancer. He is dying. But then we are all dying (I know, a bundle of laughs so far). This shows how he and his family cope with it - there are many tears but lots and lots of laughter.

No-one writes dialogue like Roddy Doyle. Bouyant, life affirming prose on every single page.

Do read this book.

Parental guida
Steve Petherbridge
Jan 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I would have given this five stars, only that I believe that Doyle's original Barrytown Trilogy, The Commitments, The Snapper and The Van are perfect in capturing a viewpoint of and the essence of North-Side Dublin life. The language, the wit and the never-say-die attitude to daily life are infected with laugh-out-loud humour.

Perhaps, I have a bias as I am a Dubliner and a very proud North-Sider. To understand the North and South division - the River Liffey is the natural border - you either ha
Roddy Doyle manages to take a subject like cancer and turn it into an story that will have you laughing, and yes, crying too, but a book about an aging musician with cancer doesn't sound like it would be humorous at all, and yet it is. Doyle's Irish humor and quick wit from the days of The Commitments is much the same as before, but he manages to take the would-be-darkest conversation topics and situations and keep everything from getting too maudlin without walking away from the seriousness of ...more
I listened to the audiobook after reading the book last year as it's my book club's choice this month. The audiobook got a higher rating from me than the print book. To really enjoy this book completely you have to hear it! The narrator does the Dublin accents perfectly bringing the prose alive. It is laugh out loud funny.
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
I reckon it'll be feckin' brilliant. . .

. . .And it was. Nostalgia, music, perfect dialogue, and Doyle's spot-on sometimes sentimentality KILLS.
Clare O'Beara
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: irish-fiction
If this wasn't Doyle I probably wouldn't have continued reading, I must admit. Jimmy Rabbitte Jnr, the band manger in The Commitments, has turned into his father, Jimmy Snr. The passing of time will do that apparently. The characters appear to be those from The Van as the two Jimmys are interchangeable at this point. If you left out the f-, c- and s- words the book would be a third shorter. I got pretty fed up reading about men whose only thoughts were about drink and sex, with some old music in ...more
Gisela Hafezparast
Mar 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I haven't read any Roddy Doyle probably for the past 5 years, but he certainly hasn't lost his ability to tell a good story and weave in serious topics with lots of humour. This one is not only about cancer, but also what happened to Ireland after its period of prosperity after 2018. The same characters as were in the Commitments and the Van, just 20 years older and a little bit wiser or not.

Excellent thoughtful read. Just all the music and band stuff is not my thing, which makes me totally unco
Oct 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A rollicking good read all around. Doyle is brilliant and this would have been a 5 star read if not for a few personal quibbles with one of the subplots.
Jun 16, 2017 added it
Shelves: dnf
I got to page 30 to realise this book wasn't for me. To many expletives and didn't really know who was talking as everyone was called jimmy.
Jun 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Surprisingly, a story about a middle aged man dealing with cancer isn't all that hilarious. Crazy right. But the description in the blurb does call this a warm, funny novel. I think a lot of the humor must have been lost in translations somewhere as this is a very Irish novel and I don't think I got whatever jokes were there. By the way this is a lot of dialog writing and the main character says grand a whole lot. I think more narrative and reducing the dialog would have probably helped this sto ...more
Apr 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was beyond wonderful. I laughed and laughed at the end. I hope somebody makes this into a film or, even better, an HBO miniseries. Because it really would be great to see this come alive on the screen. Still, it came alive in my mind. We meet, Jimmy Rabbitte, late of the Commitments. He's 47, has four kids, has a business booking acts for old bands from his youth and selling their music -free downloads!!!! - and has just learned, as the book opens, that he has colon cancer. (He has "the can ...more
Dec 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
Love me some Roddy Doyle! This novel was all the more enjoyable for being how I christened my new Kindle, but in truth I would have enjoyed this book in any format. This novel is about Jimmy, a family man who has cancer and how he copes with the general vicissitudes of his life. The book is funny, fabulously written in an unassuming way, and oddly compelling for being about not very much. I can't say the book has much of a point which was both its strength and its weakness - I like character dri ...more
From BBC radio 4:
Twenty six years on and we are back in Dublin with Jimmy Rabbitte, the ex-manager of The Commitments. Jimmy is now 47, married to Aoife and has 4 kids. Life has been rather good since we last met him, keeping a foot in the music industry and doing well during the boom. However, life is about to change for them all as Jimmy has just discovered he is ill. This is a story about friendship and family, about facing death and opting for life and maybe, just maybe, realising you can st
Molly Ferguson
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: irish-lit
3.75 stars. This is, somehow, a funny book about cancer. I enjoy Doyle's style, his humor, and how he navigates Jimmy's mid-life crisis here. I did not like that there were no chapters, just line breaks, and a LOT of the novel was made up of texts Jimmy sends and receives. It was an interesting take on the recession in Ireland, though, and on masculinity.
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of those rare books that talks about midlife, married life and parenting, and from a male perspective.
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A strong semi-sequel to The Commitments. Lots of great contemporary Dublin lore, and a natural and believable continuation of Jimmy Rabbitte’s character, now as a middle-aged man. Roddy Doyle’s strength as a dialogueist is in full effect, and his stream-of-conscious style fits Jimmy’s maneuvers through cancer. The ending was ultimately very good, but dragged a bit at crucial times. Suggest read/watch The Commitments before this one, but not absolutely necessary to enjoy this one.
André van Dijk

Roddy Doyle brengt een oude held tot leven. Maar de wereld van bandmanager Jimmy Rabbitte is geen 'rock-'n-roll' meer, het is overleven in een afkalvende muziekindustrie met een gezin dat onderhouden dient te worden. En met darmkanker in het lijf.

In een pub in een buitenwijk van Dublin vertelt Jimmy Rabbitte aan zijn vader dat hij kanker heeft. De mannen nemen nog een bier en uiten in minimale woorden hun emotie: 'Ik heb kanker.' 'Goed man.' 'Ik ben serieus, pa.' 'Weet ik.' 'Alle
Jan 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jimmy Rabbitte is back! Can reference to The Commitments be far behind? If you haven't read any of the earlier trilogy, at least stream one of the movies to get the feel for this Ireland that Roddy Doyle affectionately writes about.

Doyle picks up with the Rabbitte family several decades after he last wrote its chronicles. Jimmy is front and center in this and we see most of it through the lens of his domesticity. In The Guts, we get about a year of his life. From the time he learns he has colon
Sep 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
As a Doyle devotee, there really wasn't too much of a chance that I wouldn't like "The Guts", especially since it brought back the Rabbitte men, characters I have missed since "The Barrytown Trilogy". While there is certainly a dark cloud through this one, the sun pokes through often, and, as usual with a Doyle read, I laughed despite whatever hardships had befallen the characters.

What I particularly love about Doyle's writing is the warmth. No matter how seemingly detached the characters may se
Nov 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-loans, irish, 2013
The Guts is Roddy Doyle's follow-up to his 1980s success The Commitments. In this sequel, Jimmy Rabbite is now in his late 40s, with a wife and four kids. Jimmy is still an entrepreneurial chancer, hovering on the edges of the music industry, still hoping to make it big. His current business is aimed at unearthing old Irish punk bands and trying to flog their records to the Youtube generation. A promising start has been cruelled by the GFC, and Jimmy has had to sell a majority share of his creat ...more
Andrew Logan
Feb 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
At times I really liked this book. And a couple of times it got bogged down and frankly boring. But I'm glad I persisted because right at the end I loved it.

There are lots of modern writers who leave stories unresolved. That give a slice of a life and, partly because life is not a story and life is complex they feel OK about picking a point and just stopping. And that is usually really irritating and usually I hate it.

This book is a masterclass in what those people are trying to do. These charac
Tony Laplume
Mar 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Until now I've never actually read Doyle.

To clarify, I've experienced his material in the classic Rabbitte films (The Commitments, The Snapper, The Van), all based on Doyle material. They were grand.

But reading Doyle is a bit different.

Reading Doyle is a bit like reading Harry Potter strictly from the Weasley perspective. (If J.K. Rowling ever wanted that to happen, Doyle's your man. It'd be grand.)

Seriously, this is good stuff. Grand. Driven entirely by dialogue and sparse narrative, The Guts
Jan 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Anyone familiar with Roddy Doyle knows he is second to none at creating characters almost entirely with dialogue. He captures the Irish dialect perfectly. In "The Guts," this middle-aged writer pens a tale about a middle-aged Jimmy Rabbitte (yes, the same character from his immortal "The Commitments") dealing with middle-aged issues like mortality, managing grown up children, and keeping the fires of love alive with a spouse. Cancer puts it all into focus for him and the story veers from sweet t ...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

Other books in the series

Jimmy Rabbitte (2 books)
  • The Commitments (The Barrytown Trilogy, #1)
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