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The God Squad

3.73  ·  Rating details ·  252 ratings  ·  19 reviews
The past they tried to hide.





His mother died from cancer in 1955. His father committed suicide shortly thereafter. Paddy Doyle was sentenced in an Irish district court to be detained in an industrial school for eleven years. He was four years old...





Paddy Doyle's prize-winning bestseller, The God Squad, is both a moving and terrifying testament of the institutionalised Irela
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Paperback, 240 pages
Published September 22nd 1989 by Corgi
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Average rating 3.73  · 
Rating details
 ·  252 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Clare O'Beara
Dec 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, irish-fact
As a four-year-old boy, Paddy saw his father who had hanged himself from a tree, in despair at his wife's early death from cancer. Paddy was sent to an orphanage school run by nuns in Wexford. The nuns believed suicide was a crime and a grave sin, so when Paddy could not help talking about what he had seen, he was told he must be lying because people did not do that, and beaten unmercifully.

This was in 1955 and it took thirty years for Paddy to find out the truth about his origins, and to be re
...more
Laura
Oct 15, 2012 rated it really liked it


I found Paddy's experiences as a young child so hateful that they were difficult to humanise, therefore difficult to want to feel anything other than distance from. As his story progressed and he interspersed his Narrative with present-day conjecture I found it easier to empathise with the young boy, rather than just feeling utter horror. A traumatic, moving account that everyone should share a common responsibility for to ensure it cannot happen again.
...more
Rosalind Minett
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Paddy Doyle writes this book in a restrained adult voice but with all the detail and perspective of the child who suffered. In light of recent revelations, it is sadly not too difficult to accept that such an outrageous misadventure kept occurring to this orphan. First terribly harmed and then placed in authority care, Paddy fared little better physically or emotionally. He did manage to form attachments only to have them broken. Nevertheless, this is not a misery memoir but a spirited tale of u ...more
Sarah
May 04, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the story of a young boy who became an orphan when his mother died of cancer and his father committed suicide. His only recollection of his parents was recurring nightmarish thoughts of his father's hanging body. He went to an industrial school and was beaten, sexually molested, and emotionally abused by the nuns there. Later he developed some kind of problem with his legs – the book never really explains it – and is shuffled from one hospital to another. In the end, he becomes happy an ...more
Karen Wickham
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
Not really what I was expecting. This book talks more about the author's medical condition and various operations than about the nuns who were responsible for him growing up.

That said, it is astounding the ignorance with which he was treated. As if he was a malingerer rather than having a genuine need for medical attention.
...more
Tailsmo
Feb 26, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Depressing, as expected, but blasé about what happened to him, as if he accepted his mistreatment. There was no anger. It read like a case study.

I don't usually read these types of books. I read 'A Child Called It' years ago, found most of it unbelievable, and have not read another one since. I am highly concerned about both publishers making money off of other people's misery and why anyone would want to read about abuse. I also don't understand why parents would allow their children to be the
...more
Siobhan O' Sullivan
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
While this story is tragic in it's own right and highlights the ignorance of the nuns and the doctors in Ireland at the time. I can't stop feeling that Mr. Doyle is a complainer, it feels repetitive and whinny... some of the details so trivial that I can't understand why he harps on about it let alone remember it, it's not the story that feels repetitive but the writing style i think.

In saying that what do I know of the memories of a man that went through something so terrible that one wouldn't
...more
chucklesthescot
May 19, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: hardy souls who like true stories
This was another hard-hitting memoir about the cruel treatment dealt out to children by the Nuns in Ireland. It is a tough, dark, depressing read and I felt as if I was being attacked by a Dementor when reading it as all the happiness in my life was draining out of me page by page. It is a real horror story but was too dark and draining for me to complete it. These books about the Nuns are soul-destroying and it takes a determined reader to plough through them.
Camilla O neill
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book many years ago and met him at a book signing in Rathmines in Dublin around the same time, early 1990s I think. It was an honour to meet him. He is a true survivor having been subjected to such evil as a child by those nuns who acted in the name of God while doing so. His was one of the first public cases of this nature in Ireland I remember.
John
Sep 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having been exposed to similar treatments from the Catholic Nuns in my own upbringing around the same time period, I find this an accurate account of life for the Irish poor in Eire. Thankfully, I didn't become a hospital's 'lab rat'. However, it did bring to the surface a number of repressed emotions. ...more
Val
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
I don't usually read this type of autobiography but this one is different. Well written. Sad that these things happened but amazing that Paddy and his personality and intelligence survived. Read it and let it affect you. ...more
Abby
Mar 03, 2019 rated it liked it
The bloody Catholic Church! Makes me so angry. Story of an orphan with a disability making it through growing up in terrible conditions. For a true story at times there was little detail, for example about his actual condition, and then integration into society as an adult and out of care homes.
Lee Harding
Mar 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This was a gritty book that I was unable to put down and highlights the mistreatment of those in the 'care' of the state ...more
Nova
Dec 25, 2010 rated it liked it
A sad story; but I am glad we have come a long way in brain surgery since the 1950's. ...more
Becky
Jul 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
It reminded me of One flew over the cuckoos nest.
It is based on a true story of a young male who suffered at the hands of the church. Despite the horrific procedures he endured he bears no malice.
Barbara
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
A gripping read but how could people treat a child so dreadfully?
Kay
Apr 22, 2010 is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
OMG... this is just disgraceful !
Nina
Jul 16, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A touching true-life story of an orphaned boy living in misery in a factory school run by sadistic nuns, until he is shipped from hospital to hospital for years.
Katharine Allen
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Heartbreaking and beautiful
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