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Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  18,948 ratings  ·  801 reviews
"Sometimes when nothing happened it was really getting ready to happen." Irish Paddy rampages through Barrytown streets with like-minded hooligans, playing cowboys, etching names in wet concrete, setting fires. The gang are not bad boys, just restless. When his parents argue, Paddy stays up all night to keep them safe. Change always comes, not always for the better.
Mass Market Paperback, 307 pages
Published June 4th 1998 by Editions 10/18 (first published 1993)
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Average rating 3.76  · 
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 ·  18,948 ratings  ·  801 reviews


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Fabian
Jun 22, 2012 rated it liked it
I hate to be facetious about this, but it’s true. I love to read good books as much as I love to discover which ones are actual impostors—that is, which ones are overrated past the norm, books like “On the Road,” “Catcher in the Rye,” or anything by Ayn Rand. Yuck. Well, this one won the Booker, which I can only guess is a HUGE deal. But I guess the year this book was published there were a few other, if any, contenders for the top prize.

It’s certainly not awful. It’s actually entert
...more
Steve
Mar 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I hate to think that I’m susceptible to some merchandiser’s power of suggestion, but as soon as hearts and Cupids give way to shamrocks and leprechauns (typically Feb. 15), my thoughts often turn towards the Emerald Isle. Of course, when the lovely lass I married accompanied me there last year to celebrate a round-number anniversary, I can be forgiven for thinking about it even more, right? Beyond the history, scenery, culture, silver-tongued locals and tasty libations, there’s the draw of their ...more
Hugh
I am now into my final three Booker winners, and this one left me somewhat in two minds. I had never read Doyle before and always had a feeling that I wouldn't enjoy it that much.

So let us start with the positives. Doyle's ability to inhabit the mindset of a boy who is ten at the end of the book is extraordinary, and the final part of the book in which he watches his parents splitting up and falls out with the rather thuggish gang he has spent the rest of the book describing his part
...more
Edward
This was much better than I had expected, based on other reviews, and I think expectation is everything with this novel. It's not really a story with a plot, and the characters experience little in the way of change or development. And it’s not quite a stream of consciousness, either. It’s kind of a mix of impressions and dialogue; the world seen through the mind of its young protagonist. The experience reminded me a bit of Gaddis’s JR, and I think the best way to read this kind of impressionistic ...more
Maciek
Mar 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha reminded me of another famous Irish novel, Patrick McCabe's The Butcher Boy. Both are narrated by a young boys who grow up in Ireland during the 1960's, and both make use of vernacular and local folklore. The Butcher Boy was shortlisted for the Booker in 1992, and Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha won it in 1993.

But don't be dissuaded from reading Paddy Clarke... by thinking that it's more of the same - both books are novels of childhood in the same country at roughly the same time, but achiev
...more
Rebecca McNutt
A strikingly powerful portrait of a dysfunctional family and the boy acting as the glue holding it together, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a nostalgic Irish novel with many profound themes hidden beneath childish innocence.
Julie
I've read a lot of books, and I can tell you, there isn't one out there that captures a childhood, or the perspective from a 10-year-old child, better than this one.

Not just any childhood, and certainly not any in 2014 in a middle-class or affluent neighborhood, where the children can now be found indoors, and in silence, save the hum of their tv or computer.

This is a childhood set in Ireland, but these are the childhoods that many of us (before, say 1985) experienced in
...more
Suzy
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Suzy by: St. Patrick!
Doyle, one of my favorite authors, nails the stream-of-consciousness of a young boy, Paddy Clarke of the title. While not exactly spelled out, I think Paddy, our narrator, is about 8 when the book starts and 10 when it finishes. He and his mate Kevin are the defacto leaders of a band of boys who rove a developing subdivision in late 1960's Ireland, wreaking havoc on themselves and anyone who might be in their way. I kept picturing the antics of my two younger brothers in our developing subdivisi ...more
Dan
Aug 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: man-booker-prize
I really enjoyed this novel and the author really nailed the voice of Patrick our protagonist. I found all of the characters compelling.

But the story lacks a plot beyond the life of a pre-teen boy in Ireland who is endlessly involved in minor mischief. The novel would have benefited from a seismic outside event or perhaps just more drama. This novel reminded me of World’s Fair by Doctorow, not quite that masterful but in the ball park.

4 stars. Solid recommendation, quick read.
F
Sep 02, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, abandoned, ireland
Abandoned :(
Child protagonists annoy me anyway.
Just found this ramblings of a young irish lad
El
Jan 26, 2008 rated it really liked it
Patrick "Paddy" Clarke is a 10-year-old boy growing up in 1960s Ireland who has good and bad times with his friends, loves and hates his little brother (and has no use for his baby sisters because they don't do anything worthwhile yet), tells lies to his friends and his teachers in order to gain their appreciation and respect, and who wants nothing more than to understand (and fix) the problems that begin to erupt between his parents. As an oldest child he feels it his position to protect his yo ...more
James Barker
Feb 16, 2013 rated it really liked it
A few weeks ago I was infuriated by 'Hideous Kinky,' a novel purporting to be narrated by a five year old girl. Linguistically all wrong, the story fell down due to these discrepancies. Happily, 'Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha,' told from the POV of a ten year old boy, is a masterclass of perception and imaginative writing. This is a boy's voice speaking about the things within his frame of reference, staccato musings that centre on family and its comforts and agonies, the hierarchy of friends and school ...more
Linda Lipko
Sep 26, 2010 rated it did not like it
If anyone can answer my question, I'd love to know the answer. Why is it that books written by Irish authors or told about the Irish seem to consistently focus on a) drinking b) abuse c) poverty d) dysfunction???? Is there joy in Ireland?

While reviews are primarily positive about this book, for many reasons, I simply reacted to the fact that it was yet another angst filled tale of an Irish child witnessing cruelty, and acting out with cruelty, harming those around him, including his
...more
Ola Cader
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
This is one of the very few books I've read twice, and the only one I liked even more when reading it for the second time.
When I was reading Paula Spencer I was thinking that Roddy Doyle must have spent hours talking to women, or rather listening to them. Reading Paddy Clarke... made me think he must have spent hours listening to children. I really appreciate books where child characters seem so real, because few people are willing to listen to what kids really have to say.
I love Roddy Doyle f
...more
Faith
Jan 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2005
I'm very glad I found Roddy Doyle. (Thanx Nick Hornby and Speaking to the Angels.) Cause Paddy Clarke HaHaHa is just like I like a book. It reminds me a lot of Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, one of my favorite books. One of the books I truly love. They've got more in common than the comic style. They're both about Irish childhoods. Frankie McCourt's in the late 30s and early 40s. Paddy Clarke's in the late 60s. "It is 1968. Paddy Clarke is 10 years old, breathless with discovery." Writes Irish ...more
Girish
Sep 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: booker
"I didn't listen to them. They were just kids"
Says 10 year old Paddy Clarke about his friends from whom he has decided to move on. He stays awake all night to make sure his Ma and Da are not fighting. He stares at complete darkness (of the iron table) to get over his fear and be grown up. And the change is unhurried, uncomplicated and totally believable from the Point of view of a 10 year old.

The book is a haphazard series of memories, events and thoughts of a 10 year old boy f
...more
Richard Derus
Dec 19, 2011 rated it liked it
Rating: An irritable 3* of five

Ugh.

Books written in the voice of a child had best use that technique for a reason...the child's perspective becomes wearing unless there is some very, very compelling narrative reason to make us follow a kid around without wanting to scream blue murder after a while.

I don't find any such compelling reason in this book. I don't find anything compelling at all in this book, as a matter of fact.

Ireland sounds damned goo
...more
Brad
Mar 26, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Marci Simkulet
This review was written in the late nineties (just for myself), and it was buried in amongst my things until today, when I uncovered the journal it was written in. I have transcribed it verbatim (although square brackets indicate some additional information for readability) from all those years ago. It is one of my lost reviews.

When I tell others about this novel I talk about Roddy Doyle's voice and how he captures the thought patterns of children so well; I mention certain tales Patrick tells, like t
...more
Laysee
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, the 1993 Booker Prize Winner, is no Ha Ha Ha story even though there is no lack of Ha Ha Ha moments, as you cannot help but be entertained by the antics of a bunch of 10-year-old boys. Roddy Doyle brilliantly captured the psychology of children and created a credible world of childhood play and dialogue that rang true and real. Paddy and his little brother, Sinbad, spent their school day enduring the tyranny of less than inspiring teachers who could all but “kill” them. Th ...more
Lisa
Dec 31, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lisa by: Booker Prize Yahoo group
Shelves: c20th, ireland
It took me much longer than it should have to finish this slight, inconsequential novel. It won the Booker in 1993, but it's a bit of a mystery why that was so. I would have given the prize to Remembering Babylon by David Malouf, a much better and more significant book in every way.


Paddy Clark Ha Ha Ha is written in the voice of Paddy, nine years old in the 1960s, watching The Man From UNCLE on TV and observing his parents' marriage break up. It's impressionistic, with (paraphr
...more
Roberta
Sep 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tutto-doyle
How much the point of view changes with age! I read the italian translation the year it was published, and I loved it. Moreover, it was a present from a friend of mine and I also loved the time and effort she put into looking for a book that could meet my taste.
23 years later (oh my god!) I really want to give Paddy and his gang a good spanking. I don't think it is just me, though: a lot of things he could have got away with in 1993 fall today under the category of bullying. But when you r
...more
Bryan
I am not generally a fan of coming-of-age stories--they can be poignant, sometimes excruciating, even transcendent (or, at worst, a kind of wallowing), but, in the end, I don't really respond to them unless there is some other aspect of life that they address at the same time. I was on the fence about Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha, a first-person account of a ten-year-old Irish lad growing up in the late 60s in Ireland, for a lot of the book, but what I realized by the end was that Doyle was not only able ...more
Eddie Owens
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Colleen
Aug 20, 2009 rated it liked it
This book won the 1993 Booker Prize. I tend to love Irish authors and books like this one, in which I can hear the brogue in the dialog. This book did a wonderful job of putting the reader in the reality of boys ages 8 to 10 and their relationships. The reader is fully immersed in their neighborhood and given a strong sense of place throughout the novel. The reader gets insight into the bullying (even toward beloved pals and siblings), petty crimes, and other stunts pulled by the main characters ...more
Julie
Jan 05, 2013 rated it liked it
8.0/10
Jenny (Reading Envy)
Started this for a book speed date and wasn't gripped 50 pages in. Will donate to local literacy sale.
Portia S
This was okay.

I haven't been feeling well lately, and every-time I neared the end (95%, 98%) I fell asleep on myself, but finally I've finished.

Now, if you look back on my progress, I took roughly a million years to complete this (an entire month). And it wasn't because of all the school work and stuff, cause I got that done. I just feel overwhelmingly lazy and disenchanted with reading right now I think. It's not length or anything, it's just me.

REVIEW STARTS HERE:

Starting the bo
...more
Philip
Dec 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Patrick Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle is an unusual, highly original account of life in a Northern Ireland Catholic household. Written from the point of view of Paddy, the eldest son, aged ten, of the Clarke family, it draws the reader through a particular experience of childhood.

There is a child’s wonder at the new. There are strange facts about the world to be unearthed and challenges to face like a man. But when you are ten, there is also always the rock of parents, ma and pa, ma
...more
Jessica F
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I guess a lot of people found this book kind of boring or pointless. Well, you're all wrong!

The way I see it, this book is Lord of the Flies, minus the island*. It's all about power dynamics, the subtle ways they're developed and upheld, and the way they shift, tectonically slow, until something gives way and everything changes.

First there's the power struggle between the mother and father. Since this is all from the kid's perspective, we don't see exactly what's happening between t
...more
Amber
Aug 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics
I would have given this book zero quite happily. Was forced to read this for my two GCSE years and hated every second. For some reason the author expects us to like the lead character who likes doing nothing more than bullying and physically torturing his friends and brother. The language is basic which is supposed to reflect the child narrator but was actually just incredibly irritating. Despite having missed reading several chunks of the book I recieved an A* in my GCSE indicating just how pre ...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 bef
...more
“It was a sign of growing up, when the dark made no more difference to you than the day.” 37 likes
“Fuck was the best word. The most dangerous word. You couldn't whisper it. Fuck was always too loud, too late to stop it, it burst in the air above you and fell slowly right over your head. There was total silence, nothing but Fuck floating down. For a few seconds you were dead, waiting for Henno to look up and see Fuck landing on top of you. They were thrilling seconds-when he didn't look up. It was a word you couldn't say anywhere. It wouldn't come out unless you pushed it. It made you feel caught and grabbed you the minute you said it. When it escaped it was like an electric laugh, a soundless gasp followed by the kind of laughing only forbidden things could make, an inside tickle that became a brilliant pain, bashing at your mouth to be let out. It was agony. We didn't waste it.” 26 likes
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