Spudsie's Reviews > The Butcher Boy

The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe
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's review
Jul 03, 2008

liked it
Recommended to Spudsie by: 2007 SRL
Read in May, 2008

Typically I try to record how a book leaves me feeling, any lessons I may have learned from it or even my overall mood when I’m finished. This may turn out to be my shortest commentary to date.


Yup. I feel so lost. Confused. Puzzled. ?????

When I read books I want the story and characters to unfold and reveal themselves to me as the author intended. To that end I try not to read any reviews or commentaries about a book right before I start it. When I’m finished reading it I try to put my thoughts on paper before I read any other reviews or commentaries—so I won’t be overly influenced or intimidated by what others say.

This book had me so confused I’ve read dozens of reviews and comments from other readers and still cannot articulate my own thoughts. I just don’t know what to think.

Dark. Macabre. Coming of age story. Irish Huck Finn. Touching. Beautiful. Frightening. Twisted. Tragedy.

Those are just some of the words others have used to describe “The Butcher Boy.” They all seem to fit. But none of them seem to capture the entirety of the book. In fact, even the combination of all of those words cannot explain the heart of this book.

I wish I had read this as part of a lit course. Or with a reading group. (What a barrel of laughs that would be!) I wish I had not read it alone. I cannot quite wrap my brain around it. I am intrigued by Francie. I am furious at Francie. I am appalled by his actions. I understand his actions. I am mystified by his actions. I want to hug him. I want to flee from him. I want his character to rattle around in my brain as I try to come to terms with him. I want him out of my head NOW! I feel an almost overwhelming need to have a conversation with someone else who has read the book—just to try and sort out my thoughts.

Maybe I cannot understand Francie (and how the story impacts me) because Francie does not really understand himself. He just is. And maybe my reaction to the book just is. Maybe it does not need to be articulated. Perhaps it should simply remain the confused jumble of thoughts it is. Much like Francie.
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message 1: by Bryan (new) - added it

Bryan Galstere i am reading this now, and would love to have a lit. discussion once i am finished if you are still inclined to do so.

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