Bennett Gavrish's Reviews > Skippy Dies

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
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's review
Mar 14, 2012

it was amazing

Grade: A

L/C Ratio: 60/40
(This means I estimate the author devoted 60% of his effort to creating a literary work of art and 40% of his effort to creating a commercial bestseller.)

Thematic Breakdown:
30% - Growing up
20% - Relationships
15% - Corrupt educators
15% - Humor
10% - World history
10% - The physics of the universe

Skippy Dies was published back in 2010, and since then, I've added and removed it from my reading list at least a dozen times. I blame my flip-flopping on Amazon's description of the book. Okay, it's a novel. But wait, the main characters are all teenagers. So is it a young adult book? And wait, it takes place in Ireland. So do I need to know Irish to enjoy it? Or is it just some morbid sequel to that Frankie Muniz movie about a dog?

In truth, I can't blame whoever wrote the description of Skippy Dies. It's simply not the kind of novel that can be summarized in a few sentences. As you can tell from the thematic breakdown above, there's a ton going on here. Murray handles his shifting perspectives and tones with an art of grace, moving from a heart-wrenching moment involving a destructive affair right to a hilarious scene of banter between teenage boys (my favorite was the conversation about how Robert Frost's poetry is actually all about anal sex).

I always complain about books being unnecessarily long, so I knew Skippy Dies deserved a high grade from me when I got to the end of the 12,000+ Kindle locations and still wanted more. Murray pulls you along on a wild emotional ride. I suggest you fasten your metaphorical seatbelt and hop on board.

Noteworthy Quote:
Maybe instead of strings it’s stories things are made of, an infinite number of tiny vibrating stories; once upon a time they all were part of one big giant superstory, except it got broken up into a jillion different pieces, that’s why no story on its own makes any sense, and so what you have to do in a life is try and weave it back together, my story into your story, our stories into all the other people’s we know, until you’ve got something that to God or whoever might look like a letter or even a whole word.

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