Ben's Reviews > The Barrytown Trilogy: The Commitments / The Snapper / The Van

The Barrytown Trilogy by Roddy Doyle
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Dec 07, 2008

really liked it

I always like to read an author's earliest books -- you usually see a lot of growth over a short space. Here especially.

I've never been to Dublin, nor Ireland, but after reading this, I feel as if I had. The dialogue is brilliant, and hilarious -- again, not having been, I don't know if people there actually talk like this, but if they don't, they should. Also, for the occasionally rough language, Doyle really spreads the love around, without it getting schmaltzy -- the locale, the characters -- it makes for warm reading. What's more, as the books go forward, the characterizations run deeper and deeper. The Jimmy Jr of the Snapper and the Van isn't much less of a cipher than that of the Commitments. But the Jimmy Sr who comes into his own in the Snapper then takes over the Van is full-fledged, a warm and rounded character to the very end.

My only complaint is that in many respects things are too good -- the Rabbittes are too likeable. They may bicker and fight, but ultimately they're good-hearted. Whenever Doyle has to paint in a villain, the baby's father in the Snapper, or Bimbo in the Van, he makes them look a little ridiculous, even pathetic. No, things don't work out for the Rabbittes -- at least in the short run -- but no real harm is ever done. I recommend the books, and I'll definitely go in for more of the short stories, but overall, I prefer books that don't need to hug it out in the end.
2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Barrytown Trilogy.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Kealan O'ver They do talk like this. Out of all books I've read set in Dublin, these ones capture the typical Dub the best.

back to top