Saturday, February 19, 2011

Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

Skippy Dies: A Novel
- Book #2 of my Irish book challenge - was worth every minute of the time it took to read the 661 pages of Skippy Dies. I would loosely describe it as Harry Potter meets Animal House meets Dead Poet's Society. The setting is Dublin's Seabrook College for boys, and the title delivers it's promise early when 14 year old Daniel "Skippy" Juster dies on the floor of Ed's Doughnut Shop during a doughnut eating contest with his pudgy science-geek roommate, Ruprecht Van Doren. The book, which is sometimes sold under three separate covers, flashes back through the first two books, Hopeland and Heartland, to give readers the background into Skippy's demise - which includes drug-dealers, deluded and corrupt educators and young hormone-racing love. The final section, Ghostland, finds teenages trying to deal with the loss of a friend and sort out the mysteries of death. But the absolute joy of this entertaining story was the literary richness that it offers as well. Robert Graves, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Frost and some engaging history lessons mingle with some beautifully written passages about the redeeming qualities of story-telling to make this a book I won't stop talking about for a long time!

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