To me this novel is a growing up story, one that starts very much in the peak of childhood, old enough to be allowed to roam the streets to play with friends but blissfully unaware of the challenges of adult life. It’s written in a way that you can imagine a 10 year old prattling away in a stream of consciousness about their day, the latest facts they learnt from their library book and endless questions about the world.
However for 10 year old Paddy Clarke, the protagonist, it is also a time of change both personally, for his family and the town in which he lives.
It reminded me somewhat of the poems ‘Songs of Innocence and Experience’ by William Blake – the two sides and views to a situation. Paddy’s childhood innocence is chipped away in the same way the fields surrounding his home are slowly cut up by new developments, pipes and roads.
The disruption in his family life has a big effect on his day to day behaviour with his gangs of similarly restless young lads, he stays up all night to try and make it better between his parents, and tries to spend more time between them trying to make them laugh together but he gradually realises that it’s not about him.
I found it hard to pick our short, snappy quotes as lots of the prose is like a child talking – in a roundabout rambling way skipping between stories and people.
“I jumped on Sinbad’s (hot water) bottle. Nothing happened. I didn’t do it again. Sometimes when nothing happened it was really getting ready to happen,”
“Dreaming was only nice while it lasted”