Gavin F (gavluvsga) wrote in 50bookchallenge,
Gavin F

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Book #17: Skippy Dies by Paul Murray

This book revolves around a fourteen year old Irish boy, Daniel “Skippy” Juster, who dies in the first chapter; the book then flashes back to the events leading up to the tragedy.

I really enjoyed reading this, although at first it seemed a bit overwhelming with the number of characters and their own individual storylines, including Skippy’s friend who is obsessed with opening wormholes, the teenage drug dealer and the teacher who is still traumatised by a bungee jump accident.

The story is at times incredibly funny, with some very sad and also shocking moments throughout, and I found most of the characters easy to sympathise with; the plot was occasionally very surreal and trippy and made me think of the film, Donnie Darko. It is written in a variety of styles, with a lot of use of the present tense, and curiously, some sections are written in the second person, with a lot of references to “you do this”, which appears to be Skippy’s thoughts addressed at himself.

[Spoiler (click to open)]

The final third of the book is set after Skippy’s death and deals with everyone’s reactions, and many of the other students start acting up at school and getting bad grades, and eventually Skippy’s friends attempt to use music to communicate with him; this made for a touching and also dramatic finale.

Overall, a lot of the story is quite adult in tone, but I found it to be immensely enjoyable all the same.

Next book: Starter for Ten by David Nicholls
Tags: 1001 books to read before you die, addiction, bildungsroman/coming of age, book review, contemporary, drama, drugs, fiction, humor, ireland, non-genre fiction, paranormal, recommended book, sci-fi, supernatural

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