Roddy Doyle's Paddy Clarke HA HA HA was a beautifully written book. It
perfectly captures the mind of a ten year old boy in Ireland during the mid-1960's. Paddy
Clarke, the young boy who Doyle uses to enter the mind of a ten year old, is a boy who
most can relate to. The book explores most aspects of life through the eyes of Paddy.
Doyle takes us through childhood and childhood's end. Doyle is able to seize the
complexities of life, but at the same time simplify them enough for ten year old.
Everything is a mystery or an adventure to Paddy and his friends. From taking over
construction sites to receiving polio check-ups. However not everything is a game to
Paddy. His parents lack of compatibility troubles Paddy and his brother Sinbad greatly.
The intensity of his parents arguments accelerate as the book goes on. At times Paddy
feels he can stop them, at one point he considers himself a 'referee' in the fights.
know what I'd do. If I was there he wouldn't do it again, that was all.'(p.191) He ends up
contemplating who he would want to win. He comes to the conclusion that he would want
his mom to win because she does so much for him, however his father is his father and he
Sinbad reacts differently to his parents fighting. He doesn't try to intervene or stop
them. In fact he closes up, he implodes emotionally. He cuts himself off from everyone.
During one of their parents arguments Paddy tries to talk to Sinbad, but Sinbad shuts
himself off. ''Sinbad?' He didn't answer. He wasn't asleep though, I knew the breathing. I
could hear him listening. I didn't move. I didn't want him to think I was going...