Friday, April 20, 2007

Recent reading

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle

My reading cycle has been way off lately. I was feeling like I hadn't read anything in weeks. So last Monday, I got myself up to the library for three books: two new and one for the next book club. This was one of the new ones.

I really enjoy reading Roddy Doyle. I think I picked up The Barrytown Trilogy sometime after seeing "The Committments;" I liked the first (The Committments), loved the second (The Snapper) and was OK on the third (The Van), if I remember correctly. Then I read Paddy Clarke, Ha Ha Ha which is a simply fantastic book.

I didn't care for A Star Called Henry very much, and skipped its sequel, Oh, Play That Thing!.

Paula Spencer is a sequel to The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, which I believe was kind of a spin-off of a BBC serial called Family.

Anyway.

I really, really enjoyed this book. It always takes me a little while to reacclimate myself to Doyle when I start reading on of his novels; there's lots of dialect and dialogue is set off differently than most books I read. But that went quickly.

Taking place years after The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, Paula is now sober and slowly, carefully, prospering. She's balanced on a knife edge - between poverty and basic comfort; between sickness and health; between staying on the wagon and falling off; between having an honest, healthy relationship with her children and descending back into abuse. She can't always walk that line, but she keeps fighting to find her way back.

Overall, it was beautiful, and hopeful.

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