by Paul Murray
"Now, what I want is facts." (Charles Dickens, Hard Times)
"Through the window the neon doughnut sign shines in at you, the door of doors, the gateway to everything beyond, today and yesterday and the day before, all the times and people you have ever loved. 'Maybe it's my lucky day,' you say." (Skippy Dies, p 457)
Take one part Our Miss Brooks, add a dash of The History Boys, and mix it all with a dollop of postmodern drollery and you begin to approximate the experience of reading this mixed up story of modern youth in academia. Both less serious than the Enfield Tennis Academy and a lot more fun, most of the time (certainly more fun than Mr. Gradgrind's school in Coketown), I found this an energetic light read that was refreshing, if not quite able to attain the heights that some its hype would suggest. Perhaps I am too old to see all of the important meaning hiding beneath the irony and satire, but so be it. Give me James Hilton or R. F. Delderfield and I'm happy.
Skippy Dies by Paul Murray. Faber & Faber, New York. 2010
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