Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Star Called Henry by Roddy Doyle

I was fourteen. None of the others knew, or would have believed it. I was six foot, two inches tall and had the shoulders of a boy built to carry the weight of the world. I was probably the best looking man in the G.P.O but there was nothing beautiful about me. My eyes were astonishing, blue daggers that warned the world to keep its distance. I was one of the few real soldiers there; I had nothing to fear and nothing to go home to.

Nathan wasn't kidding when he said he said he'd be "afri-mailing" this to me, and I'm sincerely grateful that he did. A Star Called Henry is now one of my all-time favorites and I can't wait to get my hands on Oh, Play That Thing, the second installment of Roddy Doyle's The Last Roundup trilogy. Nathan's review pretty much hit the nail on the head. It's a stark, gritty tale of the life of one man who helped make Ireland a republic. And he did it for all the wrong reasons. Henry Smart (Really... Great name) initially joins up with the I.R.A not to fight for Home Rule but to destroy the only Ireland he's ever known; the Ireland that took away his mother, his father, his younger brother, and left him dirt-poor and alone in the streets. Smart's first shots aren't fired at G-Men but at a shoe store that has come to symbolize the inequity of life in Dublin. It's a tale that reminds you that it's the poor who do the dying in a war, no matter which forces are doing battle.

More on Henry Smart: As with Nathan, Henry has become one of my favorite literary characters. He has just the right amount of intelligence, arrogance, and brute strength to back it up that you can't help but admire him. Frankly, any 8 year-old boy who knows all women want to bang him is alright in my book.

I recommend you all go out and give this book a read. It's a fast-paced story with memorable characters and historical relevance. What more can you ask for?

Highlights: Every time Henry speaks, crazy Ivan, Henry beating men to death with his father's peg leg
Lowlights: Totally reversed my opinion on Lloyd George even though its a work of fiction


Nihil Novum said...

Nathan is one of my favorite literary characters as well.

Christopher said...

I think he's a little underdeveloped.

Nathan said...

Shut up Chris you're underdeveloped.

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