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The Woman Who Walked Into Doors [Paperback]

Roddy Doyle
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 5.59 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

5 May 1997
This is the heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage and a worsening drink problem. Paula Spencer recalls her contented childhood, the audacity she learned as a teenager, the exhilaration of her romance with Charlo, and the marriage to him that left her powerless. Capturing both her vulnerability and her strength, Doyle gives Paula a voice that is real and unforgettable.

Frequently Bought Together

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors + Paula Spencer + Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha
Price For All Three: 18.37

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  • Paula Spencer 7.19
  • Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha 5.59


Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (5 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 8129118467
  • ISBN-13: 978-8129118462
  • ASIN: 0749395990
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,565 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958. He is the author of eleven acclaimed novels including The Commitments, The Snapper, and The Van, two collections of short stories, Rory & Ita, a memoir about his parents, and most recently, The Guts. He won the Booker Prize in 1993 for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha.

Product Description

Review

"In feeling the pulse of a raw Dublin suburb, Doyle is recording a beat that can be recognised all over the world" (The Times)

"This new novel is Roddy Doyle's best to date. I cannot recall any writer who has better captured the vulnerability and courage of a woman trapped in a loveless marriage" (Cork Examiner)

"Even more mesmerizing than his prize-winning Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha" (Daily Mail)

"Impassioned, dignified and richly humane" (Independent)

"It is the triumph of this novel that Doyle - entirely without condescension - shows the inner life of this battered housewife to be the same stuff as that of the heroes of the great novels of Europe" (Mary Gordon New York Times Book Review)

Book Description

The gritty, moving and mesmerising story of Paula Spencer, an ordinary woman whose extraordinary character will stay with you long after reading.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Days of Paula Spencer 26 Feb 2007
By Craobh Rua VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Roddy Doyle was born in Dublin in 1958 and saw his first novel, "The Commitments" published in 1987. It was later adapted for the big screen, a version that saw Star Trek's Colm Meaney and a very young Andrea Corr among the cast. Doyle went on to win the Booker Prize in 1993 with "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha". This is his sixth novel and was first published in 1996.

"The Woman Who Walked Into Doors" is set in Dublin and is told by Paula Spencer, a woman in her late thirties. Both Paula's parents are dead, while only two of her siblings `appear' in the book - her sisters, Carmel and Denise. She did have another sister, Wendy, who died in a motorbike accident, while her brothers - Roger, Edward and George - are only ever mentioned in passing. Paula's relationship with her father had once been good, though it seemed to have deteriorated as time went on. [...]. Paula, meanwhile, hasn't Roger in years, and isn't particularly bothered about it - theirs was another difficult relationship.

However, it's Paula's relationship with her husband, Charlo, that's central to the book. They have been separated for over a year as the book opens - though they are still technically, married. They couple had four children together, three of whom still live with Paula. (She hasn't seen her eldest son, John-Paul, in quite some time: she last heard of him squatting in some flats and suspects he's on heroin). She works as a cleaner, just about earns enough to make ends meet and is an alcoholic. As if all that isn't enough, the book opens with the arrival of a policeman at her front door to inform her of Charlo's death. Paula spends the book looking back over her life in general and her time with Charlo in particular.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Rarely is an author capable of writing the voice of the opposite sex in a realistic, un-gender-biased manner. Doyle's Paula is heartbreakingly real, both as a character and as a woman. Abuse is a painful topic to read about, and the diary-like frankness with which we learn about Paula's life is brutal yet without self-pity. She tells the story beginning to end, with the love and fear, hate and happiness as it happens. The regrets are obviously there, but the underlying power of this woman who survives, after everything, just survives...wow. I'm a huge Doyle fan in general. While this is a departure from the hilarity of the Barrytown Trilogy, and is a heavier undertaking than Paddy Clark (which is another incredible book) it it a fantastic book and a highly recommended read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I had to read this for one of my modules on my degree course. I would have never picked it up otherwise, but I have never been so glad that a book was on my reading list! I really felt for Paula. To me, she became a real person, not just a character, After a couple of pages I completely forgot that the book was written by a man. It was such a tragic story, yet heartwarming and funny at the same time. If you liked "Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha", you'll love this!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The woman who opened the door to Roddy Doyle 10 Mar 2000
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
There is a little bit of Paula in all of us. A young woman drawn to the boy that you knew your mother would hate, Charlo, he oozes badness from every pore but it someone who we can all relate to. We have all been there, snogging the bad lad in the local disco, defying our parents wishes to find a decent young man. Rodddy Doyle excels himself here in his first novel written through the eyes of a young Dublin woman, he writes with such truth and reality that all women can identify with this book, a tear jerker, a shocker, one that you certainly can't put down.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Hard to read, but hard to put down... 13 Sep 2005
By Fantasy Lore TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I found this book to be a completely convincing account of an abused wife and mother, as well as a subtly moving and well crafted read. However, the central characters' lack of individuality, dependence on her husband Charlo and unwillingness to leave the man whose beatings she endures for years...might not endear some of you to her. Certainly those of you who prefer independent and feisty characters and who shout at the pages when they don't assert themselves will very likely find this book difficult, as I did to some extent.
But it's not just the content here that makes for often frustrating reading, but also the style- any other author dealing with the same topic would surely sensationalise the story of a character like Paula, but this story has more of a true-to-life feel in that the main character isn't made particularly sympathetic by Doyle- events are recounted as they happen with little emotion or judgement attached. And since only the events of Paula's past relevant to her current predicament (i.e. meeting, marrying and having children with her husband) are explored in the story...the reader doesn't get to see Paula as anything other than a daughter, wife and mother- the roles she plays with no concept of herself outside those signifiers. So putting it bluntly- following a character who acts solely as a cipher to those around her doesn't make for thrilling reading, especially as she does very little to become anything more, or even has any great desire to leave her husband. But in spite of her temperament, or perhaps because of it, I definitely sympathised with her and found it easier as a result to believe how she could stay with her abusive husband, as she really doesn't see any viable alternatives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Real World ...Like It Or Not.
Fabulous glimpse into the lives of,well 'people'. Ordinary people.The issues dealt with are mercifully not sanitised in anyway shape or form. Read more
Published 29 days ago by SKSWBA
5.0 out of 5 stars Painful but excellent
Anyone who has experienced marital abuse [which I haven't] or helped to look after those who have "escaped" into a refuge [which I have] will recognise the emotions which... Read more
Published 4 months ago by M. J. Stewart
5.0 out of 5 stars Remarkable
One of the most remarkable things about Roddy Doyle's writing is its simplicity. In fact, off the top of my head, I cannot think of another writer who achieves such emotional... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Keith M
2.0 out of 5 stars Grim Reading
I can't make my mind up about this book or not as to whether I enjoyed it. The story was depressing - about an alcoholic woman who is beaten frequently by her husband. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Rachel
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
This book isn't nearly as bad as the title suggests. It gives an insight into domestic abuse but also how the whole family cope with it. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant
Strange punctuation (who says what?); short sentences and very strong language reflect real life and really work to heart-wrenching effect. I read it twice straight off.
Published 7 months ago by George R Taylor
5.0 out of 5 stars Love it
I just simply love Roddy Doyle, and was very happy that I could buy all his work at amazon. The book arrived in good time, so I could start reading it just a couple of days after... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Rita Varga
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric
Moody and atmospheric.
Written in Doyles usual observant style.
A tragic love story not for the fainthearted, but a must read.
Published 10 months ago by D. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Exellent book.
Definately his best work. I would recommend this book, it is very gritty and down to earth covering adult materials.
Published 10 months ago by Jeff Sutherland
3.0 out of 5 stars From Stephen King's 'On Writing' Reading List
I picked up this novel as part of my task to read through all of Stephen King's 'On Writing' reading list. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Ashley
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