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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read if you're after a good crack
I was probably the only person left in the world who had niether seen `the Commitments' or read a Roddy Doyle Book. Well shame on me, cause this is a great little debut. Small and perfectly formed it's a cracking read and must have made for a fun film. I'm always interested in authors first novels and this should be a blue print for any aspiring writers. Doyle keeps it...
Published on 21 May 2010 by Dario McGeachy

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but don't bother if you've already seen the film
I was susprised at the lavish praise on the back cover - eg. "immensely funny story which leaves you gasping for more", "brilliantly funny", etc. One quote says it an Irish version of the Blues Brothers and that says it all - ie, it's all been done before, just this time there's an Irish twist. The band personalities stuff was all a bit of a cliche - maybe I'm jaded...
Published on 18 Aug. 2011 by Peter Coats


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Read if you're after a good crack, 21 May 2010
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This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
I was probably the only person left in the world who had niether seen `the Commitments' or read a Roddy Doyle Book. Well shame on me, cause this is a great little debut. Small and perfectly formed it's a cracking read and must have made for a fun film. I'm always interested in authors first novels and this should be a blue print for any aspiring writers. Doyle keeps it simple and writes what he knows. He knows Dublin and clearly, he got Soul as well.

The story follows Jimmy Rabbitte as he attempts to put together a soul band from a loose collection of friends in the Barrytown area of Dublin. They don't set out to conquer the world or get stinking rich, they're just looking for a `good crack'. Along the way Rabitte recruits Joey `the Lips' Fagan an old hand who's played with all the Greats but has come back to Dublin to blow some Soul into the Brothers, `there wouldn't be so much trouble if the Brothers has some soul in them' he says. Boys are always brothers and girls are always sisters to Joey `the lips' Fagan. He is on a mission from God but similarities to the Blues Brothers end there. Jimmy then recuits the Commitmentettes who add a bit of Glamour and Deco Cuffe, an arrogant sod with a killer voice to do the singing. Any guesses where the dramatic tensions gonna come from?

All members assembled Rabitte focuses on the process of molding them into a passable Motown Outfit - complete with a memorable stage naming sequence - and Doyle focuses solely on the band. Suggesting that there wouldn't be so much trouble in Ireland if people chilled out and listened to some good old Soul music is about as political the book gets, there's a bit of love interest with the Commitmentettes but we never see any of them outside the context of the band meeting or rehersals or gigs, we never stray from this core group of characters and locations, the writing is low on descriptive exposition and heavy on the dialogue which is spoken in a thick Dublin accent which I never found tough to understand. It all contributes to a fun and breezy little treat, it's never spectacular but it will put a big smile on your face.

One last thing to mention if you do plan on reading it; brush up on you Motown. The rehersal sequences especially are full of lyrics and dums and da das for the rhythm and beat. If you know the song your singing along with them, if your don't your kinda stumped. 'Night Train' and 'What becomes of the broken hearted' are essential study. Class is now in session.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars OK, but don't bother if you've already seen the film, 18 Aug. 2011
By 
Peter Coats "Art Davis" (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
I was susprised at the lavish praise on the back cover - eg. "immensely funny story which leaves you gasping for more", "brilliantly funny", etc. One quote says it an Irish version of the Blues Brothers and that says it all - ie, it's all been done before, just this time there's an Irish twist. The band personalities stuff was all a bit of a cliche - maybe I'm jaded because I've been in lots of bands - and not very authentic.

Still, it's mildly amusing and very short - take out the song lyrics and it's only around 120 pages. The film's much better, not just because I saw that before reading the book, but really because, after all, this is a book about music, so no written description is an adequate substitute for the real thing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic, 26 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Commitments (Kindle Edition)
I picked up The Commitments again after listening to Roddy on Radio 2 recently talking about the new book he's written about Jimmy. I have always loved the film and was ashamed to think I had never read the book.

I was absorbed immediately in the vibrant characters and simplicity of the story line. In one respect the book is simple and yet at the same time complex. It truly reflects the Ireland of the era, the economy, the politics, the unemployment, the naivety in many ways that still existed. Respect for parents for example. Fear of the tyrant father or matriarchal mother figure, yet the desire to dream and become something more.

If you love music of any kind this book is for you. I love the way the lyrics to songs are linked throughout the story, often in their entirety. Loved it. If like me you are guilty of never ready The Commitments then don't delay.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutly brilliant!, 30 Nov. 1999
This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
This book engages its readers into the trials and tribulations of Jimmy Rabbitte who wants to start up a soul band. Along the way we meet the likes of Joey 'the lips', who is a middle aged man who claims to have played with all the soul greatsbut he is about as hip as an old man wearing slippers, and Deco who is violent with the microphone and all of the band hate but is kept because he has one of the greatest soul voices. It is really funny and the writng style of Doyle is great as he uses colloquial language which moves at such a fast comical pace.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A cracking good read, 28 Feb. 2012
By 
Mr. R. Lockley "richie68" (england) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
The book that inspired the film is a great read, filled with hope and optimism that made the film such a hit, If like me you've seen the film you'll hear the voices jump out the book at you as you laugh through each chapter, It really is an enjoyable read from start to finish.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutly brilliant!, 30 Nov. 1999
This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
This book engages its readers into the trials and tribulations of Jimmy Rabbitte who wants to start up a soul band. Along the way we meet the likes of Joey 'the lips', who is a middle aged man who claims to have played with all the soul greatsbut he is about as hip as an old man wearing slippers, and Deco who is violent with the microphone and all of the band hate but is kept because he has one of the greatest soul voices. It is really funny and the writng style of Doyle is great as he uses colloquial language which moves at such a fast comical pace.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An author before his time, 2 Sept. 2014
This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
Written before its time...

Doyle's rapid, dialogue-heavy narrative is a style more suited to the current igeneration where heavy prose may seem an antiquated style.

His acerbic wit shows through the characters' snappy repartee allowing the story to fly by so quickly that, before you realise, you are turning the final page.

Although I've heard of Roddy Doyle for years, I have only just begun reading his work. It is unlikely this will be my final meeting with his work - he is a true magician of modern writing
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Deadly!!!!, 24 April 2014
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This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
Brilliant book. Plenty of laugh out loud moments! Quite short but sweet. I've seen the film the show and now read the book. All worth it!
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3.0 out of 5 stars A classic but now looks dated, 13 Nov. 2013
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G. TAYLOR (London UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Commitments (Kindle Edition)
I saw the film and the London show before picking up this 1980's book. The dialog is still hilarious, and the basis for the stage show, but Alan Parker's 1991 film added so much to the plot and expanded the basic characters so effectively that I was disappointed in the book. If you've had no contact with this Dublin fable it's still fascinating. If you know the film then don't bother - except as a piece of research.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Soul power, 11 Feb. 2014
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This review is from: The Commitments (Paperback)
Fascinating 'episode' in the life of a fictional soul band in Ireland, their beginnings and rise to their climax together. Doyle brings out angst and soul, of the unemployed and under used, the talented but looked over, the struggles of getting on day by day suddenly given hope and a dream and what they do with it.

Oddly written in a way, almost like a script, but good fun for what it is.
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The Commitments
The Commitments by Roddy Doyle (Paperback - 6 Dec. 1990)
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