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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Jimmy Rabbitte Returns, 29 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: The Guts (Kindle Edition)
Author Roddy Doyle's creation Jimmy Rabbitte is now 47 years old, married to a strong and supportive wife Aoife with 4 bright young children. He has made a profitable living out of his internet business of rooting out and selling old Irish punk or post-punk records and researching the bands from the 1970's and 80's, enough to move to an up-market house. Unfortunately a sales slump with the recession forces him to sell 75% of his business and engage in Celtic Rock, 'Riverdance for Nazis', as he calls it. He is able to pay off his mortgage from the sale yet he still feels grief that he has let something special and personal go from his life. To cap it all he is diagnosed with bowel cancer that will require surgery and chemotherapy. He has to tell his family the news starting with his father Jimmy Sr, over a pint, with a snappy exchange of brilliance and observation that contains elements of comedy, unease and despair. He also bumps into Commitments' singer, still gorgeous, Imelda, in the pub who gives him her phone number. Explaining the cancer to his wife and children, the boys in particular, are almost unbearably moving.

Ever optimistic, Jimmy replies anyone who asks him how he is with, "I'm grand", but as the everpresent possibility of death sinks in, Jimmy admits to himself that he feels 'shattered and frightened'. The cancer theme is a prominent plot line but handled without being sentimental, morbid, solemn or over-reflective. Jimmy surrounds himself with his family with a genuine love and affection. Doyle adds old friend Outspan who Jimmy meets whilst in the chemotherapy hospital unit. He has terminal lung cancer. Their meeting and conversation is a highlight of the book.

Roddy Doyle's writing style retains his short conversational witty often repetitive dialogue with it's colloquialism and profanities. Some of the sub-plots could be expanded ( Jimmy's relationship with Imelda and estranged brother Les, for instance) and some later events come across as implausible or indulgent. I enjoyed this novel. It may lack the direction, drive and passion of the previous Rabbitte trilogy but it is still full of life, fun and humour without wallowing in nostalgia.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 17 Dec 2013 05:46:28 GMT
witchezcat says:
No point in buying the book now. Please don't write a complete synopsis of the book in your review, this had far too many "spoilers"
Put me off buying the book as I now know what's coming up :(
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