9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Read if you're after a good crack,
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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.