I finished my 2015 reading year with Paul Murray’s entertaining novel, Skippy Dies. Pop over to Goodreads and you’ll see that it’s been reviewed a squillion times already, so I’m quite sure there is little I can add, except of course my endorsement. And I would like to talk about my favourite character, Mario, a 14-year-old Italian stallion (or so he’d like to think).
Now those familiar with the novel might initially say “Mario…? Who…?” Sure, he was a bit part, just another in the gang of school boys that hung out with the stars of the story, Skippy and Ruprecht. But Mario is bestowed the very best school-boy dialogue I’ve ever had the pleasure (?!) of reading.
“‘I don’t know about you guys, but I am planning to score a lot of bitches at this Hop. Probably I will start with one really hot girl, straight sex, no frills. Then I will have a sixty-nine. Then it will be time for a threesome.'”
See? Gold. And there’s more –
“‘There is already too much maths,’ Mario chimes in. ‘More beaver, less maths, that’s what I say.’
‘Yes, well, if Newton had said that, we wouldn’t have the law of gravity,’ Ruprecht says.
And the best, during German class –
“‘Ich habe ein Schnitzel für meine Mutter nicht gekauft. What did you not buy today, Uwe? I did not buy a Schnitzel for my mother.’
‘I’ve got a Schnitzel for his mother.’
‘Mario, your Schnitzel wouldn’t feed a mouse.'”
It’s so basic, it’s hilarious.
I’m focusing on the fluff and frills – there are deeper messages in Skippy Dies – peer pressure and the role of the Church in education are explored alongside the quaint – Irish folklore, scientific theory, Diablos*, alien life and the true meaning of Robert Frost’s poems (quite frankly, the 660+ pages of Skippy Dies were worth it for the paragraph on Frost alone).
4/5 Skippy dies and so much more.
If you’ve read Skippy Dies you’ll know that there’s only one thing to be served with this book (and if you haven’t read it, you’ll understand my choice by reading the first page). Doughnuts.
*the name given to the igniting of, and ignited, farts.