Saturday, February 17, 2007

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle

Oh, welcome back, Roddy. You went all abstract and arty on me with your Henry Smart books, and I was afraid I'd lost one of my favorite writers. But you've returned with one of my favorite characters. Paula Spencer has led such a grim life. Why does she make me so happy? She's been an abused wife, a drunken mother, and by all measures I guess she'd be a failure. But darn if she doesn't get up somehow and keep fighting. Roddy Doyle has done a gorgeous job of showing how we humans mess up our lives and mess up our kids, and say awful things to those we love and behave terribly toward others, yet somehow manage to muddle through. As both a mother who knows how guilty mothers feel, and the child of an alcoholic, I feel like this book is full of truths. Now I know Roddy Doyle isn't for everyone. His books are profane and full of swearing and shockingly bad behavior, and sometimes they aren't easy to read due to the fact that he never uses quotation marks or the wonderful phrases "he said" or "she said." But I don't care. If you want to really read A LIFE - this book and it's predecessor The Woman Who Walked Into Doors are well worth your time and effort. Bravo. Long live Roddy Doyle! Long live Paula Spencer!

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