Ireland of the 50s 60s 70s 80s.
He who dares be different........... gets a slap
Thankfully we have moved on.......
I wish I could break this novel down into 3 parts and my rating would differ on all three. The first 200 pages I just could not connect with the characters or the book as I felt situations and conversations especially the conversation between the 7 year old boys and the confessional scene and the numerous over played comic scenes and ridiculous coincidences made me want to throw this book at a wall as it just bordered on the ridiculous (2 Stars) and yet something compelled me to stay with the novel and I was so glad I did as the next couple of hundred pages the novel seems to find it's rhythm and was a wonderful insight into Ireland of the 1940s to today WARTS and all. (4 stars) and the last 200 pages were just deeply affecting and heartbreaking and hypnotic. John Boyne at his best.(5 Stars).
I am a fan of John Boyne and have enjoyed most of his novels and this one without doubt shows of his masterful storytelling as he depicts an Ireland that was ruled by religion and prejudice. An Ireland that many many people suffered in the name of religion and their childhood memories were dominated by cruelty in some shape or form. And yet we have come a long in the last 20 years with some 62% of the Irish Republic electorate voting in favour of Gay marriage in 2015 and 2017 sees Leo Varadkar becoming Ireland's first gay prime minister which shows how much our little country has changed and for the better on so many other levels as well.
This is a book that is humorous (sometimes boarding on farcical) tender, heartbreaking shocking and powerful.
Beware there is quite a lot of profanity so don't say you weren't F***ING! warned.
I think this book would make a terrific book club discussion read as I dare you read it and not have an opinion or a meaniful discussion on it.
I was lucky to have a hard copy of this book and to listen to it on audible as well and both worked well for me.