Review: Skippy tussen de sterren, Paul Murray

Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Daniel 'Skippy' Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the Frisbee-playing Siren from the girls' school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest – including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath.

While his teachers battle over modernisation, and Ruprecht attempts to open a portal into a parallel universe, Skippy, in the name of love, is heading for a showdown – in the form of a fatal doughnut-eating race that only one person will survive. This unlikely tragedy will explode Seabrook's century-old complacency and bring all kinds of secrets into the light, until teachers and pupils alike discover that the fragile lines dividing past from present, love from betrayal – and even life from death – have become almost impossible to read . . .

Paul Murray is an Irish novelist. He studied English literature at Trinity College, Dublin and has written two novels: An Evening of Long Goodbyes (shortlisted for the Whitbread Prize in 2003, and nominated for the Kerry Irish Fiction Award) and Skippy Dies (longlisted for the 2010 Booker Prize and the 2010 Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic fiction).

I chose to read this book earlier last year because I kept picking it up and walking into it. When the bookstore had a discount on the eBook I decided to buy it and try it. I had not considered before buying the book because even though it seemed to be everywhere I was not sure if I would like it. Though I did finish the book my initial idea that it would probably not be a book for me was right.
The book is using a multiple point of view idea. You see the life at Seabrook trough the eyes of some of the teachers and some of the children. There are a few chapters on people not going to Seabrook but who are connected to the main characters. For some of these people I could really not find out why they had their chapters and what hints there where for the development of the story.
Due to the changing point of view the story was a bit messy. They where all at another place another time and when there was overlap between two characters it was not always in the next chapter making the time line difficult to follow.
I did not like the authors approach on 14 year old boys. Maybe I am expecting to much of an average 14 year old but I felt the author diminished the whole group to brainless sex maniacs with or without drug problem except for the totally oblivious overweight genius. I feel that with all the serious topics that are being discussed in the book the author used this group to make it a bit fun to read but it disturbed me very much.
The last thing I was annoyed with was the translation. I read the book in Dutch and some of the words where not translated or the wrong word was chosen in my opinion. I even found some sentences that where according to the English pattern and not the Dutch. This disturbed me badly and made that I found it a real struggle to read this book.

Skippy tussen de sterren
Author: Paul Murray
Publisher: Signatuur
ISBN: 9044962299
ISBN13: 9789044962291
Pages: 666
Format: eBook

Original title: Skippy Dies
Signatuur: Hardcover | eBook 
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