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Publisher's Summary

Paula O'Leary is hugely popular with the boys from her working-class Dublin neighbourhood. But it is the charming Charlo Spencer who finally gets her. Yet after their honeymoon, everything changes. When Charlo first strikes her, she is stunned. But as his violent outbursts develop from slaps and bruises to broken fingers and knocked-out teeth, she gradually loses all self-respect, denying how bleak things are and drinking heavily. This is the heart-rending story of a woman struggling to reclaim her dignity after a violent, abusive marriage.
©1996 Roddy Doyle; (P)2007 Isis Publishing
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Critic Reviews

"In feeling the pulse of a raw Dublin suburb, Doyle is recording a beat which can be recognised all over the world." (The Times)
"[Doyle] climbs into a woman's skin so brilliantly that you have to pinch yourself to remember this was written by a man." (Sunday Express)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Linda on 05-29-13

More Roddy Doyle Titles Please!!

I felt like I was literally hanging around with Paula. This book was the one that made me fall in love with Roddy Doyle as an author and Caroline Lennon as a narrator. The story and narration were absolutely bang on. I loved everything about this book. It was so "real". Thanks Roddy!

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By Linda on 12-19-10


This book is nothing short of wonderful. Not only did I fall in love with the characters, but I also loved the way it was written. This coming of age story set in Ireland made me laugh out loud, gave me chills, and made me cry too. It also made Caroline Lennon my favourite narrator. My only complaint is that it ended. It was one of those books that I wished I could unread just to re-experience it again for the first time. I've since bought the actual book and have relistened to this novel numerous times. Definitely worth your time!!

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Steven on 11-26-09

Such insight!

This isn't a shock-horror sort of book, using gratuitous violence to stun the reader. Rather, it shows how domestic violence is almost a daily experience for some women. The most shocking aspect is the realisation that this is just an ordinary family. There's almost certainly a 'Paula' living in your street!

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Carolyn on 09-10-16

Brilliant book, great performance

I have always loved this book and years ago had an audio book on cassette read by Ger Ryan (cassette - how old am I?). I loved the Ger Ryan performance and was worried how this one would measure up. Nothing to worry about. Caroline Lennon does an amazing job, I loved her performance which made a great story even better. This isn't just a straightforward story about domestic violence, it shows how complex people's relationships are. When you ask yourself why victims of domestic violence don't just leave think about this book.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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