The novel tells of the childhood trials and traumas of 10-year old Patrick Clarke Jr., named for his pa. Every chance he gets he torments his younger brother whom he dubs Sinbad. Despite the abuse Sinbad constantly hangs around his older brother and his friends. Paddy lacks the gifts of natural leadership among his young hooligan peers and therefore likes a bully named Kevin. He does things to impress Kevin, including the bullying of his brother and other friends. Paddy and the gang of boys do all the things a parent would dread including lying, stealing, smoking, and fighting.
Paddy's life in Barrytown, Ireland takes on a more serious note as his parents proceed to constantly argue, with his father eventually becoming violent and dysfunctional in his interactions with Paddy's mother. The boys are traumatized by the thought of their family falling apart. Paddy takes on a paternal concern for his younger sibling but realizes he may be making the gesture too late to prevent his brother from suffering anguish over the impending breakup. Doyle's novel won the prestigious British Booker Prize.
This report prepared by David Fletcher