This was Roddy Doyle’s debut novel, published in 1987. It was adapted into a movie, in 1991, and in a West End musical theater show, last summer. It tells the story of a group of young Irishmen-and-women who form a soul band, reach some level of local success, and suddenly crash and burn due to interpersonal conflicts.
I picked up the book for one very, very specific reason: there is a small chance that I might see the musical this summer, and I didn’t want to take the risk of breaking my personal vow to read the book first, whenever I can.
I was pleasantly surprised by the book. In many ways, the writing is similar to my own: on the short side (the copy I had was 176 pages long, with a pretty good sized print) and dialog heavy. The writing is also different to my own, in many ways. There are a lot of quoted song lyrics and onomatopoeic representation of musical instruments, which I don’t do because the idea of breaking copyright laws and getting sued really scare me. There are no chapters, which I’ve never tried, but I might, at some point, because I find it interesting. The dialog is written with a very heavy accent, which I don’t do because reading accents annoys me, and I don’t like inflicting things that annoy me unto other people.
But still, picking up this book, knowing it was a success, adapted to the stage and the screen alike, and noticing similarities with my own writing style, it’s nice. It gives me hope for the future.