The Butcher Boy – Patrick McCabe

19 Jun

This is another one of the 1001 Books to read before you die that I have been avoiding.  I guess I thought it would be disturbing.

It was.

Francis Brady is a very disturbed boy, and he tells this story in a form of first person narrative which has no respect for punctuation, sentence structure, or grammer rules.  At times it is hard for the reader to tell what is going on in his head, and what is going on in the real world.

Francis has the same problem.  Trapped in a world where his fantasies and imagination fill in the gaps, he live a life in an Irish town with his abusive Father, and suicidal Mother.  He tries to act like everyone else, but he isn’t.  When a schoolboys mother refers to him and his family as “a family of pigs” it pushes his fragile mind into an obsession with pigs, and with the Mother and her family.  He takes out his obsession in the strangesy ways: breaking into their house to defecate on the floor, stalking the son, obsessiong over his friendship with his own friends.

Told through his eyes, we get an un-nerving view into a very fractured mind.

Reading it was a little like reading a cross between A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man and The Lord of the Flies.

Not one I would recommend for the faint of heart.

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Posted by on June 19, 2010 in books


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