Boekverslag : Roddy Doyle - The Snapper
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Book's data

Title: The Snapper

Author: Doyle, Roddy

Publisher: Wolters-Noordhoff BV, Groningen

Edition: 1998


The story actually excists of two storylines: The storyline about Sharon being pregnant, and a storyline about the 'normal' life in an Irish family.

There are eight people in the Rabbitte-family: Veronica, the mother; Jimmy Sr., the father; Jimmy Jr., Darren, Tracy and Linda (they're twins), Leslie, and Sharon.

The main character of this family is Sharon. In the first chapter of the book she tells to Veronica an Jimmy Sr. that she's pregnant. She won't tell who the father is. She also won't tell the news to her brothers and sisters, and not even to her best friends: Jackie O'Keefe, Mary Curran and Yvonne Burgess. Only three people know it.

Sharon is preparing herself on her baby, she buys a book, and reads every night a few pages. Then comes the day that she thinks that she must tell the others that she's pregnant. At breakfast, she tells the news to Jimmy Jr., Linda, Tracy, Darren and Leslie. They all find it fantastic. The same evening, she tells the great news to her friends, only she won't tell who is the father. They also find the news magnificent. Of course in a short time the whole village knows the news, but no-one knows who the father is. The reader gets to know how 'it' happened, but still not who the father is. At one day, Sharon goes to the neighbour from across the street, George Burgess and talks to him about the baby, now the reader knows who the father is. She says that she doesn't want anything to do with him. A few days later she hears that Mister Burgess has runned away from home. Nobody knows why. Than at one night, Sharon is in bed, Linda hears a ticking-sound at the window. She wakes Sharon, and Sharon looks. It's George Burgess. Sharon doesn't react, and she's going to bed again. A few days later she receives a letter from Mister Burgess, he asks her to come to a church, at eight o'clock. Sharon doesn't come. Then again a few days later, Misses Burgess receives a letter from Mister Burgess. He explains why he has runned away. He has had an affair with a younger girl, and now she's expecting a baby. He still loves his wife, but he loves this girl too, that's why he has runned away. Soon the whole village knows this, and everybody makes the connection between the runned-away Mister Burgess, and the pregnant Sharon. Now starts the battle of the family Rabbitte to deny that George Burgess is the father of Sharon's baby. First nobody believes Sharon, nor Jimmy Sr. Especially Jimmy Sr. has a hard time, because he thinks everybody is laughing about him and his daughter. Sharon make sup a story about a Spanish sailor, who would be the father. It's hard to believe for everybody, but at last almost everybody believes that is happened like Sharon says it happened. So Sharon has convinced everybody that not Mister Burgess, but a unknown Spanish sailor is the father. Mister Burgess returns. A few days after that, Sharon gave birth to a daughter. She calls her Georgina, probably everybody would call her Gina, but Sharon would call her George, and so would the others after a while.

Main characters

Sharon --> She is the main character of the book. She's 20 years old, and a daughter of Veronica an Jimmy Sr. She goes through a hard time, pregnant from a married man, but she won't admit that. She's a good girl, always supporting other people, but she needs a lot of support too. Although she lied about the baby's father, she names the baby after the real dad.

Jimmy Sr --> The father of Sharon, and husband of Veronica. He works, but every evening he's in his favourite pub, together with his friends. First he supports Sharon, but when everybody 'knows' that Mister Burgess is the father, he takes a bit distance of Sharon. Not for long. Then he has a hard time, he actually not believes his daughter, but when anyone says that George Burgess is the father, or says anything else offensive about Sharon, he starts a fight. He loves his daughter very much.

Rabbittes --> The Rabbittes are a strange family. Darren wants to be a cycling-prof. Jimmy Jr. is a DJ. Linda and Tracy first want to do ballet, then ballroom dancing. Leslie is never at home, or he's out, or he's searching for work, or he's in bed. Veronica keeps the family together. Jimmy Sr. takes care of the money, together with Sharon. They probably are a normal Irish family.

Concept of the book

The author probably has two meaning with his book. In the first place he wants to show how a normal Irish family is living; a bit rough. At the second place he wants to show that lying isn't always the right way to avoid your problems. When Mister Burgess admits he's the father, Sharon lies, and says that there was a Spanish sailor, she even says it to Mister Burgess. But she isn't feeling better saying that. And at the end of the book she realises that lying isn't always a solution, and she 'honours' him by giving the baby his name.

Form of the book

Roddy Doyle writes all the conversations between the people in 'speaklangage'. All the words are written like the are said.

| -D'yeh want to keep it?

| -Wha' d'yeh mean?

| -D'yeh --- d'you want to keep it, like?

| -He wants to know if you want to have an abortion, said Veronica.

| -The eejit.

This is how the whole book's written. It's a bit strange first, but you'll get used to it. By using this language, the writer reaches that the reader can feel the story, you can feel the family-environment. That's a very strong point of this book.

The book is written in third person. There is a narrator, who tells everything. In conversations he citates the people who are saying something. Although you would think this isn't good for the spirit, you don't even notice it.

The book is subdivided into small parts. These parts are sometimes long (a few pages), but sometimes they are very short (one single line). Between the parts are spaces in time, or movements of place. The author often says in the smaller parts how the moods from some characters are, and in the longer parts he just tells the story. By using this way of subdividing, the author reaches that the book gets the same form as the language and behaving from the characters. It's a bit disorderly, like at the Rabbittes. You can imagine the situation even better.


The book's a sort of drama, but with a lot of jokes. It's very humouristic, but some parts of the book are very serious, with a deeper thought behind it.

The book isn't very old, it's written in 1990, so it's pretty modern. That's something what I find very important, now I can imagine things good. When a book is very old, it's hard to imagine. I think it's the power of the writer, which makes the book very realistic. I actually can't find anything negative about this book. It's full of humour, it reads really good and quick and the story isn't boring, there's always happening something. It is a really great book
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