“Skippy Dies” by Paul Murray

Skippy dies. The bluntness of the title is in a way, an ideal summary of how the book is as a whole. Yet underneath that bluntness lies an array of broken hearts, damaged lives and troubled pasts, which all, as the novel progresses,  slowly make it to the surface.

Skippy dies leaving two separate worlds, that of the adults and that of the children, who, each in their own sufferings and troubles, fail to recognize the similarity in their feelings of not belonging, of being lost and often unloved.

Skippy dies and his death lingers like a secret portal to connect these worlds, although unbeknownst to them. The author manages to put some details of their daily lives overlap. Skippy used to roam the world of his video game in search for quests and the princess, and Howard lives these quests and the uncertainty in his real life. As Ruprecht desperately searches for a way to communicate with the ‘outside word’, everyone in the teacher’s lounge tries to reach to anyone who could understand them.

Skippy dies and leaves two worlds that barely manage to deal with his death, yet this is what makes the novel real and sympathetic.

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