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Skippy Dies


Skippy Dies Cover

ISBN13: 9780865478619
ISBN10: 0865478619
Condition: Standard
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Reading Group Guide

1. What were your initial theories about why Skippy died?

2. Why cant Howard be happy with Halley? Is his obsession with Aurelie any different from

Skippys obsession with Lori?

3. Who are the heroes and villains in this novel? Is the bad behavior due to bad parenting, high testosterone levels, materialism, lack of belief in a difficult God? Other factors?

4. How does Seabrook compare with your high school? Which characters most closely resemble you and your circle of friends?

5. What do the novels priests have to say about the nature of the suffering they see at Seabrook? Do they defy or fit the stereotype of prep-school priests?

6. When Carls parents fight loudly (David versus jealous mother Lucia), what do you think theyre teaching him about love? How do they manage to stay so clueless about their son?

7. With his emphasis on marketing, branding, and public relations, does the Automator (Greg Costigan) reflect a typical trend in education today?

8. Would the novel have been as interesting if it had been set at the all-girls school St. Brigids? Are teenage girls as destructive as teenage boys?

9. Howard tells the Automator that Skippy earned his nickname because he has buck teeth, which cause him to make a kangaroo-like noise when he speaks. What makes Skippy an easy target? Are those who pick on him (including Father Green, badgering Skippy about obscenity in front of the whole French class) sadistic?

10. Google “M-theory.” What do the articles seem to say about the search for order in the universe, even before the Big Bang? Why is it an ideal theory for Ruprechts obsession, and for this novel? 

11. Part I closes with a blend of Professor Tamashis interview on the eleventh dimension and scenes from Skippys “seduction” by Lori. What does it take to give and get love in Skippy Dies? What do those scenes say about the reality that love creates? What does the novel say about the reality that drugs create?

12. Loris father, Gavin Wakeham, is an alumnus of Seabrook, and he is eager to share with Skippy his recollections of the faculty (which included a fondler, alumni who returned to their alma mater to teach when other opportunities didnt work out, and the perennially socially conscious Father Green). What impressions did the school make on Mr. Wakeham? What impressions will it leave on Skippys class?

13. Discuss Ruprechts quartet and the musical performance he links to communicating with the dead. Is it a step forward or backward for him, mentally?

14. Which came first: Carls drug use or his obsession with power and violent sex? When he became haunted by Dead Boy, did you think he was seeing a hallucination or a ghost? Reread his explosive closing scene. Is he a Demon, or the victim of one?

15. After Skippys funeral, his father tells Howard that Skippys great-grandfather served in Gallipoli. Does Skippys generation lack valor?

16. Howard and Father Green are appalled to see the Automator defend Coach Roche. Is Tom worthy of defense?

17. Ultimately, who is to blame for Skippys death?

18. Discuss part IV, “Afterland.” Is Gregs message a victory letter? Did he get everything he


Guide written by Amy Clements / The Wordshop, Inc.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 9 comments:

Jeffrey Bluhm, May 23, 2015 (view all comments by Jeffrey Bluhm)
Despite the sad inevitability the title suggests, and delivers on even in the Prologue, this is a entertaining, if at times darkly so, novel. Numerous plot lines, both major and minor, intertwine seamlessly; the most amusing, because of the accuracy with which the author captures teenage boy relationships, dialogue, and humor, is that of Skippy and his friends. The excitement and confusion of a first crush is evident as well in Skippy's pursuit of Lori, and the melancholy of (teacher) Howard's middle-age crisis hits close to home for those of us at a more...mature stage in our lives. The characters are fully developed and, though I (thankfully) can't claim a boarding school background, the nature of such an experience, for both students and adults alike, seemed an accurate portrayal. Thoroughly enjoyable!
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Matthew Yasuoka, December 9, 2014 (view all comments by Matthew Yasuoka)
In prose that sings and snickers at its own brilliance, Murray tells a story that is funny and sad, beautiful and disgusting, despicable and laudable. It is a work full of flawed characters, who struggle to comprehend the biggest things in the world despite their tinyness. I'm reading it for the third time after seeing "Interstellar," because this book melds science and philosophy, discusses love and nature, in the same striking and erudite way that the Nolan film does. It's my favorite book of all time and never disappoints.
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Peter D'Luhosch, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by Peter D'Luhosch)
Toss up between this book and "Lionel Asbo" for my favorite book of 2012. "Skippy" is just filled with so many people that you really care about - "Lionel", not so many.
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Product Details

Murray, Paul
Faber & Faber
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
8.25 x 5.5 in

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Skippy Dies Used Trade Paper
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$9.95 In Stock
Product details 672 pages Faber & Faber - English 9780865478619 Reviews:
"Review" by , “Extravagantly entertaining....One of the great pleasures of this novel is how confidently [Paul Murray] addresses such disparate topics as quantum physics, video games, early-20th-century mysticism, celebrity infatuation, drug dealing, Irish folklore and pornography....Six hundred sixty-one pages may seem like a lot to devote to a bunch of flatulence-obsessed kids, but that daunting length is part and parcel of the cause to which Skippy Dies, in the end, is most devoted. Teenagers, though they may not always act like it, are human beings, and their sadness and loneliness (and their triumphs, no matter how temporary) are as momentous as any adults. And novels about them — if they're as smart and funny and touching as Skippy Dies — can be just as long as they like.”
"Review" by , “Murray's humor and inventiveness never flag. And despite a serious theme — what happens to boys and men when they realize the world isn't the sparkly planetarium they had hoped for — Skippy Dies leaves you feeling hopeful and hungry for life. Just not for doughnuts.”
"Review" by , "Funny, tragic, thoroughly captivating....One of the most enjoyable books of the year."
"Review" by , "Skippy is so desperately, painfully alive that you hope the mere act of reading about him will save him....A virtuosic display you'd expect from a writer with the confidence to kill off his title character in the title."
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