Thursday, February 01, 2007

Paula Spencer by Roddy Doyle

It’s been 12 years since Doyle introduced us to Paula as The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, a battered wife and mother struggling with alcoholism. At the time, Doyle said he’d like to revisit her at some point in the future to see how she was doing. Here we are. When we left Paula, she was hiding her gin in the garden shed and tossing the key out in the yard to make it difficult for herself to drink. Unlike his last two books, sweeping novels both, Doyle instead keeps this story small. At this point, Paula is making a life for herself, a life she never thought she could actually live soberly. These small victories—holding down a job, saving money, being a responsible adult, at last—are all new to her and something to help measure her life. She’s also dealing with the guilt of raising her kids while drunk. I’m glad Doyle wanted to write about Paula. I’m so happy to see her again.

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