Must Read: Roddy Doyle's Facebook Page

Must Read: Roddy Doyle's Facebook Page

I am not sure quite how to approach this, you know. Roddy Doyle is one hell of a writer, he’s written some of my favorite books.

Add to that a surprising genius turn as the not-so-ghost-writer of Roy Keane’s second autobiography*, screenwriter, cultural critic and an all around character. If you are of a certain age, The Commitments movie was your favorite foreign film for a long time.

Facebook sucks, I hate it. 

I have it, most people have it. 

I am never sure why I check it, probably the occasional news bit of an old friend I don’t see anymore mitigates this a bit and makes it worth it. 

But Roddy Doyle’s Facebook page doesn’t suck, in fact it is pretty much fantastic. 

We can skip over the bits of reposting satire and news stories and the occasional plug, because the meat of why I love it is the stories. Doyle’s writing is dialogue-heavy, mostly rooted in Dublin and this translates to these 200-300 word snippets on the world such as this on Muhammad Ali’s Death:

The stories are always a conversation between two men at the pub. Filled with references to Irish cultural and events that I do not always get straight away (or sometimes ever). What I love about them is the Facebook post is in its essence the most disposable of mediums (twitter without a character limit) and these stories are attached to a photograph of two pints of Guinness, the algorithm never asks you to identify them.

On Brussels and the tragic drowning of an Irish family in their car:

I loved this Christmas post:

Well worth a follow on the Facebook or if you wisely opted out of the platform entirely (hi Laura!), just clicking through occasionally. Doyle interacts occasionally with his friends and followers; the damn thing feels more personal than most people’s profiles—more than my own, to be honest.

*Roy Keane: The Second Half. So, to add this bit of footnote, I had to go pour myself a cup of Barry’s Tea. When Sarah and I lived in Dublin, it was right at the turn of the century. Roy Keane was one of the best soccer players in the world, Manchester United had a team shop in Dublin (the biggest club in the world) and real and knock-off Man U. jerseys were everywhere. I was never much of a fan of the team, and honestly Premier League fandom at that time was not much of a real weekly option in the US as it is now. Unless you grew up with it, your choices were largely academic and trying to find something to identify with (be it politically, fashion {nicest uniforms} and players). Man U was the Yankees in my mind, not worth really rooting for, but I loved Roy Keane. 

While still playing Keane released his first autobiography “Keane” ghostwritten by Eamon Dunphy, a former player and journalist. An unavoidable face on Irish soccer, Dunphy always annoyed the fuck out of me and I skipped the book.

The Second Half begins with Keane in a tribunal defending himself from a section of the book and his premeditated tackle on a Manchester City player. The whole book is written like a monologue from Keane. As I read it, I had doubts and wasn’t sure it was worth my time. About 70% through I realized what a brilliant piece of writing by Roddy Doyle it was. The emotions and the plain speak of Keane as he talks about the second half of his career are an amazing match up to the story he is telling. Just a fantastic bit of literature and great storytelling and editing. I found the pivot from boring jock book to “oh my god I see what he did there” to be fantastic.

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