Stuff & Nonsense: Not Just for Christmas


21 June 2013

Not Just for Christmas


After twenty years apart Jimmy Murphy has called his brother, Danny, and invites him for a drink at a local pub. Danny is nervous -- there is so much bad blood between them -- but agrees to meet his brother. On the way to the pub, Danny dawdles along, not wanting to be early as Jimmy ways always late for things. And then he gets to remembering (obsessing?) over some rather terrible boyhood memories starring Jimmy. His brother almost suffocating him. His brother and friends "kidnapping" him. His brother with a bread knife. His brother with his girl.

"You always were the mammy's boy," he said.
"Grow up," said Danny.
"You're the one who should grow up," said Jimmy. "You never could stand up for yourself. Someone else was always to blame. You were always running to Ma. And you haven't changed a bit."

Of course, it's impossible to know if Danny is a reliable narrator as Jimmy's memories don't match. And surely they must have good memories of each other, but if that's so the story doesn't say. It doesn't really matter who's at fault or if they have good memories of each other, really, because I found them both equally unsympathetic. I know these are fictional men, but are brothers really like this with each other? If so ... ugh.

Not Just for Christmas by Roddy Doyle (Gemma Media, 2009)

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