Well now you know how the story ends, so there's no point in reading this book.
I do have to admire the audacity of an author who gives away the ending right there on the cover. Anyone with gall enough to do that better also have the chops to keep me engaged. Luckily, Paul Murray does. Rather than a sad book about a boy's death, Murray produces a funny, poignant, and fast-paced tale.
Set in a boys' school in Dublin, Skippy Dies is really about how Skippy lives. He is a 14-year-old who's trying to figure out the elusive character of girls, how to deal with his home life, and how to avoid bullies, some of them adults. He finds his escape through a healthy fantasy life and a not-so-healthy reality.
The school, Seabrook, is also going through some growing pains. The Acting Principal is a bully himself, with a master plan to rid the school of its historic affiliation with the Catholic church and to force the teachers and students to abide by his fickle rules. The boys and men in Seabrook find themselves in parallel universes of obsession and deception, universes that intersect at a fateful school dance.
But there is still a mystery that isn't answered in the title: Why did Skippy die on the floor of a doughnut shop? He wasn't eating anything, so the doughnuts can't be blamed. And why did he write "Tell Lori" in jelly filling on the floor? It's the "how did we get here" questioning that defines Skippy's story. (2011 - Faber and Faber)
Recipe: Crazy Burgers
It would be too obvious (and creepy) to give you a doughnut recipe here. So I thought I'd go with the next best thing, at least according to the boys at the Seabrook school. I received this hamburger recipe from a good friend years ago. Since then, I've seen variations on its peculiar ingredients, but they do combine well for a very moist and flavorful patty.
2 pounds hamburger
1/2 cup applesauce
1/2 cup crushed Ritz crackers
2 Tbsp. Accent
1 Tbsp. Tabasco
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1/2 envelope Lipton onion soup mix
Mix together and form into patties. Makes about 10 hamburgers. (from the terrific cook Harold Craven)