Charlie Savage by Roddy Doyle

Originally written as a series for a newspaper, Charlie Savage is a funny look at men and middle age – not too long to be repetitive and not too short to leave you wanting more. The Goldilocks of a book – just the right size.

Charlie is a man who has a local with a friend he sits with and drinks his pint of Guiness. He struggles with being politically correct – is his son gay, pan sexual, intersexual, no just heterosexual, shouts at the radio, binges on box sets and loves football and wearing his football shirt everywhere. But he is also a man that loves his family very, very much. To the point of having a tattoo of Spongebob Squarepants on his chest because he is ‘looking after it’ for his three year old grandson who wants one for Christmas.

The book also looks at the generational differences. He loves shouting at the radio so his daughter tries to make him a social media influencer by videoing him shouting at the radio and putting it online. One of his sons has a girlfriend in a far away country and has never met her in real life and he finds this unbelievable. How can she be a girlfriend? Which the brings him round to his own early girlfriend and meeting up with them again. It should never be done!

Normally, with this type of character I would just be a bit irritated but he is redeemed by his love for his family. When off buying Christmas clothes with one of his grandchildren he reminisces about holding hands

I’m holding his hand but I’m holding all of my children’s hands, and my ma’s hand, and my da’s. I’m holding more than sixty years of living and love, sadness and joy, regret and acceptance.


Trump gets a look in as does fermentation of food. I love his description of Trump not being about to climb into his ‘final tracksuit’ and instead becomes President of the U.S. There is a lot of dialogue and a very strong Dublin voice providing authenticity to the tales.

These are vignettes of a man happy with his life but which are occassionally punctured by society’s current obsessions.

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