"The Woman Who Walked Into Doors" by Roddy Doyle

Roddy Doyle, an internationally famous writer from Dublin, who won the Booker Prize in 1993 for a novel called "Paddy Clark Ha-Ha-Ha" , wrote a novel called "The Woman Who Walked Into Doors".

For my money, that's the one that should have won the Booker Prize. Roddy Doyle treats this difficult topic with sensitivity, humour, irony, and sympathy for the Woman Who Walked Into Doors.

This woman (Paula Spencer) is a battered wife. She isn't really walking into doors all the time; that's her excuse for the black eyes and split lips she suffers from the beatings her husband delivers. The book is written from her point of view; it's written with her voice, telling her story. I was truly amazed to find out this book was written by a man.

This book is also a social commentary: with featherweight irony, Mr. Doyle shows us why the woman in the case is so determined to keep the secret of her life--the criminal beatings by her husband. This book shows us why the woman doesn't fly--why she stays where she is so mistreated. The answer to that question is quite simple: she has nowhere else to go. If anything moved me about this book, that did. Mr. Doyle conveys to us exactly how trapped this woman is; and how common that is, or was, to have the woman of the household putting up with anything, because her alternatives to being there are just so bleak.

"The Woman Who Walked Into Doors" also shows us why the friends and neighbors, who aren't buying the woman's story that she's naturally clumsy and keeps running into doors, don't do something to help her. The book shows why everyone goes along with the Woman Who Walked Into Doors; why they pacifically accept what they know is a tissue of lies, and conspire with her to protect her abuser.

Dublin, Ireland
Dublin, Ireland

Roddy Doyle was born on May 8, 1958 in Dublin, Ireland. Ireland has produced so many great writers and great writing. Mr. Doyle carries on that tradition admirably. His literary voice is a distinctly Irish one--anyone who's read "Angela's Ashes" will recognize that its author, Frank McCourt, and Mr. Doyle hail from the same place geographically. Mr. Doyle grew up in Dublin and graduated from Dublin's University College. He was a teach of English and geography before winning the Booker Prize in 1993, for a book called "Paddy Clark Ha-Ha-Ha". That book established Mr. Doyle as a writer of international repute, and allowed him to retire from teaching and become a full-time writer. The book is about working-class Dublin and a ten-year-old growing up in the late 60's in Dublin.

Mr. Doyle writes humour like no one else. I still crack up in a heap of giggles every time I watch the movie, "The Commitments" or re-read that book. It is so funny, and so true! The Commitments are a little hometown band who decide to invent something called "Dublin soul". "The Commitments" is part of the Barrytown trilogy: a series of three books about working-class Dublin. The next book, "The Snapper", is about a teenage girl who gets pregnant. We follow the continued adventures of the Rabbitte family with this book. And the third book, "The Van" is about what Mr. Rabbitte, Sr., decides to do when he is "made redundant" (became unemployed, for all of us Americans). It's the funniest writing I've ever read: and it also rings true. There is no false note struck in any of Mr. Doyle's writing.

The Woman Who Walked Into Doors made a reprise in 2006. Paula Spencer, The Woman Who Walked Into Doors, comes back to us ten years later. I haven't read that book yet, and just discovered it's been written when doing research for this hub. Oh boy, a new book by a favorite author!! What could be better than that? The title of this book is, "Paula Spencer".

More by this Author


Comments 29 comments

Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 4 years ago from Upstate New York Author

No, Paula eventually did break free. It was a long hard journey for her, but she made it. I hope you get a chance to read this book. It's a winner, all the way through.


Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 4 years ago from Minnesota

How sad that so many women and even some men, live this way. I am really interested in reading some of this author's work. I have to ask you~is Paula still with her abuser? Hopefully she is alive and well but many women stay because of financial issues and have no where else to go. So sad~thanks for a very interesting hub and for introducing me to such a great author.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Kitty. Roddy Doyle is a great writer--I'm sure you'd enjoy him.


kittythedreamer profile image

kittythedreamer 5 years ago from the Ether

Sounds like an interesting book. Domestic abuse is no joke and I only hope that women become more and more empowered in that they don't allow it to happen. Thanks for this hub. Voted up and useful.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Lambservant. Please do check out some more! I like the idea a crime is a crime, whether or not the victim wants to report it. Somebody's got to do something sometime. I'll check you out, too.


lambservant profile image

lambservant 5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

Domestic violence is a tragic crime all around the world, in every culture. Although some states here in the US are coming down hard on domestic violence, it's still a serious problem of monumental proportions. In my state, the law has taken it out of the woman's hands whether she will press charges. She (or in some cases he) will have no say. The law will take someone to jail and the state will press charges.

This was a good book review. I will check out more of your hubs.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks, Phil, I appreciate that.


Phil Plasma profile image

Phil Plasma 5 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

Thanks for sharing, I'll add this to my hub-recommended reading list.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Allana, and I heartily agree with you.

PS--Be CAREFUL!! Watch where you're going, k?


Allana Calhoun profile image

Allana Calhoun 5 years ago from Chicago, Illinois

It is so sad to hear of stories like hers. One because they are so common. Society at least, has made some response and has created shelters and places for these women to seek help. Unfortunately, they can't find all the victims out there. It is up to the neighbors, friends and family of these women to help them find escapes. It really shouldn't be so difficult to realize if a woman is being beaten (unless her tormentor is clever about the methods.) I personally, actually do walk into doors all the time due to born clumsiness, but my bruises do not look anything near what a beaten woman looks like.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, scarytaff, and you're very welcome for the info.


scarytaff profile image

scarytaff 5 years ago from South Wales

Ive read some of Roddy Doyle's books and I agree, No.7 he's very funny. This book is new to me so I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the info.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you so much for the comments, Radioguy and epi.


epigramman profile image

epigramman 5 years ago

..pretty ugly subject but one that has to be told and exposed - so thank you for this review of an important writer - and hey, you're a pretty important writer yourself.

lake erie time 12:02pm


Radioguy profile image

Radioguy 5 years ago from Maine

This is a situation that should be brought to light! You've done a great job!


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you, Queen and D-Day for your kind and insightful comments.


Dday50627 profile image

Dday50627 5 years ago from Iowa

Thank you for this write. The world still turns it's face and pretends not to see and this is a subject that needs every day exposure. Sadly, many will read it and then go back to their life as if it isn't happening every single day. There needs to be book on books of where these women Can go and give them the knowledge there IS a place to go for them.

Excellent review... I'll send you my 5 novels and hope for a review even half as fabulous as the one you wrote hee. :)


ExoticHippieQueen 5 years ago

The topic of domestic abuse is so very sad, and so many people know of it and do nothing about it. Thank you for your information........


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thanks for the comment, Sally. The book itself isn't gruesome at all, really. I put these photos up just because they graphically illustrate what the book tells more gently.


Truckstop Sally profile image

Truckstop Sally 5 years ago

Thanks for sharing information about an important topic. The pictures are so gruesome -- but so real.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you all so much for your comments. Yes, all of these books are available on Kindle; please do check it out, they are so worth it!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Excellent summary, Paradise, I will have to read about this Woman. I did see 'The Commitments' film and it was fascinating, funny and Dublin-realistic.


.josh. profile image

.josh. 5 years ago

Great hub! Might just have to make my next read a Roddy Doyle novel.


Hollie Would profile image

Hollie Would 5 years ago

Great book review! As sick as it may sound, this is my type of reading material.


Frank Atanacio profile image

Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

a very well written share-- I'm going to check it out :) Frank


txvjk profile image

txvjk 5 years ago from Texas

Very interesting hub. I looked at the books on Amazon & they are available for Kindle. Then I added them to my wish list & posted it on Facebook. Ha! Amazon is so cool! Thanks for sharing.


Paradise7 profile image

Paradise7 5 years ago from Upstate New York Author

Thank you both, mega and graebear, for your comments.


graebear profile image

graebear 5 years ago

Very good info ,thank you

I will read these books .

Anger starts somewhere and it has it ways .. of exploding somewhere too.... but in the end who pays the price .. the one with the shadows that haunt them forever.

Forever changed ..women ,children.and men too..


mega1 profile image

mega1 5 years ago

I'll read these books, even though the battered woman subject is tough - They sound terrific - good review- great hub!

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