Book Review: ‘The Deportees and Other Stories’

Irish author Roddy Doyle’s collection of short stories, “The Deportees and Other Stories,” was published in 2007. This collection focuses on the increasing immigrant population of Ireland and the native response to the increasing diversity. Now, you might have fallen asleep while reading that sentence, but don’t doubt the level of entertainment Doyle can provide in his writing. He takes on the controversial topic of immigration with plenty of witty humor. His stories will make you laugh out loud while also teaching valuable lessons about diversity and acceptance.

Doyle’s collection hosts a wide variety of stories. The collection’s title story, “The Deportees,” follows a Native Irishman as he puts together a rock band. The only requirements for trying out are being foreign and not liking the Corrs. These guidelines quickly produce a hilarious and quirky band of misfits. The manager forces the group to bond over Woody Guthrie songs and perform at venues ranging from boat races and birthday parties. Somehow the group finds their sound along with appreciation for one another. In another one of his stories, “New Boy,” Doyle follows a young refugee from Rwanda on his first day of class at an Irish school. The boy encounters language barriers and bullies, showing how discrimination plays a dangerous role even in an elementary classroom. The boy finds a way to band together with his classmates through common humor, a perfect fit for Doyle’s comedic theme.

Although his collection is seen by some as one of the greatest commentaries on immigration and racism, it is also criticized for its lack of seriousness. While some of Doyle’s stories are serious, critics fear that the most memorable ones revolve around humor and wit. They fear that readers will only get laughter from the collection and miss the changes that the text calls them to make. I agree that a careless reader may overlook the importance of Doyle’s collection. However, I encourage everyone to read his stories whether you do so for a good laugh or to learn a lesson. Doyle is a talented author in many different genres and can be enjoyed by all. Even if the immigration dilemma of Ireland in the early 2000’s doesn’t seem relevant to you, you will still enjoy this unique collection of stories.

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Erin Peters is a staff writer for The Lorian.

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