Meet the Rabbitte family, motley bunch of loveable ne'er-do-wells whose everyday purgatory is rich with hangovers, dogshit and dirty dishes. When the older sister announces her pregnancy, the family is forced to rally together and discover the strangeness of intimacy. But the question remains: which friend of the family is the father of Sharon's child?
This sketchy novel by Doyle ( The Van forthcoming from Viking; starred PW review, May 25), the second in his trilogy about a working-class Irish family, is almost all dialogue, which would be a clever device if the dialogue were not written in transliterated Irish accent (``yeh'' for ``you,'' ``Jaysis'' for ``Jesus''). Fortunately, some endearing characters and a number of hysterically funny lines make this an enjoyable read. The narrative focuses on the Rabbitte family's eldest daughter, who has become pregnant after being raped by a friend's father, although she never recognizes the incident as rape. Sharon is determined to bear the child, referred to in Irish slang as a ``snapper,'' and raise it alone. Although her conversations in pubs with her friends and at home with her family illustrate her position in society and often amuse as well, it is clear from the first chapter that her parents accept her choice, so the story lacks conflict. Even her struggle to conceal the identity of the baby's father seems assured to succeed from the start. One of the more touching details is her father's buying a book about women's anatomy and--better late than never--educating himself about pregnancy and female sexuality. In his own clumsy way he growspun intended. sg along with his daughter. (Aug.)