15 April 2024

Review: The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O'Doherty

The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O'Doherty book cover

I'm a huge fan of Irish comedian David O'Doherty, and on seeing he'd released a middle grade book for kids I was immediately reserving the print copy and audiobook from my library.

When The Summer I Robbed a Bank begins, 12 year old Rex is sent to stay with his Uncle Derm on remote Achill Island for the school holidays. Rex is expecting to have a boring time, what with all of the sheep, but things don't quite go exactly to plan. Rex meets Kitty and their adventures together were amusing and heartwarming at the same time.
"We laughed so hard we had to lean on things." Page 21
I really enjoy O'Doherty's view of the world and it's also why I enjoy his comedy so much. His sense of humour and imagination work well with his observations of people and relationships in a unique and very appealing way. I was happy to find this talent translated well to his middle grade fiction too:
"I didn't want to look round, but I couldn't help myself, in the same way you can't not watch a football heading towards a window." Page 61
Read in the author's distinctive accent and endearing storytelling style, The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O'Doherty was an absolute pleasure to listen to and read. I did wonder about the target reading audience for middle grade books like these. I mean, if the protagonist Rex is 12 years old, is the target reading audience also 12 or a few years younger in an aspirational sense? 

Fortunately I had the pleasure of seeing David O'Doherty perform live here in Melbourne during the Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2024 just after I'd read this book. When the author spoke of relocating during the pandemic and living with his parents on Achill Island for six months I smiled in recognition.

I've since learned David O'Doherty has written a number of books for youngsters and while I haven't read any others, I can highly recommended this one for both kids and parents! I defy you to listen to this FREE sample on the publisher's website and not keep reading.

My Rating:

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