Review: Skintown by Ciaran McMenamin

Goodreads|Amazon US|Amazon UK
Release date: April 6, 2017

Publisher: Doubleday Books


‘We’re in the back of a car belonging to the men our mothers told us to never get in the back of a car of. I close my eyes and wonder how many girls will come to my funeral.’

Vincent Patrick Duffy has already checked out. Trapped between Skintown’s narrow horizons, he chops ribs and chickens in a takeaway, dreaming of escape, joint after freshly rolled joint.

A mindless act of kindness leads to the unlikeliest of business opportunities. Where the government has failed, might the second summer of love and a little pill with a dove on it be the broom to sweep away the hatred and replace it with love, so much love?

Skintown is Vinny’s drink- and drug-fuelled odyssey through fighting, fishing, rioting, romance, reconciliation and acid house. Bristling with a restless energy and drunk on black humour, this superb debut is a wild ride. 


I don’t even really know to start with this one, I can’t even properly classify it’s genre I’m so lost! I felt like reading this was hearing the thoughts of someone on one long ass acid trip, it was so bizarre! Despite that description it wasn’t as unenjoyable as you would think. It had it’s strong points and great moments, but unfortunately it just really wasn’t my style. 

Vinny is the narrator and he was a truly great character. He’s an eighteen year old kid living in Ireland in the nineties and he doesn’t have a pot to piss in. The premise is all about how he has a chance meeting with two drug dealers who cut him in on a deal where he can make enough money to get out of his crappy town and start over in Belfast. It was engaging enough for me from the synopsis but I really wasn’t a fan of listening to the philosophical conversations (the kind that only two seriously messed up people have) that happened again, and again between him and his friend Jonty. It was too much of a trip for me. 

It was one long, drug fueled adventure peppered with black humor and odd situations. The writing was vivid and strong, but again the plot left something to be desired to me. Had I not connected so well to Vinny and Jonty and had the writing not been so great, this would’ve been rated lower. If you like wacky reads, raves, explicit language and sexual situations, this may be your cup of tea. 

Overall rating: 3/5

Thanks to Doubleday Books for my review copy. 

15 thoughts on “Review: Skintown by Ciaran McMenamin

  1. Martie says:

    When I reviewed “Hag-Seed” I actually said the same words that it felt like trying to review an acid trip. It was so hard. You did a good job on this difficult kind of book to review.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Ann Marie says:

    I actually thought the cover looked interesting. Maybe because it’s so unusual it grabbed my attention. But I think I’ll pass on this one too. There are too many other fish in the sea!


  3. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom says:

    Whoa. Not going to lie. After I read the title I was nervous this was going to be about skinning people… You never know with the books you read lol

    “I felt like reading this was hearing the thoughts of someone on one long ass acid trip”

    I felt like this just reading the blurb lol

    Sorry this one came up a big short for you in the plot department 😦

    Liked by 1 person

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