The Snapper easily stands alone as an independent novel, yet it also seamlessly follows from the end of The Commitments. With the group disbanded, Jimmy Rabbitte, Jr., spends most of this novel in an upstairs room of the family apartment, practicing his best disc jockey voice for what he now hopes will be his future career. The novel opens in medias res, just as the essential exposition for the text to follow is occurring. Sharon reveals that she is three months pregnant, expects to carry the baby to full term and raise it as a single mother, and refuses to identify the father. The balance of the novel covers the remaining six months in Sharon’s pregnancy, concluding as she delivers a healthy daughter, whom she names Georgina Rabbitte.
Although the dialogue remains “hilarious and haunting” (to quote from the San Francisco Chronicle review), there is less dialogue and more narration and narrative commentary than in The Commitments. Sharon’s innocent and isolated worries and opinions about her developing pregnancy and the prospect of motherhood as a single parent are delineated through the rambling interior monologue she undergoes as she makes herself read three pages nightly from texts she has borrowed from the public library.
Although the Barrytown community and Sharon’s parents initially obsess over the identity of the baby’s father, paternal and grandfatherly love and affection on the part of Jimmy Rabbitte, Sr., combine with a sense of developing awe, as he increasingly appreciates his daughter’s imminent motherhood with an understanding that he never achieved in any of his wife’s pregnancies for their own five children. Veronica Rabbitte, Sharon’s mother, also balances a number of conflicting emotions and opinions as she manifests the characteristic fierce loyalty and independence of the Rabbitte family, especially when confronted by Doris Burgess on her front porch. The troubled Mrs. Burgess, wife of the middle-aged Lothario whom the Rabbittes suspect is the father of Sharon’s baby, has walked over to the Rabbitte residence and asked to see Sharon. Veronica states honestly that Sharon is at work and then brooks no further discussion about a relationship that her daughter has not publicly admitted. When Mrs. Burgess tries to force the issue, Veronica responds with a...
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