Adventures of a Wonky-Eyed Boy: The Short-Arse Years by Jason Byrne – Book Review

Title: Adventures of a Wonky-Eyed Boy: The Short-Arse Years

Author: Jason Byrne

Genre: Memoir, Non-Fiction

Blurb from Goodreads

Mrs Byrne, you’ve a beautiful, very pale, ginger-haired baby boy with a wonky eye. As she was handed me by the midwife, my mother wept for all the wrong reasons. She could have shagged a platypus and I still would have come out better than this.

So begins Jason Byrne’s Adventures of a Wonky-Eyed Boy, a laugh-out-loud memoir that captures the childhood adventures of an accident-prone youngster in 1970s and 1980s suburban Dublin.

It was a time when your brother persuaded you to eat the grease behind the cooker by telling you it was caramel, your house was blown up by lightning, your dad mixed up the toothpaste and the arse-cream, and you fell asleep on Sunday nights to the sound of one of the neighbours who were all named Paddy drunkenly singing Magic Moments in the good front room. All of this while trying to stop your wonky eye from giving the game away.

Jason Byrne’s childhood adventures are nostalgic, heart-warming and, above all, hilarious.

My Review

Stand-up comedians. The people whose job it is to make us laugh. Those special brand of individuals that take us away from our mundane realities and help us to forget about our real world problems for a little while.

Jason Byrne is one such man. He is just naturally funny. It’s like it oozes out of his pores or something. I absolutely adore his sense of humour and when I heard he was releasing a book I knew I had to have it.

In “Adventures of a Wonky-Eyed Boy” he relates funny anecdotes from his childhood. Of what it was like to grow up in Dublin, Ireland in the late 70s and 80s. This isn’t one of those memoirs where you get huge introspection or a sob story.


This is a split your sides until you’re sick laughing, lose your breath until you’re gasping for air funny, grab every available millisecond of the day to read type of hilarious book!!!


His humour is quintessentially Irish. Like god knows we are a mad nation and always up for the craic but Jason Byrne…. When it comes to ‘acting the maggot’ and ‘eegit-ing about the place‘ he’s the man!
And an absolute born storyteller he is too. Okay, so some of the stories I had heard before from various bits of his stand-up throughout the years but that’s okay. They are ALL worth a retelling.

I would happily recommend this book to anyone who just wants a good giggle. It actually gives a great insight into what it was like to grow up in Ireland back in the good ol’ days of the 80s pre the Internet, the Celtic tiger etc etc. So many wonderful anecdotes about things like the Trócaire box, the wallpaper school books, how mad we all went for Stephen Roche and the cycling, the yo-yo craze… Happy memories indeed.

But what’s lovely is that the book is written so that anyone who isn’t Irish and hasn’t a notion what some, or all, of these things I’ve just mentioned are will understand. His explanations are absolutely class!!

Hot press description for people who do not live in Ireland

A hot press is a cupboard used by the Irish mammy to dry or air towels, sheets or clothes. All these things are stuffed into the so-called hot press and jammed in all sides of a boiler that is used to heat the water. This activity is no doubt dangerous, as I’m sure boilers need a bit of space to breathe and operate properly.

There is normally a switch in the hot press, labelled BATH and SINK (immersion). Please, for God’s sake, always have it on Sink – unless it’s a special occasion, then leave it on Bath, but only for a few minutes or else your dad will need to take out a second mortgage on the house to pay the bill, or so he says.

But sadly we weren’t all totally like Jason as kids.

Although maybe not completely “sadly”!!!!!! Because to quote himself, he was a right “little shit”!!

Oh the carry on that he and his friends got up to: the mischief, the pranks… His poor Mam and Dad must have been driven bananas. But then again it seems they gave as good as they got! You can see where Jason got his wonderful sense of humour and comic timing from… His Mam is the most wonderful of Irish Mammies and his Dad is a complete law unto himself. Absolute gems, the lot of them.

“He was heading to the shop. I went back into the house and asked my dad for money. He said to get his trousers; my dad sat in his underpants a lot while watching the telly. My man had asked him many times why he did this, he says it was because he didn’t want to crease his trousers while sitting in the armchair.

He was like Superman, with a weird twist: if the phone rang and it was one of his mates in the pub, he’d quickly grab his trousers, which hung in the hallway, put them on like a flying cape and out the door to save the day …
in the pub …
talking shite.”

If you like Jason Byrne’s stand-up routines then absolutely 100% you will love this. If you’ve ever seen him on a tv giving an interview or a taster of his live routine and found yourself chortling along then you’ll like this.

Basically if you want a good laugh then read this. Simples!!

Ps. It’s got some great illustrations too. Look out for the Byrne family top trumps…. they’re only massive!!!

My Socials 

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