Summary of the story
The book is about a Soul Band. Jimmy is their manager. They all live in Ireland. Their mission is to give Soul to the people of Dublin. Jimmy says that Soul is sex and politics. It’s the people’s music. The band has: two guitars, one trumpet, one saxophone, one on the drums, one piano and four singers.
In the beginning they have a lot of rehearsals. Joey is the leader for the musical part of the band. A few weeks later they play their first concert in a bar. People think they are great.
Later on they play a concert, which is the biggest yet. When the concert is over, there is a man from Eejit Records. He wants to talk to Jimmy. The man says to Jimmy that he thought they sound wonderful. “Do you want to make a single of Night Train? he says to Jimmy. “Yeah sure, that would be great!” Jimmy walks back to “the Commitments” to tell them the news.
Jimmy is the main character in the book. He is the band’s manage and he started the band. Jimmy is definitely working class. We don’t get to know a lot about his family, but it’s easy to understand that he hasn’t got a lot of money.
The book doesn’t tell us how old Jimmy is but he’s probably 20-21.
Jimmy’s mission is to give soul to the Dublin people. He loves music and you get the feeling that he doesn’t do much except listen to music. Jimmy is probably one of the wisest people in the band together with Joey the lips. Joey and Jimmy do most of the “thinking” in the group.
Through the whole book there’s a lot of swearing and slang. Jimmy is of course not any better than the others. The band fights and argues nearly all the time (except when they are playing), so Jimmy is the person that keeps the band together. Jimmy has a lot of respect for Soul music, all the time he say’s that it’s the people’s music.
Joey The Lips
The band calls Joey, around 50, for Joey The Lips because he plays the trumpet. Joey The Lips is the oldest in the band. He has the longest experience and he’s played with many well-known bands like: Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Wonder, Beatles and many others. Through the whole story he teaches them all a lot of new things.
Joey The Lips is not like other old men. He fits into the group just as if he was 20 years old. The only big difference between Joey The Lips and the other characters is that he never swears. Only twice in the book he swears. This is when the saxophone player starts to listen to Jazz and not Soul. He is also a great believer in God. In the band all the men fancy Imelda. It turns out that Joey The Lips is the only one that captures her.
We don’t get to know at what time the story takes place. The book was published in 1987 so it’s probably about that time. The story takes place in Dublin. All the people in the band are working class. They have little money and only a few of them have jobs. The band plays all their concerts in Dublin and usually in pubs. They rehearse at Joey’s mothers garage.
“The Commitments” is fiction where the author is entertaining the reader. The book is
amusing and funny. The plot is set in a real world environment.
“The Commitments” has been adapted to film. I’ve seen it several times. The film is much the same as the book. In the book it’s much more detailed then in the film. If you’ve read the book you should defiantly see the film. This is because of the music. You can’t get the music through the book, therefore it’s a good idea to see the film. The author doesn’t describe the environment very detailed. In the book some of the characters use drugs, in the film theirs now such thing. As with all other books and films they’ve left out some details in the film.
I thought both the book and the film were great, because it’s funny and amusing. It is definitely worthwhile reading. The book has a lot of humour in it. I would recommend this book to young people because it is easy to read. You don’t have to know a lot about music to enjoy it, but an advantage knowing a bit about Irish culture. All in all it is great book.