5 Stars · Book Review

Doubt By John Patrick Shanley



By: John Patrick Shanley

Published: 1 Sept 2005

Genre: Drama, Literature, Religion, Plays

Rating: 5 Stars

About the Book:

In this brilliant and powerful drama, Sister Aloysius, a Bronx school principal, takes matters into her own hands when she suspects the young Father Flynn of improper relations with one of the male students.

About the Author:

Shanley was born in The Bronx, New York City, to a telephone operator mother and a meat-packer father. He is a graduate of New York University, and is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre.

For his script for the 1987 film, Moonstruck, Shanley won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay and the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen.

In 1990, Shanley directed his script of Joe Versus the Volcano. Shanley also wrote two songs for the movie: “Marooned Without You” and “The Cowboy Song.”

In 2004 Shanley was inducted into the Bronx Walk of Fame.

In 2005, Shanley’s play Doubt: A Parable was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and the Drama Desk Award and Tony Award for Best Play. Doubt: A Parable, is featured in The Fourth Wall, a book of photographs by Amy Arbus in which Shanley also wrote the foreword.

In 2008, Shanley directed a film version of Doubt starring Meryl Streep, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Amy Adams.


This was a rather quick read. I was able to read it in about 2 hours or so. The subject matter at hand is one of the sensitive nature. I must advise with that right off the bat. So, if you do not want to read anything of that nature this is not the book for you to read.

There are so many different things going on in this one book. The way the author writes is amazing. There may only be 6 main characters in all but so much is going on within those 6 characters. I would be here all night telling you each and every plot that goes in and weaves within each one.

I have to say that my favorite person was Sister James. And I feel that out of the adults within this play she was the most hindered. She was the one that was played with the most. I think that her innocence was lost and she will not ever be able to find it again and love teaching the way she was able to before.

The one that I actually hated the most would be Sister Aloysius. You might be thinking I would have the Priest. I feel that the Sister might have made a mountain out of a mole hill. The play does not go into much detail. I cannot wait to see the movie and see what that shows. I feel she just might of wanted to see something that might not of been there to begin with.

I am very surprised at the boys mother. Her not wanting to take an active role to see if there was anything going on with the priest and the boy. That shocked me the most. I being a mother myself would want to get involved and find out if something was going on. Different times? I’m not sure.

Besides the subject matter of there might be some sexual assault between the priest and the boy, there is a hint of homosexuality. It will be a treat to actually see the movie and see what it portrays and maybe it will make some more connections within the play for me.

If you are not squeamish about reading the sensitive topics, then this is a really good quick read. It will make you stop and think for a bit. See things from a different perspective. I would advise to watch the movie also.

You will be able to see my review of the movie Doubt.


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