SOURCE: A 2011 WORLD BOOK NIGHT giveaway, I received this from a friend.
This is the story of Stuart Shorter: thief, hostage-taker, psycho and street raconteur. It is a story told backwards, as he wanted, from the man he was when Alexander Masters met him to a 'happy-go-lucky little boy of twelve.
...... Inner back cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 0): Stuart does not like the manuscript.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 44)
: Long periods of quiet are followed by short tempests of violence in which it seems people are 'kicking off' on every wing and the housing officers rush from one incident to the next, clatter along the corridors with fingers on walkie-talkie buttons wondering if the full moon has snagged on nearby traffic lights.
MY THOUGHTS: The winner of the Guardian newspaper's First Book Award in 2005. Quite why I'm not sure.
OK, so largely written in reverse (I say largely because the narrative does tend to jump around quite a lot) the journey of the adult Stuart to the pre-teen Stuart is arguably rather quirky though on the whole I found it confusing, disjointed and generally poorly written. And as for it being humorous? Though not without its ironic moments, I'm afraid I don't find anything funny about homelessness, alcoholism and drug addiction.
As for the 'characters'?
Described as a 'polydrug-addicted, alcoholic, 'Jekyll and Hyde' personality with delusional paranoia and a fondness for what he called 'little strips of silver' - knives to you and me', Stuart is hardly the most lovable of character and whilst I never did feel any real warmth towards him - in fact the further the book went on and the younger Stuart became the less I liked him - I did at least gain some understanding.
Whether taken as the memoir of a habitual substance abusing criminal with seemingly scant regard for others or a social commentary on the ills of society (or indeed something else all together) this is a harrowing, one might even say deeply disturbing, book.
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