I have been reading a lot of reviewers lately
- book reviewers
- beauty product reviewers
- holiday reviewers
You name it they are out there – Is this something I could do – Let’s see
This Boy – Alan Johnson
I read this book because my book club had decided to discuss it. I like memoirs but usually head for the ‘celebrity ‘section. Previous attempts at reading ‘political’ memoirs have left me a bit cold – they seem to be about selling an ideal rather than telling a story.
Not so for Alan Johnson. He tells a story of growing up in post-war London that takes your breath away. The level of detail he weaves into his tale means that you can almost smell the poverty, almost taste the despair. But this is not a tale of ‘woe is me’. He tells a story of hope. Hoping to get a council house, to move out of the slums. Hoping to attend grammar school and enjoy the promised future that could provide. Hoping that his father will pay his way so that food can be bought.
He tells of a social history that is depressing. In the near distant past, yet a lifetime away. Reading this book it is impossible to think of Johnson becoming anything other than a worker for social justice.
Don’t get me wrong – there are lighter moments when he talks of love – love for his family and love of his city. His life may have been grim but growing up in London in the 50s and 60s brought plenty of excitement. It is interesting to read of times and events that we see as established history through the eyes of a young boy.
Whether you like the man or you just want a snapshot of the time – I recommend this book without reservation.