Finding time to read in December proved challenging. Books were in abundance, as were visits to bookstores. However, as the end of the busy month drew to a close, and dark evenings invited comfort food and copious glasses of wine, I decided to ignore my To Be Read tower and just indulge in the material I was most drawn to, which turned out to be personal biographies. Quick reads! I think all writers are interested in the lives of others, after all, and apart from our own experiences, isn’t that where we draw most of our characterisation from?
Here are four that kinda-sorta blew my mind!
What a story? What a life for this woman, born into a closed off, survivalist family in the mountains of Idaho, where brutality, and lets face it, serious child neglect were commonplace. Westover seems very forgiving of her family, even when she describes the extremist perspectives of her bi-polar father, and the violence meted out to her by her own brother, which is difficult to fathom. However, her personal journey into education and self-realisation is riveting. I couldn’t put this book down!
Next time you think the rich and famous have it all, think again! Melanie’s story weaves back and forth between her childhood, her fame as member of the Spice Girls, and her ten-year, abusive marriage. This is an honest, sometimes uncomfortable account of her worst days, and you have to commend her for highlighting her very personal and painful plight. If this book helps even one abused woman to reflect on her situation and get the hell out of it, then my hat is off to Melanie. Job done.
I recently watched (practically in tears) DAVID CASSIDY: The Last Session. While shooting the documentary, David was gravely ill, though didn’t seem to be aware of just how serious his situation was. It was difficult to watch it, but compelling just the same. Hence, when I came across his memoir, I was instantly hooked. Cassidy wasn’t always taken as seriously as perhaps he should have been as a talented writer, musician and actor, dealt a life-time of serious highs, but also some devastating blows that would ultimately lead to his premature death. Definitely worth a read.
An accomplished song writer, Lily’s book is honest and in parts, quite funny. However, it is also a serious and very personal telling of her childhood and what was really going on behind the scenes during her rise to fame and the years since. She is still so young, but obviously an old soul. What struck me most about her writing is the obvious maturity that she has, and her ability to place her often harrowing experiences into perspective – and to take ownership of her decisions.
Caroline E Farrell is a writer, filmmaker and blogger. She is the author of LADY BETH, and has also written and directed FRAMED, a short film. Caroline has also written and co-produced the short films, ADAM and IN RIBBONS.