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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Saturday, 4 July 2009

"Stuart. A life backwards" by Alexander Masters

This is the biography of Stuart Shorter, homeless man. It starts with his death and moves backwards through the prison sentences and, hostels, crimes etc to his traumatic childhood. It seeks to explain how the 'chaotic' homeless have beome who they are. It is the story of a remarkable man who suffered tremendously at the hands of nature, his family and 'The System' and is yet perceptive, funny and wise.

As well as the story of Stuart we have the framing story of the developing friendship of Stuart and Alexander. The catalogue of misunderstanding as Alexander tries to explain the inexplicable (Stuart) is extraodrniarily funny. I suppose the humour was the last thing I expected in a book about such a grim topic and yet it is perhaps the funniest and most charming biography I have ever read.

Funny and also moving; Mark Haddon calls it 'Bollocks brilliant'; I agree.

June 2009, 292 pages

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