I enjoyed this book so much that I thought I’d have a first go at a book review. I wonder if people are usually encouraged to criticism by enjoyment or fury?
The book is a series of autobiographical stories. Some outrageous, others cringe-worthy, a couple quite dull, one terrifically moving.
I’ve read a lot of biographies, but this is the first one to cause me reflect so much on my own life. The stories I enjoyed the most don’t rely upon Hardy’s fame for their substance.
For example, Hardy describes several relationships and admirably allows her fellow travellers a right of reply. It’s tempting to call many of the incidents crazy. What might truly seem crazy is sharing them; yet I suspect most of us have done similar things and gone on to share them around a pub table with a group of mates.
The book is fun because it draws you to remember that time a mate made a collage of you passed out in various places (drinking problem?); a dim recollection of being dumped in your hotel room by a small group of people, including one of the designers of UNIX (hm, drinking problem?); hilarious-in-retrospect bedroom and relationship incidents; even the illness of friends or the actions of your own friends when you have been ill.
If you’re after a quick read (it took me about four trips down to Fremantle on the train to get through it) I recommend this wonderful book. You won’t find yourself competing with Hardy for hedonistic silliness, but if you’re like me you’ll find yourself engaged in cheerful reflections and perhaps encouraged to more of the same.
Edit: the most embarrassing thing in the book is Hardy’s description of her career as a letter writer. As a fellow writer of silly letters, I hereby reproduce in sympathy one of my own efforts – a letter to the City of Perth:-
I was jogging to work on Thursday morning down the north side of Aberdeen Street, and I saw a man spraying roadside weeds (on verges
and also along walls on property margins.)
I gather roadside weeds (things like dandelions) to feed to pets, and I know of several others who also do this. I was wondering what you spray the weeds with, and whether the sprayed weeds would remain safe for animal consumption? As an aside, is there an impact on any native animals (birds eating seeds, etc) from the spraying?
Thanks very much for any information you can provide.