Friday, July 1, 2011

The Danger of the Autobiography

I’m not a great reader of biographies or autobiographies, I’ve only read a couple The Moon’s a Balloon by David Niven which was really just a cleverly crafted story by a ranconteur, and the fabulous Che, A Revolutionary Life by Jon Lee Anderson.  I think I haven’t read many because there is the danger that you might not like what you read!  Sometimes a ‘public persona’ is best left that way.  Yes, we are all human and as such we are flawed, but do we really need to know that the people we really admire are not really that admirable as ‘people’?

Why the whinge?  I’m reading Michael Crawford’s Parcel Arrived Safely: Tied With String.  I’m about halfway through it (as usual, this always seems to be the point in a book when I feel the need to write about it J ) and my impression isn’t favourable.  Apart from some personality issues I see in him, what has disappointed me no end is the fact that he was unfaithful to his wife.  Crawford blames success and his sudden attractiveness to women but that should not affect your moral behaviour – especially when you are married with two children for goodness sake. 

I think in future if I choose to read another autobiography I’ll pick someone with a reputation or someone I don’t admire then I might be pleasantly surprised!  Though talking of reputations I wouldn't mind reading Errol Flynn’s My Wicked Wicked Ways seeing as I’m heading to Tassie in the New Year.

1 comment:

  1. I tried to read the autobiography of Brian Keenan (four and a half years as hostage in Beirut). I gave up after two chapters - he came across as smug, self-satisfied and arrogant.

    Niven's book (and its companion volume) are quite readable but he mainly sticks to talking about other people.