I have two books on the go at the moment.
The first, and surely the most impressive, is my ‘serious’ read about Napoleon’s incarceration on St Helena (fascinating peeps – did you know Boney’s balls were pickled post-mortem and are now on display in a museum in France?)
The second is my ‘bathroom’ book – Chris Evans’ memoir about being utterly alcohol-soused in his early career, and how he came through it.
The chapters in the latter are scientifically word-counted to the length of time it takes to excavate a turd. But in terms of cracking reads (see what I did there?), it’s on the button. I started off hating the guy and now I want his ginger babies.
What is it about the narrative that appeals? His raw and boundless honesty, that’s what. He’s done some crass things in his time, but he’s totally up front about them. No holds barred. It’s a Catholic confessional wrapped up in 200 pages.
It is hard to be full-frontal about things that general society considers to be distasteful, particularly if you are in the public eye. I am very much out of the public eye, yet some of the things I have done since my husband’s death have confounded those I am closest to. Myself included.
I’m only halfway through his book, but already Evans has done some toe-curling stuff. As a listener to his morning show I know how the story ends, but there could have been so many other ways for it to go.
But I have found unexpected wisdom and comfort in his words. Whilst he doesn’t deal in grief directly, his reflections resonate with me at this moment in my life. Take this one on alcohol for example:
“I remember taking several drinks on board and waiting for the periods of cerebral protection to kick in. With the thought of this safety blanket wrapped around me I could look forward to forgetting about the growing muddle of things in life I didn’t want to face. Within a couple of hours I knew I would be free.”
If my husband’s death has taught me anything, it is that you can’t guarantee your reactions to anything.
When it comes to the crunch, you’re a stranger. Even unto yourself.