Stuart: A Life Backwards

by Alexander Masters | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 9780007200375 Global Overview for this book
Registered by JPix of Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on 3/8/2008
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by JPix from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Saturday, March 08, 2008
Synopsis
"Stuart, A Life Backwards", is the story of a remarkable friendship between a reclusive writer and illustrator ('a middle class scum ponce, if you want to be honest about it, Alexander) and a chaotic, knife-wielding beggar whom he gets to know during a campaign to release two charity workers from prison. Interwoven into this is Stuart's confession: the story of his life, told backwards. With humour, compassion (and exasperation) Masters slowly works back through post-office heists, prison riots and the exact day Stuart discovered violence, to unfold the reasons why he changed from a happy-go-lucky little boy into a polydrug-addicted-alcoholic Jekyll and Hyde personality, with a fondness for what he called 'little strips of silver' (knives to you and me). Funny, despairing, brilliantly written and full of surprises: this is the most original and moving biography of recent years.

Journal Entry 2 by JPix from Southampton, Hampshire United Kingdom on Monday, March 17, 2008
Sent as a trade to bookmaniac70 in Bulgaria

Journal Entry 3 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Monday, March 31, 2008
Received today- thanks so much for the nice swap!

Journal Entry 4 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Started reading.

Journal Entry 5 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Sunday, April 06, 2008
It was an unusual book. The phenomenon of homelessness has been always a mystery to me;I have been always asking myself how it happens,is it only poverty or something else; why people used to living in the streets,cannot return their lives to normal even if given the opportunity? The book says a lot about all these things but also,it doesn`t and can`t answer all the questions.

First of all,"Stuart" is a precious document of a human life. It is also a valuable document on how homeless people think and why many social benefits don`t work. For me this information side of the book was the most interesting part. I found it difficult to define my own feelings toward Stuart.The sympathy of the writer was evident through all the writing but he knew him personally and we don`t.It seems there was a lot of good in him,but also a lot of aggression and violence.

The book doesn`t give an answer to the main question- what exactly drives a man to deviate from the normal life and choose the path of violence and anger? Of course, a troubled childhood,sexual abuse are enough to drive one outside the boundaries of the normal but as Stuart says himself,a lot of people have been through the same and yet turned as good citizens.Perhaps after all,it is a matter of personal choice?

All this said,I liked the book very much.It was touching,human and written from the heart. It is such a pity that Stuart`s life was too short to be changed for good. Thank you,JPix, for sharing it with me!

Journal Entry 6 by bookmaniac70 from София / Sofia, Sofiya Bulgaria on Sunday, April 13, 2008
I have organised a bookray for this book. For the moment it will move in UK only.

LIST:

LadyIndigo01- UK-

LindyB28- UK

spacecadetlv426 (UK preferred, int. surface OK)>>>>> reading

sunflowergirl (UK preferred, int. surface OK)

PeaMartian- UK
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Released 11 yrs ago (4/18/2008 UTC) at posted in by surface mail, to first person on bookray -- Controlled Releases

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

RELEASE NOTES:

Sent to the first reader.

Journal Entry 8 by LadyIndigo01 from Fordingbridge, Hampshire United Kingdom on Wednesday, April 30, 2008
received in the post - and started reading yesterday! thanks bookmaniac

Journal Entry 9 by LadyIndigo01 from Fordingbridge, Hampshire United Kingdom on Sunday, May 11, 2008
Interesting book. I am not sure I liked the unconventional style of telling the story of Stuart's life backwards and moving between the past and present. However the ending wouldnt have had such a dramatic effect if it was at the beginning! I found it an interesting account of Stuart's life. I prefered reading about his earlier years which meant that I became more interested in the book as it progressed. I'm sure that this will change my way of thinking about the homeless people that I see on the streets in the future, which can only be a good thing. I've PM'd LindyB28 for her address and will send it on once I receive it. Thanks for sharing this book.

Journal Entry 10 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Thursday, June 12, 2008
This arrived last week: sorry for not journalling earlier! I'm really looking forward to reading this since it's set in Cambridge :-)

Journal Entry 11 by LindyB28 from Acocks Green, West Midlands United Kingdom on Monday, June 16, 2008
Read this yesterday and this is what I wrote in my blog when I'd finished it: "Have spent most of the day trying to work despite *needing* to read Stuart: A Life Backwards. I received it on a ring a week or two ago but picked it up for the first time this morning and became instantly gripped. I've rationed it to small chunks during the day but have just finished it. It's one of those books that you want to force everyone else to read. Truly astonishing: heart-breaking, funny, shocking, desperate. "what killed the boy I was" -that's the question we should be asking about all those men and women on the streets of Cambridge. And yes, the cambridge setting of this particular book did make it more poignant for me." The memory of this book will remain with me for a long time. Thanks for sending this on a ring; I'll PM spacecadetlv426 for an address.

Journal Entry 12 by spacecadetlv426 from Hull, East Yorkshire United Kingdom on Thursday, June 26, 2008
Received the book today, thanks. Hope to read it soon.

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