Stuart: a life backwards by Alexander Masters

I was unprepared for the emotional punch that this book packs.

Stuart’s tale is told backwards; by the end of the first chapter we already know that “he stepped in front of the 11:15 London to King’s Lynn train”. From that moment on the only way is to work backwards, to piece together how he transformed from a fun and happy little boy to a drug addict, alcoholic, homeless and violent man.

The blurb on the back:

This is the story of Stuart Shorter: thief, hostage-taker, psycho and street raconteur. It is a story told backwards, as he wanted, fro the man he was when Alexander Masters met him to a ‘happy-go-lucky little boy’ of twelve. Brilliant, humane and funny, it is as extraordinary and unexpected as the life it describes.

There was a trailer made for the book when it was first released in 2006.

To my eyes (and ears) this trailer seems a tad insensitive, portraying Stuart as some sort of “loveable rogue”, when the truth is darker, more disturbing and highly deserving of our understanding and compassion.

The system failed him and his heartbreaking story will never leave you.

p.s. I had no idea that there was also a movie made from this book. I don’t think I can bring myself to watch it. Do Stuart a favour and read the book instead.

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