Peter O'Toole's account of his early life - a childhood framed by Captain Patrick O'Toole, itinerant racetrack bookmaker and Constance Jane Eliot Ferguson who had wavy black hair, quick eyes and a determination to marry for money, his schooldays under the long shadow of Adolf Hitler, his years in the navy, his short-lived career as a cub reporter and the almost accidental audition at RADA that launched his career.
He’s highly literate and has a great talent for language.
It’s frequently funny.
He rambles, jumps around, and for some inexplicable reason devotes about a third of his memoir to a sort of biographical sketch of Adolf Hitler, which isn’t that badly done, but what the hell? He was known to be a drunk, and I guess some drunks do talk about Hitler a lot.
One of the main characters is a young friend that he calls “O’Liver.” It’s not clear to me whether it’s someone that we’re supposed to know, and given my heroic dedication to never doing any outside research, I’ll not figure it out until one of you writes in to tell me. My guess is Oliver Reed.
Reflecting on earlier days with O’Liver: “We both are old now, more sedate, more responsible, we sleep in beds and sometimes we are sober; our bones are brittle, our sinews want elastic, the optician is kept busy and the dentist’s in despair, the barber gives us shorter shrift while the tailor makes thick overcoats, but should a shining occasion present itself, why, we will run jump fight fuck wheel a barrow drive a truck and generally present ourselves, singly or in tandem, to whatever merry mayhem takes our fancy.”
Not bad. I hear the second volume is better.