Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Stuart: A Life Backwards

Okay, just finished Stuart: A Life Backwards.

What I learned: Don't sniff glue. No matter what kind of cruddy life you've got going. Is very bad news, people.

Stuart is a 'chaotic' English homeless man, drug addict, violent criminal. His biographer starts with his death (hit by a train at age 33), and works backwards. Which doesn't always work, but since Stuart is so confused, it sorta seems okay. And it is a fabulous idea. 

Stuart has a very nasty mouth. And since he is the subject, he gets quoted a great deal, as you might expect.

So in between the profanity and bizarre violent behavior, Start has some moments of semi-lucidity. But who knows if Stuart's take on it all is correct? I mean, he is crazy. 

He says stuff like this, which was interesting, and sounds like it could be true: before regular drug testing in prisons, most inmates' drug of choice was weed. But weed shows up in urine for weeks, so inmates switched to heroin, which is untraceable in 3 days. And so now, the drug problem in prisons is much, much worse than it ever was, thanks to drug testing.

As the book travels back in time, you learn of Stuart's unhappy childhood, and some of the reasons he is who he is. Or was who he was. Whatever. But even Stuart knows they don't totally add up. Many people go through the same stuff and don't end up like he does. This might sound crazy, but at the end, I honestly felt like Stuart was possessed. And I don't say that lightly. I don't jump to possession conclusions very often. Ask anybody.

So, although Stuart had some moments, I don't think it was worth the wallow. 

I won't recommend it, primarily because of the profanity. 

I hope I sound sensitive, and not prudy. I really felt for Stuart, and for others like him, with these horrible, intense, uncomfortable lives. 

1 comment:

  1. You are such a crack up! I wish you would talk more often.