Saturday, 5 February 2011

John Mortimer

I'm reading a biography of John Mortimer called The Devil's Advocate. I would love to say that I'm enjoying it, but the author, Graham Lord, is to my mind, unnecessarily cruel about his subject. He picks up on a weakness and goes on and on about it, pick, pick, pick… The start of the book tells of Mortimer’s childhood and adolescence and the author makes far too much of Mortimer’s aversion to hygiene. Come on, for goodness sake, many teenage boys are strangers to bathing, it’s quite within the scope of normality. Yet Lord goes on about it, desperate to find fault at any cost.

I can’t argue that the book is well researched, or at least appears to be, but page after page of spiteful remarks are spoiling the story for me. I’ve gotten to the point in the book where Mortimer has married his first wife, Penelope, and Lord makes much of the flaws in their marriage, which is fine, but not page after page, after page of it.

Determination will ensure that I’ll read it to the end, but I find that the book makes me feel sad. Sad for the author, who has ruined what could have been an excellent story, and sad for the late John Mortimer and his family. I do like a bit of kiss and tell (who doesn’t), but this book is cruel. We don’t need the author to point out repeatedly that Mortimer wasn’t the most handsome of men, nor that he was useless at DIY.

I suppose I’d just expected a life story, and this alone would have been immensely entertaining, there’s so much to tell, but the constant jibes are spoiling it for me. I guess my feelings aren’t unique; the book’s full price is £20, but I picked it up for just £1.

On an equally depressing note, it’s pupillage application time again. I’ve done 2 so far this year and have a further 3 to tackle next week. And then I have the delights of OLPAS to look forward to (again!). I intend to make a concerted effort this year to grab a pupillage, but as soon as I start filling in those forms, my enthusiasm diminishes. I just don’t sparkle on paper.

That’s all for now.