Unreliable Memoirs

PDF-file by Clive James

Unreliable Memoirs PDF ebook download I quite enjoyed this memoir from one of Australia's best loved writers, the irrepressible Clive James. Almost from the opening pages you can tell this book was written a long time ago, when the structures of books were different and chapters were long and involved multiple ideas. Even the look and feel of the book is different from today's publications - issued in 1980, the text is small and tightly packed onto the page, resulting in a book of 175 pages only. I actually found it quite hard to read because of this compressed format.

James was born in 1939 and started school just as WW2 ended. His account of growing up in outer suburban, working class Sydney in the post-war era is, by parts, extremely boring and quite fascinating.He relates long tales of the antics after school and on weekends of the kids on the block, and his involvement in local social organisations like the local Cub group and the Kogarah Presbyterian church, which he attended for several years. Pretty dull, definitely dated...

He is at his most intriguing when he assesses his own demeanour, attitudes and behaviours from school age to university years. He is honest about his failings, his vanities and his personal issues, which I found quite refreshing. Teenage angst is nothing new,and his reflections on his physique, sexuality and romantic encounters are wracked with uncertainty and a kind of endearing desperation. Pervading the entire volume is James' wry humour - it is not a laugh-a-minute kind of book, but there is gentle amusement and some hilarious moments, most of which are self-deprecatory. James is largely the butt of his own jokes, which I found endearing.

The book continues to have validity in this era as a fairly candid examination of what it was like for a working class child growing up in suburban Australia in the 1940s and 50s.

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