Stuart Shorter’s brief life was one of turmoil and chaos. In this remarkable book, a masterful act of biographical restoration, Alexander Masters retraces Stuart’s troubled journey. Stuart was homeless, with many of the problems this sub-section of English society display: alcoholism, drug-addiction, crime, violence. Scattered with glimpses of the author’s friendship with Stuart in the years before his death, Masters gives us Stuart’s life in reverse, tracing his route backwards through the post-office heists and attempts at suicide and the spells inside many of this country’s prisons, on back to a troubled time at school and learning difficulties and a violent childhood that acted like a springboard into the trouble that was to follow him all his life.
This extraordinary book is a glimpse at the underbelly of English society, a world largely hidden from our lives. Funny, despairing, uplifting, brilliantly-written, it is one of the most original biographies of recent years.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Sophie Gray-Bickle on 29-04-16
An actual "must read". Surprisingly funny.
Brilliantly written, brilliantly narrated, heartbreaking, heartwarming.
"Stuart: A Life Backwards" tells one of the hundreds of thousands of untold stories of the discarded, disregarded, and forgotten of our society.
Alexander is the perfect author for this story - though he met Stuart through his work with a charity for the homeless, he is not a "bleeding heart liberal" who wants to pull you in to outraged action by tugging on your heart strings and screaming about the unfairness and injustice. He tells the story as calmly and rationally as Stuart's chaos allows, without judging or preaching.
I am grateful to Alexander for letting me meet Stuart, and grateful to Stuart for his searing honesty, his warmth, and his humour.
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