Ending his autobiography with his very first memory, of being a very small child and having a little accident outside the bathroom door, did make me smile.
I thank the author Patrick for his candour and honesty throughout this read. I was quite unaware of the story that was to unfold. His life story, which Patrick tells through his ‘avatar’ Simon, first concentrates on Simon and his friendship with another local boy, Daniel. As well as the day to day goings on in Simon’s life and the difficult relationship he was having with his father, we see the friendship with Daniel becoming an essential escape. A very close friendship was evident, the basis of an incredibly ‘Deep Love’ that was formed so early in his life and later this intensified into a relationship of a sexual nature.
The teens were ultimately torn apart by Simon's parental separation and a move up north, leaving the broken feelings of love taken, estrangement and loss. These emotions and this loss of love were to remain with him throughout his life. The story was extremely upsetting to read in places, although throughout I really felt for Simon. Other events would almost nearly destroy him! Times of deep depression, guilt, grief and regret all had their place.
There is a second love of his life; his wife Karen has played a huge part in his story. A comfort and anchor for him, she helped him cope throughout and played a very important part in his life. Even his children and later grandchildren play their steadying roles. His life seems so normal from the outside, yet there were secrets he could not share and deep feelings of isolation.
In his thirties an unimaginable situation occurred. He would be living with demons for some time. Later he would have to face those head on and pay the price.
Patrick has been meticulous in recounting his life, remembering the good, the bad and indeed the ugly! I admire him for his perseverance.
Later, much later Simon finds an acceptance of his inner turmoil in the form of a friendship, a third love, who helped him to realise and let go of his inner turbulence and he finally accepts himself and the sum of experiences that helped to make him the man he is.
Not always an easy read, but certainly a very compelling one.
(reviewed 39 days after purchase)