In this extraordinary book, Alexander Masters has created a moving portrait of a troubled man, an unlikely friendship, and a desperate world few ever see. A gripping who-done-it journey back in time, it begins with Masters meeting a drunken Stuart lying on a sidewalk in Cambridge, England, and leads through layers of hell…back through crimes and misdemeanors, prison and homelessness, suicide attempts, violence, drugs, juvenile halls and special schools–to expose the smiling, gregarious thirteen-year-old boy who was Stuart before his long, sprawling, dangerous fall.
Shocking, inspiring, and hilarious by turns, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a writer’s quest to give voice to a man who, beneath his forbidding exterior, has a message for us all: that every life–even the most chaotic and disreputable–is a story worthy of being told.
From the Hardcover edition.
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|Title of History eBook: Stuart: A Life Backwards|
|Release Date: 05-30-2006|
|Allowed Countries (hover)|
|Publisher: Random House Publishing Group||Store Sales Rank: 8749|
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Stuart: A Life Backwards
‘It was cutting me throat what got me this flat.’
Stuart pushes open the second reinforced door into his corridor, turns off the blasting intercom that honks like a foghorn whenever a visitor presses his front bell, and bumps into his kitchen to sniff the milk. ‘Tea or coffee, Alexander?’
He is a short man, in his early thirties, and props himself against the sink to arch up his head and show me the damage. The scar extends like a squashed worm from beneath the tattoos on one ear to above his Adam’s apple.
The kettle lead is discovered beneath a pack of sodden fish fingers. ‘How about a sarnie? Yes?’
Stuart stretches his hand to the other end of the kitchen, extracts
a double pack of discount economy bacon from the fridge and submerges six slices in chip-frying oil. ‘Cooked or incinerated?’
It is a cramped, dank little apartment. One room, ground floor. The window looks across a scrappy patch of grass to a hostel for disturbed women.
‘One of the few times I’ve been happy happy, the day I got this flat,’ Stuart smiles at me. ‘That’s why I want you to write a book. It’s me way of telling the people what it was like down there. I want to thank them what got me out, like Linda and Denis and John and Ruth and Wynn, and me mum, me sister and me dad, well, I call him me dad, but he’s me stepdad, if truth be told.’
The bread starts to burn. Stuart pumps the toaster release and the slices fly high into the air.
‘Cos there’s so much misunderstanding,’ he concludes angrily. ‘It’s killing peop