Firstly let me say I had no intention of reading this book. It was one of those you pick off the library shelf, look at and return. But because it has strong Norfolk connections I decided to take it out.
That same day I read the first chapter and within a couple of days I had finished the book. It was fascinating reading, but not necessarily for the right reasons. I'm certainly not saying it was a good book in any way and it poses as many questions as it gives answers, but it is highly entertaining and written in a very easy style.
For those who need to be enlightened, Carroll is Norfolk's self styled King of the Chavs who won £9.7 million on the lottery and blew most of it on a sex, drugs and rock n roll lifestyle and there's certainly plenty of the first two of those in the book.
The thought of Carroll writing a book could fill you with a clammy sweat induced horror. Having watched and read about his antics over the years it is difficult to imagine him putting a sentence together let alone over 250 pages. So enter friend Boru.
Now I remember this guy from a television quiz programme "In It to Win It" where he tried unsuccessfully to win money to make a cancer video. So the guy has something about him and that certainly comes over in the book.
Obviously the aim of any autobiography or authorised biography is to paint the main character as a "jolly fine person" who has been dealt with harshly by life and/or the media. Trying to sympathise with a character like Carroll takes some doing and I suppose the fact I finished with a fairly neutral view means the book has succeeded.
Plenty of the content doesn't really add up and there is much repetition. Essentially Carroll tells us that he is a reformed character. All we have to do is ask ourselves do we believe it? Does the fact that he keeps diaries and writes poetry mean that the bad old days are behind him or is this another cover up that will escalate into more bouts of violence and mayhem?
The proof of the pudding of course is in Carroll's own hands. Immediately he re-offends all claims he makes in the book will be null and void. The only way we will believe his claims of redemptions is if he stays squeeky clean from now on.
To be fair, if Carroll has had the savvy to attempt to improve his image he must be aware of how diabolical it has been. He must have thought about the effect his past actions have had on people. Whether he is genuinely contritious and keen to make amends or just wants to sell books only time will tell.
Obviously we only get one side of the story - his. It would make a very interesting book to include interviews with the people he criticises for using him and making his life a misery and I still feel that certain areas of the book fall into fantasy-land rather than the life of an ex binman lottery winner from West Norfolk. I once spoke to an hotel manager who had been the subject of some of Carroll's excesses. He painted a picture of an extremely rude individual, but one prepared to pay virtually any price to use the hotel's facilities. This of course is a picture that Carroll fully accepts.
Carroll claims that winning so much money was a curse as well as a blessing. I would suggest it's only a curse if you allow it to be. At the time of winning the money Carroll was quite obviously "a bad lot". The lottery win just gave him the means to become more excessive and more of a pain in everyone's arse.
The book contains contradictions. He openly boasts that he has had sex with hundreds of women but then professes his wish to settle down with his one true love who also happens to be in prison. He tells us he is a reformed character, but there are references throughout the book to just what he will do to certain people if he ever catches up with them.
Is Carroll misguided, misled or just a plain yob - read the book and make your own mind up. I would truly like to believe that the man has turned over a new leaf and will become a responsible person with money invested. At least he has started the process with this no holds barred book. Only time will tell whether Michael Carroll has the ability to become a real person instead of just a criminal.