This autobiography reads with limpid simplicity, and unapologetic determination, and it is quite shocking to hear Christy Brown describe how first of all he dictated his story to one of his younger brothers in notebooks full of a kind of Dickensian pomposity - the only language he could think of writing a proper story in.
He is taught by one of his doctors - who also gets him a private tutor. And - he begins to write again. Before then, no one has told him what a cliché is. No one has told him to use one word instead of two, a short word rather than a long one. "There are two principles attached to writing any sort of story," the doctor says. "First, you must have a story to tell, and secondly, you must tell it in such a way that the person reading it can live in it himself... You have painted pictures with a brush, try and do the same thing with a pen."
The story to tell is of course one we are familiar with because it was made into a film - what it is like to be born one of 22 into the family of a Dublin bricklayer, with severe cerebral palsy that prevents you speaking or moving; to be loved by your mother and your siblings, but to live with no money, scarcely a health service, surrounded by a world that has passed you by; and to seize control of life by learning to write and paint with your left foot, sitting in the kitchen. And to be adult before you are given any physiotherapy, or brought back into the world.
Telling his story is what Christy Brown is known for - even though he wrote three novels and a book of poetry and died in 1981 - almost fifty.