Most helpful positive review
55 of 62 people found the following review helpful
on 18 January 2008
As a long-time fan of John, I have been eagerly awaiting the arrival of his autobiography. It seems an age ago that the announcement was first made. In reality, it was only last June. Imagine the lovely surprise then, when I arrived home from work yesterday, and there it was, my copy of the book, a whole week ahead of schedule!
First impressions are good. The front cover has a true-to life photo of John looking natural and very happy. Colour theme is blue and silver - his colours, and very classy.
The book is short - just 245 pages, so no room for wasted words! Many more pictures inside. And a final treat - on the back cover one of him as a boy, one as Captain Jack, and one of him in his bathers!!!!! At that stage, I melted all over the floor.
And so, at 11pm last night, I started to read. And I just HAD to finish in one go. Forgive me if I'm not making sense today; I turned the last page at 4am. I don't ever do well on two hours' sleep, as my family will testify. But maybe adrenaline is keeping me going, or perhaps some of John's legendary energy levels evaporated off the pages and into my brain, because I really don't feel too bad today.
In the introduction, John asks us to imagine that we're sitting in our pyjamas in the lounge of his Cardiff sitting room, sharing a drink, some music and the memories. That's almost an invitation isn't it??????
The book is divided into chapters, each named after a song from some of John's favourite musicals. So themes such as "Being Alive", "Live, Laugh, Love" and "High, Flying Adored" very aptly set the scene for what is to come.
The events described in the book are not arranged in chronological sequence, but as a series of reminiscences. So I found myself travelling, to and fro in time, as the themes developed. Good job Captain Jack is a Time Agent!
The style of the book is witty and intelligent, with just the right blend of content and comedy. I can imagine that John and his sister Carole had much fun and many a laugh whilst writing! I had quite a few laughs myself too.
What a life! John has packed more into his 40 years than many of us would struggle to manage in 400. John's explanation for this is simple, his mother taught him that, "You're a long time dead, son. You can sleep when you're dead." It's hard to imagine that John currently gets any sleep at all.
If the book has a down side, then for me it's that there's very little of John the man. I have seen and heard John many times, met him a few, and follow him in the media, albeit here with a very large shed load of salt. I have therefore heard many of the stories and anecdotes before, and for me there was very little new material. What I had been hoping for from the book was this: a better insight into the beautiful person, inside and out, that John is. His thoughts, feelings, opinions and emotions. I didn't get it. The content is very action and event-oriented. I finished the book feeling a tad disappointed that I didn't actually know John the person any better than when I started it.
All in all though, a very enjoyable and worthwhile read. The true value of the book for me is that at last I have this collection of stories direct from John's mouth, and all together in one place. That's worth its weight in gold.
And hey, this is theatre, so it's not all over till the fat lady sings. There's always Act 2, so bring it on, John and Carole!!!!