19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A lesson in what's behind tabloid stories,
This review is from: Stan: Tackling My Demons (Paperback)
I'm not a football fan, I don't like autobiographies, and anything connected with 'celebrity' culture leaves me cold. Nonetheless, I'd read an interview with Stan Collymore in which he talked very openly about his struggle with clinical depression and the role that 'dogging' played in that. Contrary to the image constructed of him in the tabloids, he came across as someone with depth and intelligence, and the courage to articulate uncomfortable truths about himself. So when recently I wanted a change from my usual diet of textbooks and middlebrow fiction, I decided to buy the full story.
Every time I had to put it down, I couldn't wait to pick it up again. Stan expands on many of the stories that we think we know about because we happened to scan the tabloid headlines as we leave the newsagent's shop. It left me realising that my own critical distance and cynicism about the tabloids is not nearly enough.
He holds your interest. However disinterested you might be in the world of celebrity and football, the real story here is of a person who could be you or me struggling with crippling depression, made all the worse because those around him failed to believe or understand how someone with his money and success could be depressed. In fact, he would probably have got more support and understanding if he'd said he was gay - at least the tabloids have to be more careful about taunting people about that these days.
As an aside, one of the people who comes out of this story as an angel is Davina McCall. At many of Stan's lowest points, Davina is on the end of a phone with life-saving sanity and support, and is just another example of someone who deserves more dignity than the tabloids have given her. Ulrika Johnson, by contrast, comes across as someone who still needs to tackle her demons in the way that Stan & Davina have.
It's well-crafted as a page turner, but also leaves room for Stan's personality to come through. It's not about football, it's about the human condition, about frailty, and about moving on and finding new directions. I felt more human after reading it, and that's not a bad recommendation for a book.