You Cannot Live as I Have Lived and Not End Up Like This: The Thoroughly Disgraceful Life and Times of Willie Donaldson Hardcover – 22 Mar 2007
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`A splendidly entertaining romp through a life misled.' -- New Statesman
`A startling and brilliant biography that reads like a Rake's Progress for the 21st century.' -- Daily Mail
`Has the texture of life-as-it-is-lived, the usual province of fiction' -- Craig Brown, Daily Telegraph
`Superb... it would be a brilliant picaresque novel, if it were not all true.' -- Indpendent
`Sympathetic and extremely enjoyable.' -- Daily Telegraph
'A startling and brilliant biography that reads like a Rake's Progress for the 21st century' - Daily Mail --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an engaging biography of someone who could have been much more famous than he was, and anyone who obviously upset the incalculably smug editors of Private Eye has to have had something going for him
In some ways, I wish I hadn't; although Terence Blacker writes beautifully, it's about a failure of a life, somebody who managed to turn most of what they touched into ruins. I was reminded of a biography I read of Peter Sellers years ago, that posited he was a man incapable of joy and quite wicked; poor Willie, with his expertise at self-sabotage, seems a kindred spirit. Donaldson seems like a quite awful person, and yet at the same time a great talent that never made enough of himself.
However, it's definitely worth a read, if only to understand how money, crack cocaine and prostitutes can't always bring you happiness. For further reading on the joys of cocaine, you could do worse than The Death of Marco Pantani: A Biography
His obituary in the Telegraph was classic, featuring this quote from Kenneth Tynan: "...an old Wykehamist who ended up as a moderately successful Chelsea pimp". He was also a successful(and failed) "theatrical impresario, a crack-smoking serial adulterer and a writer of autobiographical novels; but it was under the nom de plume Henry Root that he became best known."
Now all we need is a biopic based on this book, starring either Mark Gattis or David Walliams, maybe with Rachel Hurd-Wood as Carly Simon(she's almost got the lips for the role)
BTW, I give this book 4 of 5 stars. I give "Brewer's Rogues, etc" 5 stars, and would joyfully give it more, if only an updated version would include Willie Donaldson.
Only someone with vey little sense of humour could dislike it - or him.
If you want to know what it was like to live in a certain milieu in the late 20th century, this is the book - I say this from a little experience.
As I knew some one or two of the people involved, I had a couple of complaints about the facts, and the grammar is a bit odd five or six times, but an astounding, alternately sad and hilarious life well described.
Also, for me anyhow, Donaldson comes over as having great charm and often being surprisingly thoughtful with a great gift for seeing and joyfully skewering the ludicrous.
His writing style was extraordinarily good; anyone praised by Auberon Waugh and Craig Brown has to be very special. The person who comes out of it worst is that pompous prick Sir Jonathan Miller.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Oh dear, painful yet amusing in parts, especially when Sebastian Horsley out-Donaldsoned Donaldson. Author occasionally seems bewildered that a crack-addicted, fetishistic voyeur... Read morePublished 4 months ago by P
Well-written and compelling biography of the man who brought us the "Henry Root Letters" in the 1980s.Published 16 months ago by Dauvit
Good read but written after his death by friend. not quite as salacious and disgraceful as I had hoped but that's just me...Published 22 months ago by Claire Bridge
Hilarious. So much so I looked into buying the Henry Root Letters which I remember from the 80s but it's obviously out of print as it's horrendously expensive to buy on Amazon. Read morePublished on 28 Feb. 2014 by D. G. Short