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THINGS I AM ASHAMED OF: A Memoir (Kindle Single) by [CLEE, NICHOLAS]
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THINGS I AM ASHAMED OF: A Memoir (Kindle Single) Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews

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Length: 91 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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"Things I Am Ashamed Of is an honest book, at points painfully so. Clee follows through on the title's promise, serving up a lifetime of regrets about his behaviour to others and his moral and intellectual failings... The writing must have been a cathartic process, but it is full of pleasure for the reader, too. Clee finds solace in literature and writes perceptively about Philip Larkin, Julian Barnes and Stefan Zweig. He poses interesting philosophical questions: is our childhood self our true self? Why is happiness elusive?" - Anna Baddaley, Observer

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 639 KB
  • Print Length: 91 pages
  • Publisher: NICHOLAS CLEE; 1 edition (17 April 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00JS8B7AW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 38 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #183,577 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I found this memoir an absorbing and at times unsettling piece of writing. The author is disturbingly honest and so unsparing in his assessment of himself that at first I wondered at the purpose of such self-excoriation. However, as the latter part of the book unfolded, I began to sense the wider point that I think Clee is making, not just in the brutal judgments he makes of what he sees as his own weaknesses, but in the invitation he offers (by implication) to the reader to examine his or her own flaws. This invitation leads to a superb final section in which Clee examines and questions some of the moral choices made by key figures such as Richard Strauss during the hegemony of the Nazis in Germany. His conclusions made me feel deeply uncomfortable and it's only since finishing the book and stepping back from it a little that I've understood that one of the reasons for my awkwardness is the realisation that, after trying to examine my own weaknesses as honestly as the author has done with his, I would almost certainly have acted no better than the figures he describes, had I been in the same situation as them. So it's a very thought-provoking book that starts in a deeply personal way (in relation to the author) but then expands into something far wider. I recommend it.
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A courageous analysis of the follies of youth seen from the perspective of maturity. Clee talks about events from his early life that will strike a chord with most of us - but what we prefer to forget, he faces up with great moral courage. As always, wonderfully written. Not to be missed.
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In this fragment of autobiography, Nicholas Clee looks back over his childhood, youth and beyond with a truly unusual honesty. He writes with a self-lacerating regard to accuracy that reminds us all that in many ways we not only reshape our pasts but often do so in a way that smooths over or erases our sins and inadequacies. Lucid and - for once the cliché is justified - compulsively readable.
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I was attracted by the title and not disappointed. The author doesn’t wallow in shame, but is just honest about the sort of crap things most of us do when young then try and forget but actually keep remembering. His honesty made me feel better about my own youthful failings.

I’ve lopped off a star as I felt the book rambled a bit at the end. He largely stopped talking about his actions, and instead talked about his views – something I find a lot less interesting (I can get views anywhere and everywhere on the Internet for free, but actual personal experience is special).

But overall I really liked this truthful memoir. I liked its brevity, too: a nice ad for the ‘Single’ genre. Good stuff.
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An honest reflection of early years which caused me to reflect on my adolescent years.

There is much in the book that we can all identify with - so many things that with hindsight and the benefit of maturity we'd all say or do differently - unkind comments we've made with the express intention of causing hurt or not caring whether we did or not. Words and deeds better left unsaid or not done, and other things we ought to have said or done but unthinkingly didn't, taking the kindness of others for granted, people we've let down who relied upon us to not do so.

Of course, we're not made wise by the recollections of our past - a past we can't alter, but we are responsible for the future, so rather than paper over the cracks and leave the past where it belongs as we tend to do, whilst not emotionally 'beating ourselves up' over events now long gone, ('raking up the past' as some might say), we can reflect upon and learn from those errors of judgement and try to be a little kinder in future and the book is a gentle reminded that maybe we ought to.

I found the book well-written, succinct and insightful, and could empathise with much that Nicholas recounted.

David.
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I don't normally write a bad review but wouldn't want anyone to waste their money or time. Maybe the author just wanted to write something for the sake of it. The most interesting part was about his mother. She sounded very interesting and exciting. Everything else is just stuff that everyone goes through and does , if not worse. That's how you learn, girlfriends/ boyfriends finish you, you finish them, some cheat, you love someone more than they like you and vice versa. I only stuck with it hoping it would get better and see if there really was something to embarrassed about. It didn't and there wasn't. I'm sure many readers have lead a more colourful life and should spend their time writing about it rather than use it on reading this. However if the author ever wrote a novel about his mother I wouldn't hesitate to buy it.
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This is an account so candid that at times it makes one squirm with self-recognition. There is something about witnessing another expose their foibles that prompts the question - could I be so honest? So I I can't say I "love it" but I can say it was a totally compelling read. So much so that it was easy to resume the thread whilst I read it in snatches (on my phone) on various tube journeys. The narrative pace is strong so there was never a sense of "now where was I?".
I've met the author Nicholas Clee in a professional capacity several times, yet reading this astonishingly frank self-examination revealed aspects of the private person that made much more sense of the public person. Many of us tussle with aspects of our childhood, upbringing, parents and their influence on our personalities: it is very refreshing to experience someone face their demons without being dragged down by them.
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