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on 24 May 2016
Last year I had the good fortune of bumping into the author Blake Morrison at the Derby Book Festival. Prior to our meeting I had not even heard of him nor his book about his father. It was a nice coincidence to have met him especially as I was a volunteer for the event. During the course of his talk he read a passage from 'And when...' which affected me quite deeply. Therefore i made sure to talk to him at the end of the event and tell him of my own experiences.

I had to speak to him because I too had lost my father and was in the process of writing a book about his death from suicide. On March 31st 2016 I released my book 'My Father & The Lost Legend of Pear Tree - Part One'. Only after the release of my book did I finally decide to read Blake's book about his own father.

The reason I waited so long to read this book was because I wanted to make sure I finished and released my book first. Having now finished reading Blake's book I'm glad I waited.

I can now understand how uncomfortable it can be for a reader to read something so personal. It would be quite easy to say that this book is not enjoyable because of its content. However that totally misses the point. As it is not the content that matters and how it is written, but the actual context.

Having also lost my father I can perfectly understand why people need to write and share their experiences with others. We don't do it for an audience. We do it to honour our fathers. They may not have always been perfect. But they made us the people we are.

More than anything we read these stories to know that we are not alone.

And if this book helps people come to terms with the death of a loved one. Then so be it.

Thank You Blake.
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on 9 September 2015
I think this is a very brave book, A warts and all depiction of a difficult father/son relationship. The father, is a bumptious egotistic albeit well meaning GP who continues to dominate Blake, his son, long into adulthood. One senses he is expressing long years of swallowed rage. We learn in the second chapter of the book that Arthur had terminal bowel cancer and has not long to live. A graphic and harrowing portrayal of the progression of his illness interspersed with reminiscent chapters of family life follows. Blake is a Professor of Creative Writing at Goldsmiths College and a poet. The reader is spared nothing and at times the book is very difficult to read. Some crude masculine type writing, ie. too much penises, s*** and masturbation in the bath, which seems gratuitous and rather too much intimate description of Arthur's actual death. Blake is working out artistically his difficult feelings and perhaps guilt about his father but to an outside it feels as if Arthur is left stripped of his dignity.

The book made for a stimulating and revealing discussion at my monthly book club and I feel although disturbing this is a heartfelt and beautifully written book. Well worth reading.
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on 3 October 2014
This book - I read the blurb, and spent an age avoiding the buying of it. The title alone evoked an emotional reaction that caught me up in my own memories of dadda's last weeks. Read it I eventually did. I was always going to. I appreciated the clear style. I appreciated the care of it, the uncoiled confusion that death throws up, and the need to imprint the reality of the dying man on the page - to do him justice - To make a man live again through the words. It was wonderful, and profound. Did the book resonate with me? Most certainly, and although my experience of that bastard, grief, was not the same, there were many moments when I recognised the thoughts and feelings, so eloquently poured into the writing. Good writing elicits an emotional response in the reader. Blake Morrison is a good writer. Powerful, disturbing, and cathartic. I'm glad I found the courage to read this book. It will stay with me, I think, for a long, long time.
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on 11 February 2013
This book is a satisfying read, which describes a very true to life family story and deals with illness and death in a caring but matter of fact way. It was a little on the downbeat side, not unnaturally given its theme, but its value was that it came across oas genuine and felt, and one believed in the characters. What an annoyiong father Balke's must have been, and how charhing to remember him so exactly. I laughed alound at some of his outrageous pranks - going to the head of a queue and insisting he was acting in a professional capacity whilst he was simpley being impatient, for example. I was glad I read it and would recommend it to anyone who has lost a parent.
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on 14 January 2013
I found this book very affecting. Honestly, vividly and humourously written, it is an account of some aspects of the writer's father's life and death, consisting of episodes from the family's past, often less than flattering, interspersed with chapters relating to his father's illness and death, all of which illuminate family relationships in all their imperfection. In particular, the father's emphasis on putting up a good show and not revealing your frailties to the world is strongly contrasted with the son's apparently very honest "warts and all" style of writing. Although the subject matter is often difficult, this is a fascinating book. Excellent Kindle edition.
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on 5 June 2016
This book was recommended to me, I read it from the perspective of someone who has been through the same experiences. If the author was trying to make sense of his childhood and parental relationships, all he has done as show himself up as an unforgiving, ungrateful son, looking for revenge for any mistakes his Father has made in his parenting. Details of the suffering that are included are not made sympathetically, they are written crudely and to shock any who haven't witnessed such things for themselves. I would advise anyone facing the imminent deterioration of a loved one from cancer NOT to read this, take one day at a time, and focus on the good things they have done, not the errors. Forgiveness and kindness are not found here.
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on 1 June 2014
In this book the author remembers and pays tribute to his father, describing his relationship with him through stories from his youth and adolescence. These alternate with observations of his father's final illness, death, and funeral.

He describes events with humour and sensitivity. His father, by turns infuriating, bumptious or loving comes to life as an individual but also as the quirky awkward person whom all of us tolerate and love as our own parents. He shows us how he has learned to accept his loss and reconcile it with the grief while retaining his love and gratitude for his father. A lovely book.
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on 12 September 2016
Came straightaway. Cheers. Very pleased as it was a birthday present for my friend who had been passively searching for a while so I wanted it quickly in order to be able to give it to her before anyone else had the same idea. Molte grazie.
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on 12 November 2016
We have been reading this in Uni and we have been captured. Funny, poignant and sometimes sad superb piece of prose
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on 11 January 2017
A lovely book. Helped me at a difficult time in my life.
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