I have developed a liking for non-fiction and, in particularly, memoir. I wanted to read this one even more so as it has a local Ashford resonance. It doesn’t disappoint in the same way as Stuart Heritage hadn’t expected to return to Ashford.
“People don’t go back to Ashford. It isn’t the done thing. People are born in Ashford, then leave Ashford as soon as they can, and never look back.” (page 2)
I went to the book signing at Waterstones and met Stuart and Pete. Stuart was quite pleased as I was first, and before a queue formed. He apologised for Pete’s swearing in the book. This was yet another moment of the familial blame-game! However, I think it was directed at me as an older man and I’m not really their generation of blokes.
Yet this little insight to a younger age group, and their cultural tropes, is exactly why I found the book so entertaining. It is the ordinariness of their separate and combined experiences that makes it worthwhile. Their life story is not dull and their fractious relationship is revealed through amusing events and photographs. There is a classic wedding faux-pas hinting at the underlying brotherly love. It also includes verbatim the crucial negotiation required for Stuart to allow himself to write, in this way, about Pete with his grudging approval. Look at Pete’s signed denial!
I made the mistake of writing on twitter that I couldn’t wait to give this book to my brother Steve and he noticed it. I hope he hasn’t misunderstood!
I’ll still be reading light crime stories and thrillers but I will continue to appreciate real life in memoirs, diaries and biographies.
It wouldn’t surprise me if there was a sequel to this book and I would certainly like to read it.
Heritage, Stuart (2017) Don’t Be A Dick, Pete, Square Peg.