Saturday, December 31, 2011

"Diary of a North London Lad"

I don't really remember how did I stumble upon this book, probably when searching for "North London" randomly. Apparently a self-published one, it is memoires of an "ordinary person", i.e. neither a professional writer nor a celebrity.

I read it really quickly (which, I ought to note, is no longer typical for me as the Internet has shrunk my attention span drastically) mostly because of the coincidental setting as the author grew up not far away from where we now live and used to work not far away as well from where I do. Thanks to that, it helped me to put some things into perspective and also allowed to have a glimpse into the 60s and 70s when, as far as I can see, Britain and London particularly were very different from what they're now with some changed for good and some for the contrary.

With the story being primarily focused on women, cars and theatre, still some small historical details about the British society slip out which are difficult for a foreigner to acquire otherwise. It's not exactly about the book, but again I can't help noticing how has the world has changed in the last, say, 50 or 60 years, it's hard to overestimate. We Russians often regard Western society as something that has been developing continuously but at a steady pace while us were hold in place for so long and then unleashed. In reality, it looks to me that older people in the UK recognise almost as much change in the present society when compared to the times of their youth.

Don't know if that'd be as exciting for someone who doesn't know North London, but despite its indisputably average literary quality, "Diary of a North London Lad" by Tony Shelton was arguably the best book I read this year.

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