What happens when we die? What is the meaning of life? What has ice-cold water got to do with sex? All these questions are answered in this book, well at least taken from my point of view in my autobiography.
I was born with Spina Bifida and therefore ended up with a different kind of a body and different aspect to life compared to the norm. I had a near death experience (NDE) at fourteen years old and I will guide you through that journey and how I reflect upon it more as I grow older. My late teenage years and into my adulthood I have battled with depression, suicidal tendencies and self-harming. It was a secret battle where I would always put a smile on to show I was fine, and you know what FINE stands for? F’d Up (COULD SAY “FUDGED”UP, A FUNNY ALTERNATIVE), Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional. We all have our mountains to climb and with me being as open as possible in this book, maybe you can associate with my experiences too.
I wanted to find love, but I really thought it was an impossible task to be attractive yet disabled. I found love in Russia out of all places in the world and this is an amazing story of synchronicity as I truly feel that things happen for a reason.
Yes, I always kept a smile on my face even though I was in some dark places in my mind. I also have a great sense of humour so please stop from putting the book back on the shelf in thinking this is a doom and gloom book, because it’s funny as anything in places. I hope it will make you laugh, cry and most of all I hope it will help you.
That is the most likely the longest blurb I have yet featured on the blog, I say likely because I am too lazy to actually check. Autobiographies are something I delve into relatively rarely, but the reading of is a whole different kettle of fish when you have spent some time with that person.
Paul Northridge was a colleague at my last place of work, and is a bloody nice chap to boot. During one particular conversation comparing the respective lack of candidate interest for the apprenticeship vacancies we were trying to fill, we ended up meanering into other topics – including sadly departed comedian George Carlin – it was then that Paul revealed he was an author.
I said, “I didn’t know that, I review books”, to which he replied, “I didn’t know that about you either”. That sorted out, I got a copy of Walk of Life and read it fittingly on the often delayed bus that took me to work.
The style of the book is best described as relaxed and chatty, like being down the pub with a mate and the obligatory few pints. There are digresssions aplenty but less meandering than Marcel Proust’s were, and come back to the point much quicker. This conversational style is refreshingly and sometimes brutally honest but always self-effacing and much less ‘edited’ than other autobiographies.
Littered throughout are references to British pop culture of yesteryear which I hadn’t heard of in ages, and had me searching the internet for far too long in a fog of nostalgic bliss, but it could just have been the frost that had crept inside the bus and clung to the windows in those cold days of winter.
This is the type of book that the reader will pick up and fly through, it is safe to say that Paul’s life has had plenty of ups and downs yet his warmth and sense of humour always shines through which helps when reading the tougher sections of the book.
Those challenging sections don’t hold back when it came to the bullying around Paul’s disabilities and how that affected him growing up. Perhaps this had even more of an impact for this reader having spent time chatting with the author but the issues it highlights are important, nonetheless.
There are things about the book that left me a little cold, the first is minor and probably a little strange to most but I have a real aversion to old photos in general, so these are not my cup of tea, but for those of you who aren’t odd like me, the photos will no doubt be a pleasant chronicale of a gentle aging. The second is the ending which goes into conspiracy theories, which may, or may not be your thing.
Finally, Paul speaks of being a ‘togetherist’ and laments the things that drive us apart, the differences, manufactured or otherwise. It seems to this reader at least, that being more aware of each other and our past experiences would benefit us all, and what better way to begin understanding than to settle down with a good book.