Thursday, October 18, 2012

Biittner's Book Review: My Left Foot by Christy Brown

Another month, another book review. This is the second last book of this year's book club line up and the second autobiography/memoir. I was really looking forward to reading "My Left Foot" as I clearly remember watching the movie (and Daniel Day Lewis win an Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Christy) when I was a kid (I was eight when the film came out). I've always admired authors (as someone who sucks at writing) and Christy's story really made a big impression on me. That's probably what I enjoyed the most about the book: I loved reading about Christy's journey learning how to write, how to be an author. The movie and book both cover his childhood and development as an artist quite well, his struggles with his identity, capabilities, and his cerebral palsy, but the book excels in highlighting the author's journey as an author. I love the circular nature of the book (when you get to read about him writing the numerous drafts that would eventually the first two chapters of the book your are reading) and the final pages are so powerful to this end. Christy's voice is so strong that it is hard to believe that he wasn't always a great writer. There is just so much to take away from this story; the more I think about it, the more I recollect like how crazy big his family was, or what a nasty, sharp sense of humor he has. I find it is similar to Jann Arden's memoirs (Falling Backwards) in how brutally honest and self reflexive/critical it is. It is a great read. I would highly recommend that you read the book and then treat yourself to the movie.

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