Published Jan 2010
This is the story of how books saved one man’s life – twice.
John Sutherland’s childhood ended, before it began, when his father was killed flying a Wellington bomber – happily before he could kill any Germans. Half-orphaned, John was abandoned when his widowed mother decamped to Argentina with a new man. John was brought up by an assortment of well-meaning, but not necessarily qualified, relatives. It was an odd, unsettled childhood and John took refuge in books. In the long term, his solitary reading habit merged into a very bad drinking habit.
The Boy Who Loved Books is the story of one man’s, often desperate, love affair with reading matter, with drink and with an adored, but absent, parent. Books in many ways changed John’s life, propelling him to university, and sustaining him in the dark times that were to come. It is also a personal account of the shifting twentieth century and the profound changes that shook society, as well as what it was like to be a grammar-school boy, a national-service man and a redbrick graduate during this period.