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Stuart: A Life Backwards

by

Stuart: A Life Backwards Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

In this extraordinary book, Alexander Masters has created a moving portrait of a troubled man, an unlikely friendship, and a desperate world few ever see. A gripping who-done-it journey back in time, it begins with Masters meeting a drunken Stuart lying on a sidewalk in Cambridge, England, and leads through layers of hell…back through crimes and misdemeanors, prison and homelessness, suicide attempts, violence, drugs, juvenile halls and special schools–to expose the smiling, gregarious thirteen-year-old boy who was Stuart before his long, sprawling, dangerous fall.

Shocking, inspiring, and hilarious by turns, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a writer’s quest to give voice to a man who, beneath his forbidding exterior, has a message for us all: that every life–even the most chaotic and disreputable–is a story worthy of being told.

Review:

"The British antihero of this moving biography started with teenage glue-sniffing, petty thievery and gang brawls, then graduated to heroin and major thievery. He endured prison stints and led a 'medieval existence' on the streets, finally emerging into triumphant semistability as an 'ex-homeless, ex-junkie psychopath' with only occasional episodes of violence and suicidal impulses. In Cambridge, England, Masters, an advocate for the homeless, befriended Stuart — someone for whom 'cause and effect are not connected in the usual way' — and found him at times obnoxious and repellent, but also funny and honest. Masters notes bad genes and childhood sexual molestation, and critiques 'the System' of British welfare and criminal justice institutions that help with one hand and brutalize with the other, but he doesn't reduce Stuart's intractable problems to simple dysfunction or societal neglect. By eschewing easy answers (the easy answers — don't drink, don't use, don't steal, don't play with knives — are precisely the hardest for Stuart), he accords full humanity to Stuart's stumbling efforts to grapple with his demons. Hilarious and clear-eyed, the author's superbly drawn portrait of Stuart is an unforgettable literary evocation and a small masterpiece of moral empathy and imagination. Photos. (June 6)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"A few years ago Alexander Masters, a mathematics and physics student at Cambridge, began working at a daytime drop-in shelter for what are referred to in Britain as 'rough sleepers.' He had a pretty good idea that the homeless people he was working with weren't just actors between jobs or former Beverly Hills matrons whose ex-husbands had employed crackerjack lawyers to deprive them of their money.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

Hailed in Britain as "devastating," "inspirational" ("Saturday Telegraph"), "heartbreaking" ("Saturday Telegraph Magazine") and "hilarious" ("The Spectator"), "Stuart" is the tragic yet ultimately uplifting story of a boy whose life left the rails early and just kept going.

About the Author

ALEXANDER MASTERS was born in New York in 1965 and studied physics and mathematics in London and Cambridge. For the last five years he has worked in hostels for the homeless and run a street newspaper. He has also been an agony aunt, a travel writer, an illustrator, and a bedspread salesman.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385340007
Author:
Masters, Alexander
Publisher:
Random House
Subject:
General
Subject:
Great britain
Subject:
Homeless persons
Subject:
Personal Memoirs
Publication Date:
May 2006
Binding:
ac
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
300
Dimensions:
8.48x5.88x.89 in. 1.02 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Biography » General
Health and Self-Help » Recovery and Addiction » Personal Stories

Stuart: A Life Backwards Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 300 pages Delacorte Press - English 9780385340007 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "The British antihero of this moving biography started with teenage glue-sniffing, petty thievery and gang brawls, then graduated to heroin and major thievery. He endured prison stints and led a 'medieval existence' on the streets, finally emerging into triumphant semistability as an 'ex-homeless, ex-junkie psychopath' with only occasional episodes of violence and suicidal impulses. In Cambridge, England, Masters, an advocate for the homeless, befriended Stuart — someone for whom 'cause and effect are not connected in the usual way' — and found him at times obnoxious and repellent, but also funny and honest. Masters notes bad genes and childhood sexual molestation, and critiques 'the System' of British welfare and criminal justice institutions that help with one hand and brutalize with the other, but he doesn't reduce Stuart's intractable problems to simple dysfunction or societal neglect. By eschewing easy answers (the easy answers — don't drink, don't use, don't steal, don't play with knives — are precisely the hardest for Stuart), he accords full humanity to Stuart's stumbling efforts to grapple with his demons. Hilarious and clear-eyed, the author's superbly drawn portrait of Stuart is an unforgettable literary evocation and a small masterpiece of moral empathy and imagination. Photos. (June 6)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Hailed in Britain as "devastating," "inspirational" ("Saturday Telegraph"), "heartbreaking" ("Saturday Telegraph Magazine") and "hilarious" ("The Spectator"), "Stuart" is the tragic yet ultimately uplifting story of a boy whose life left the rails early and just kept going.
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