** I received a copy of this book for review.
*** A video version of this review is available HERE.
Moving memoir of a young man’s youth in Sheffield, England and his family’s struggle with divorce and mental illness.
The author is a scientist who emigrated from England to Canada in early adulthood, leaving behind a difficult childhood and troubled family. Turns out several thousand miles of ocean isn’t enough to put that past to rest.
The author does a beautiful job setting scenes. I could imagine myself in that dreary Northern England town between the 1940s and 1960s. We start in the ramshackle, mouse-infested home his family shared with his maternal grandparents. Things seem fairly normal there, though the tension between his parents simmers under the surface. Later, the family moves to a new housing estate, but their fresh start is short and painful.
Gordon portrays his parents with honesty–his father’s diffidence, his mothers erratic and explosive temper. There’s compassion as Gordon details the torturous breakdown of the marriage and the chaos that followed.
We also learn the hardships the author faced getting through university and graduate school while battling his own bouts of depression, which left him hospitalized more than once. The bigger wonder is that he managed to get into university at all. His mother paid lip service to the importance of education, but support (practical or emotional) was scarce and full of resentment.
In STARTING TO FRAME, Roger Gordon offer compelling account of a man’s struggle to build a good life on the rubble of a ruined childhood.