What I am going to talk about today is Unfinished Books or maybe just one, a book that you can’t get in the shops. Last week I went up north and saw some of the family. When I arrived I was greeted by a pile of Christmas presents from family I haven’t seen. One of the gifts from my Gran was ‘David Savidge – A Memoir’ which she has had made wonderfully. Now bare with me on this as it will all make sense in the end.
David Savidge was my grandfather, though actually more like my dad as my mum had me quite young and my grandparents looked after me half of the year, he sadly died almost two years ago. He was only 68 and it was very sudden and he died within seven weeks of being diagnosed with cancer, now maybe you’ll see why State of Happiness by Stella Duffy really hit such a chord with me, especially as I spent most of the seven weeks up there.
One of the things that he had always said he would do was to write his memoirs and about a year or so before he died he started. Sadly the computer he started this on was stolen when they were burgled… twice. Understandably this really put him off though Gran believes had he lived he definitely would have finished and I so wish he had. There are only five chapters for us (she made copies for the family) but they are just wonderfully written and totally encapsulate him and where he came from.
I know this isn’t the equivalent of an unfinished Dickens or Austen or any other author (though I have to say his writing style is brilliant) but it is so sad that I can’t read the whole 68 years worth. He had seen so much happen in his life time in terms of change that to read all of that would have been fascinating, especially from a working class background. I loved the Mitford’s letters for how much they saw though they were under much more privileged background. Are there any books out there that you wished had been finished? Is there anyone you wish had written a memoir but didn’t? I would love to know.
I think maybe the reason I was a little harsh on David Sedaris’ memoirs as I read this straight after and obviously it had more of a personal effect on me. It has made me want to read a lot more memoirs of people from the same era, especially non-famous people. Does anyone know any they could recommend, or just any good memoirs?