Saturday, 3 September 2011

Dog days

One of the many positives about lazing around by a pool for 2 weeks was the opportunity to catch up on a spot of reading and one of the many books I devoured was Brian Moore’s “Beware of the Dog”.

It was a book I’d been meaning to read for some time and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Not a comfortable read by any means, the opening chapter detailing his abuse as a child being particularly difficult, but it’s nevertheless a compelling and brutally honest autobiography written in Moore’s inimitable and combative style.

I had previously read his first autobiography (written with Stephen Jones) in the mid 90s and I recall that book as being far more entertaining than your typical sportsman’s biography. “Beware of the Dog,”  however, takes the genre to another level, detailing Moore’s battles with his inner demons as much as those with his on-filed opponents – the daily conflict with his “Gollum” alter-ego being of particular fascination (if a little bizarre).

If anything the book comes across almost as a means of therapy, as if the process of writing allowed Moore to come to terms with his past and deal with his character flaws. I may be over-stating things here, but I’d go as far as to say that it is as brutal a self-assessment as I’ve ever read.

Hardly surprising then that the book won the William Hill Sportsbook of the year in 2010. Much like Marmite, Brian Moore tends to divide opinion but, love him or hate him, you really must read this book.

1 comment:

An Idiots Rugby Guide. said...

I read it earlier this year.

It's a good read, the way in which he deals with his competitive drive is fairly compelling. The throwing away of his runners up medal in cricket and it's continuation into berating the BBC for electing David Campese to be the player to award the "sports personality of the year award" to the team he beat is very telling and an almost admirable trait for an Englishman.

The child abuse section was also commendably honest. The "Golum" references grew thin, not for the emotion they represented but I just didn't care for the comparison too much.

As a younger fella' I loved the way he talked about having to weigh up the life of being a top-class "amateur" and profestional lawyer and the strains this put upon them as players. Especially at the advent of 'pro' rugby; "Dying your hair and wanking, my dear Brian."

2nd best rugby book I've had the pleasure of reading through. "Confessions of a Rugby Mercenary" being the top of the pile.