I usually read several books at the same time. Actually, to be accurate, I don’t read them at the same time. I have several going at once and I alternate back and forth between them.
One of the books I’m currently reading, and having a helluva great time enjoying, is My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Autobiography of Errol Flynn, originally published somewhere around 1959, available now through Cooper Square Press (part of Taylor Trade Publishing group).
Good heavens, what a read. Is anything he says true? Well, maybe. Probably, at least some of it. But that’s not really the point, not for me.
It reads as if it’s the transcript of a recording of a great raconteur, a teller of tall-tales whose favourite tale is his own life. You get the sense of a man who is totally self-absorbed but, somehow, has such a winning personality you love him for it.
I originally picked up the book because I was interested in finding a unique character I might make use of in a story, a model for a supporting player. Well, geez … did I ever get my money’s worth in Flynn. It’s not simply a matter of a long, episodic tale but also one of style. The words, syntax … everything that goes into creating a “voice” in writing, is here.
It’s the breezy voice of a kid who never grew up.
For me, the incidents are less important than the personality that comes across (although the incidents are quite remarkable). Together, personality and incidents, it makes for an incredibly entertaining book.
Flynn is a character, in the truest sense. He’s marvellous and if I had known him, I don’t think I would have trusted him any further than I could throw him.
(By the way, it sounds as if the writing of My Wicked, Wicked Ways was a great story too, or so the book’s introduction suggests.)
My Wicked, Wicked Ways:
Classic Film, Movies, Books