I was in W H Smith last week and as I was just browsing the bookshelves, when I noticed that one section had the title ‘Tragic Lives’. Good grief – I presume this is some subsection of biography and contains all those memoirs which seem to compete to show who had the most miserable childhood. I’m not sure it started with Angelas Ashes, which may have won a Pullitzer Prize but it created a rash of imitations which is obviously continuing today. Isn’t it rather sad that a whole display stand with 5 or 6 shelves on it is needed for this rather depressing genre. It reminds me of the ‘Four Yorkshiremen‘ sketch in Monty Python – ‘Eey you were lucky – we had to get up in’t mornin’ a’ lick ‘road wit’ tongue!’

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