Jeremy Lewis

Fleeing the Nest

This Boy

By

Bantam Press 297pp £16.99 order from our bookshop

Self-Portrait as a Young Man

By

Bodleian Library 286pp £25 order from our bookshop

How to Live to Be 22

By

British Library 148pp £12.99 order from our bookshop
 

Poverty loomed large in all the childhoods under review: ‘grinding’ in the case of Alan Johnson, the postman-turned-Cabinet minister, who grew up in condemned slum houses in North Kensington; imminent for museum curator Roy Strong, whose parents had escaped to a neat suburban house in north London only to discover that in the postwar world ‘money was unbelievably tight, down to counting pennies’; and a source of fantasy for the 22-year-old Keith Waterhouse, busy rewriting his past to suit whatever role he happened to be playing at the time, from pipe-smoking Young Conservative to radical left-winger whose greengrocer father had died of malnutrition.

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