We have a book review just for the guys, with all this Valentine’s day romance overload we thought this could be refreshing.
Beware of the Dog ~ by Brian Moore (reviewed by John/JD)
A surprisingly frank and revealing autobiography by one of the hard men of English sport – an award-winning book that is a good read even for those with no interest in sport.
For the uninitiated (which will likely include 99% of the US population as the sport in question is rugby), Bran Moore was a leading light in English sport and played for the English national rugby team from 1987 to 1995, during which time the team enjoyed a major resurgence in its fortunes. He was renowned for being a dedicated, driven and totally uncompromising player, and his natural aggression stood him apart even in the tough game of rugby.
The book takes you through his childhood years, university, his emergence as a talented rugby player, his career as a lawyer (at the time rugby was still an amateur sport so most players had full-time jobs), his time playing for England, the difficulties of stepping back from rugby as he got older, and his career and life since – which has taken in being a sports commentator and writer, a wine columnist, a brief spell working with his wife as a manicurist, and a flirtation with politics.
Crucially, Moore tells how he was adopted when he was only a few months old, and how he was later sexually abused by a teacher who was also a friend of the family. He kept the abuse a secret for almost 40 years. While he didn’t realize it at the time, the adoption and abuse shaped his character, making him brutally self-critical and fiercely competitive. While these traits helped him become a leading sportsman, they robbed him of the ability to enjoy much of his success and had a ruinous effect on aspects of his social life. Having spent much time and effort trying to untangle the various threads of his life, only recently has he started to come to terms with what has shaped him; but as he says, this remains a work in progress.
For me this was a fascinating book, though of course it does help that I love rugby. It’s full of interesting information about people, events, and the inner workings of the sport at all levels. There are many insights into the sport and many funny anecdotes. Moore is from Yorkshire as well, so he scores extra points for that! Even if you don’t like rugby or are not into sport generally, there is still much to enjoy in this book. It is an interesting insight into what made him the man that he is, and more generally into the impact of traumatic childhood events.
Moore has a somewhat unconventional writing style, but he is highly intelligent, erudite and is not shy about saying exactly what he thinks, which makes for an enjoyable read. I have to admit to having a huge bias regarding this book, but even after tempering that bias a little I’d still rate it 4 stars.
*A Special Reminder for Guys* Valentine’s day is on Monday ~ Yes on Monday! For a quick online way to give a gift to your significant other, here is my idea ~ Spa Finders will allow you to print a gift certificate which you can put in a card or, if you’re really desperate, into an envelope; or it also can be emailed. The best bit is that it’s international too! Your partner then can use it at a spa for the service of her (or his) choice within your area (I had 150 plus to choose from my area code). Women love this stuff! I’m just thinking that if you’re like my hubby, you will have waited till the very last minute and will be scrambling for a gift and perhaps paying for it for years in emotional currency.
John received this book for Christmas. It came in the mail last week and was devoured in 3 days! He, as always, will be addressing any comments for the book so please don’t forget to check the follow up box to get his reply.
Thanks for reading.