DWJ on Burgess

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Mon Apr 28 07:25:50 EDT 2003

Charlie wrote:

>What really got
>my goat about it was that Burgess was being presented as this mould-breaking
>writer, and DWJ was brought on as (I quote) 'a more traditional children's
>author', and a foil against which Burgess could shine.

And did he?

>Having said that, I'm not as cynical about MB as some - and I'm definitely
>going to hold off comment on _Doing It_ until it's published! He's no way as
>good (or as original) a writer as DWJ, of course, but he's  much subtler
>than you'd guess from Fine's review. And the couple of times I met him (this
>was before he got famous with _Junk_, mind) he seemed quite a genuine
>person. He was even kind enough to read an unpublished MS of mine! (Don't
>think he liked it much, though.)

If having formed a judgement that this was a pernicious book I wanted to
prevent people under eighteen from reading it I wouldn't go about
belabouring it and making a fuss in print.  I would start a whisper in the
schools and on the internet that this was stuff for sad losers in their
forties, and be dismissive and mildly amused about it, such that to be seen
reading it or admit to having read it might with luck become something
anyone at school got pitied for rather than seen as a rebel.

My "loathesome rubbish" comment, like the "dreary garbage" one, was aimed
at  *Mein Kampf*, BTW, not at a book I haven't read (I can't say I think
*Mein Kampf* was worth the effort of getting hold of it to see what all the
fuss was about!)  I doubt I shall be reading *Doing It*, and I shouldn't
really have called it "bilge" before I have, but I haven't encountered
anybody who has both read it and thought it was wonderful.... I suppose
there must be such, or there wouldn't be a "debate" about it, because you
can't have a debate if only one view is represented.  Thanks for the
further input on this.


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