Recently, a dear friend asked me to review Nigel Bray’s memoir Mr Lucky. I admire my friend, value her sensibilities, and agreed to do so. It’s not a book I would ever have chosen to critique. But writing a book is a huge accomplishment that deserves to be acknowledged. So here are my thoughts about Mr. Bray’s brave adventure.
The book is not a polished piece of literature. Nor does it claim to be. It’s a story. Often harrowing. It’s the kind of true story we hear all too often. It’s the story of growing up gay and seeking self-acceptance. Yet another account of how society demoralizes and how important it is for each of us to become our own saviors.
Bray is a forthright narrator, which makes him immediately reliable. His voice rings clearly without self-pity. Bray has assembled the pieces of his life into a meandering memoir that entertains and at turns enlightens. This is a man who chose apt role models and then evolved. He is his own hero, a man whose life and book are achievements I applaud.
This is the story of Mr. Lucky – a misnomer if there ever was one! Follow him from him being a spoilt brat, a nascent homo, a fledgling pooflet and drama queen, on his adventures through school and College, to living in London through the madness and the sadness of the crazy 80s, during which he finds the perfect opportunities to find himself – and discovers he was right all along! G.A.Y.! FANTABULOSA! Disaster follows disaster, japes go wrong, relationships fail (mostly because he’s a fool and doesn’t know his arse from his elbow), friends die and everything’s awful. So he returns home, to Cornwall: new life, new house, new job – but same old heap of trouble. You’d think he’d learn from past mistakes, but….. Skipping through the detritus of broken hearts, a terrible thing happens and his life changes forever and Three Tall Women, each their various ways, get him through. And then, finally, after the most awful thing imaginable, the Man in the Big Red Shoes appears and he finally walks out into the light. Mr. Lucky IS lucky, after all. We do like a happy ending…..