An enjoyable, if limited, read.
The author's hypothesis is that a lot of "great lives" – and he admits to not being able to define what this means clearly – are formed in childhood trauma. Some of the examples (especially Edward Lear and Rudyard Kipling) illustrate this perfectly. But to coverage of the lives chosen, one in detail and then others in a manner that is really rather perfunctory, left me feeling rather short-changed about the lives not fully explored.
But Parris seems to lose conviction in his approach for three of the later chapters, which deal with trauma in fiction. That's a statement about what we find meaningful or entertaining rather than being about biography, and these feel like "fillers" rather than properly contributing to the book.
Finished on Tue, 14 Sep 2021 00:00:00 -0700. Rating 3/5.