Why This book?
Working Class Boy by Jimmy Barnes is the first book of a series of memoirs. It mostly covers events that happened during the author’s childhood. I didn’t know Jimmy and wasn’t familiar with his music or any other rock music before starting to listen to his book. It was available for free on Audible with my subscription at the time.
Five-star reviews, words of encouragement written by thousands of readers on audible in addition to the catchy name of the book didn’t leave any doubt for me to add this book to my library and listen to it. The author who has Scottish heritage but grew up in Australia narrates the book himself. I always like it when authors read their books as I think they have the power to convey the hidden feelings behind the words through their voices. I believe Jimmy did a great job even though understanding his Scottish accent especially when he tried to mimic different people in the plot and following the story at the same time wasn’t easy.
A drama or a tragedy?
I felt all his pain and anxiety in his voice. Sometimes, the feeling was so overwhelming that I had to stop listening and distance me from him and his unbelievably “violent upbringing” as The Sydney Morning Herald describes it. The book is informative and honest, Jimmy is a brave man who is facing his traumas in life in front of billions of people in the world, but I didn’t like the book.
I didn’t like to read about a child’s painful life, his struggles, loneliness and confusion in life, knowing all of these events have happened and might still happen to someone not far from me. I know judging people when you haven’t experienced the same shit is not right. Every time I did it, life has put me in a similar situation to teach me a lesson. I also believe a mistake is a mistake and it must not be sugar-coated. It is difficult to empathise when he is still trying to normalise his parents’ behaviour and find excuses for their mistakes. I came to Australia to experience a fairy tale lifestyle, reading about this level of cruelty in a family and calling it toughness made me sick and anxious.
The events which happened in his life were so overwhelming and horrifying that even the sacrifices and kindness of his stepdad, Reg, were lost in them. The only reason I stayed motivated to listen to his story was the knowledge of his successful future. Imagine how scary life would have been for a boy who was stuck in a life he didn’t know had a good future planned for him.
Kudos to Jimmy
Jimmy has most probably much more life skills than most of us now with all he went through in life. It was also so heartwarming to read in the book about how he still managed to care about other people’s feelings as a child despite all the neglect he experienced. I wish Jimmy to experience the best that life can offer from now on but I don’t think I can manage reading the rest of his memoir at this stage of my life!
Buy Jimmy Barnes’s Book on Amazon
These are non-fiction life stories of Jimmy who has shared with the world through these books.