John Bird has changed the lives of countless people, but first of all he had to change his own. Here he turns his attention to his own past and traces his life from the slums of Notting Hill, through crime, vagrancy and homelessness, to redemption when he launched "The Big Issue". This is an evocation of a life which could so easily have gone the other way, and also a great testament to the human ability to overcome adversity, when energy meets that rarer quality, opportunity.
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You are unlikely to have ever encountered a book quite like this. Some Luck by John Bird is the amazing life story of the founder of The Big Issue, the magazine sold by the homeless on many street corners in England as (theoretically) a method of gaining a foothold in society again. Bird's book is an eye-opening tale with the descriptions of his own grinding poverty as a boy and his subsequent life on the edge of society as powerful as anything in the writings of such socially committed authors as George Orwell and Nelson Algren. In order to offer the possibility of change to so many people with his magazine, Bird was first obliged to change his own life--and with his underprivileged past, this was no easy task.
Born in the slums of Notting Hill, Bird experienced all the grimmest experiences life had to offer for someone from his background: petty crime, life on the road and, of course, homelessness. His launching of The Big Issue was the act that transformed his life, but it is the earlier portions of this book which inevitably grip the most inexorably. Bird is particularly good on the blighted lives he encounters while struggling to survive. As with Orwell and Algren, literature and the arts offer the author an escape from the exigencies of his pitiless life: his discovery of Thomas Hardy and DH Lawrence led him to realise that life offered more possibilities than violence and crime, and his transformation is genuinely inspirational.
The book is written in terse, unpolished prose, and is all the better for that. This is essential reading for anyone concerned with Britain's underclass or, for that matter, anyone interested in how an impossible venture was brought to triumphant success. --Barry ForshawReview:
A powerful life-story told without a hint of self-pity -- Sunday Express, October 27, 2002
Some Luck provides a marvellous documentary of a vanished London and life in the underbelly -- The Spectator, November 2, 2002
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Book Description Penguin Books Ltd, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 141006900