A Scrummy Book. "A Life Worth Living" by Nicholas Shehadie [review]
Not one word is wasted in Sir Nicholas Shehadie’s memoir, "A Life Worth Living". Almost all the words are. This book is a triumph of lack of style over lack of substance. It’s a pity to attach such a proud word as ‘book’ to a publication like this, as it is to attach ‘music’ to two-fingered renditions of Chopsticks. Shehadie is no writer, nor does he pretend to be, which is a shame. Rugby boffins wanting to know Shehadie’s favourite coaches or his all-time dream team will find enough passages in "A Life Worth Living" to satisfy them. But a more demanding reader is advised to spend their $29.95 on something that demonstrates far more care for language and depth of, well, depth of pretty much anything. Self-analysis, gravity of feeling, social or political insightfulness, engaging revelation, are not to be found in these pages. There is little description to speak of, barely any detailed observation, and no images to please the mind. It’s as though Shehadie were only half interested in writing the damned thing at all. He conveys memories of his childhood and youth in a throwaway anti-language of clichés as if he can’t remember the period too well.