Thursday, August 03, 2006

Review: Aiden Shaw's My Undoing

Aiden Shaw. My Undoing
Published by Carroll & Graf

Reviewed by Kevin Franke

My Undoing is not so much a comprehensive autobiography as a series of snapshots from a recent period in Aiden Shaw's life. It’s full of sex, drugs and short-lived infatuations. It is the story of Shaw’s continual search for love in all the wrong places, with all the wrong men. But you never really get close to understanding what has made him who he is today.

What you get is a story about his lifestyle rather than his life. The most moving part of My Undoing is the retelling by his two friends of the car accident that left Shaw temporarily paralysed.

The book is well-written and fast-paced, but ultimately an un-illuminating and depressing read. What I really wanted was to go on an emotionally satisfying journey with the author, but what I got was a repeating of self-destructive patterns, which became more frustrating with each page. I felt strangely numb by the end of the book, as if I’d swallowed the countless painkillers and Valium along with Shaw. As such, he succeeds in allowing you a glimpse into his life, though in the end you’re glad to be leaving it behind.

Kevin Franke is a recovering actor and aspiring writer from East London.

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