Take a Girl Like Me by Diana Melly
Once there was a girl, pretty and smart and sexy. By sixteen, she was married, by seventeen she had a child, and by eighteen she'd sent her son to live with an aunt. By her early twenties, she'd acquired another child and a second husband, and life wasn't going to plan- Then she met a man. Outrageous, brilliant, impossible, charismatic and kind, he was irresistible - famous for being bisexual, for a comic strip and for his music. Sex, drugs and jazz were a heady combination for the girl from Essex. Suddenly it was the swinging sixties and she was juggling babies with one hand and popping pills with the other. When George Melly wasn't in jazz clubs, he was fishing - and not just for fish. Brutally honest, hilariously candid, she has a beady eye for the ridiculous, the pompous, and conjures up with almost chilling matter-of-factness the helter-skelter of those years. The reader is gripped with horror, pity, amazement, as our herolne can't help hurtling towards tragedy - breakdowns, the death of a child, estrangement, failed love affairs and illness - but always she comes through. A classic in the making, this is the extraordinary story of a turbulent marriage, of the uncharted trajectory of a woman's life from the fifties to the new century, from those mad, bad old days to quietly walking the dogs - by way of a glitteringly seductive gai-re that includes Bruce Chatwin, Jean Rhys, Sonia Orwell, Kenneth Tynan, Jonathan Miller and a host of other luminaries. Written with a unique and clear-eyed self-effacement, here is an addictive, exceptional memoir, glowing with life and love, that breaks your heart, but makes you glad to be alive.