I’m about 3/4 of the way through Kate Adie’s The Kindness of Strangers (oddly enough sent to me by someone for some WP work I did) and although it’s okay, I’m enjoying it far less than the books I have by John Simpson, John Sergeant, John Pilger (a lot of Johns there ..) and Andrew Marr. One reason is that although this is titled as an autobiography, Ms Adie is actually very sparing with personal details and it reads badly with hopping this way and that and a concentration on the BBC machine. It’s almost like she realises while writing it that she has hit a part that naturally leads to personal disclosure, so she runs instead back to the BBC rooms. The other journos mentioned above wrote very readable books with a good balance. I think this misses that mark. The other reason is that she’s a woman.
I’m no misogynist, and I’m certainly not sexist, but as I was reading this book today I realised that it was disatisfying in parts and then connected the fact that the author was female. It wasn’t the other way round. So I’ve looked through my books (I have a lot of books), and barring Prozac Nation (which I have criticised before), I don’t have any books that I rate as even ‘good’ that are written by a female. Not one. Each of the books by a female author I have I rate quite poorly in fact. Ms Adie’s book would have been better titled as “My life with the BBC” rather than have the ‘Life’ tag.
It’s not that I think “Oh dear, written by a female” and start off with a negative attitude, it’s just that I haven’t yet found a good one. I assume they do exist though ;)