A Writer's Life

by Scott Young,
256 pages,
ISBN: 0385254695

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Brief Reviews - Non-fiction
by John Parr

THE WELL-KNOWN SPORTS-writer/biographer/crime novelist/ juvenile writer Scott Young now turns to autobiography with A Writer's Life (Doubleday, 22 pages, $28.95 cloth).

Born in 1918 in Glenboro, Manitoba, Young enjoyed pastoral bliss until he turned eight and his druggist father went bankrupt. 'Me family then separated: Dad ended up as a beer waiter in a northern town, Mom moved to Winnipeg, and young Scott was farmed out for a while, literally, with various kinfolk.

When he began attending a Winnipeg high school, the shabbily dressed poor boy found himself at the bottom of the social pecking order. So to gain some respect he entered the shotput event at the annual citywide field day. However, when he finished dead last he didn't receive quite the acclaim he'd been expecting. Still, he did get some consolation when, in the book's funniest incident, his buddy, another reject, won the half-mile race wearing a pair of laughable "whoopee pants."

After graduating, Young, in Horatio Alger fashion, managed to join the Winnipeg Free Press and to acquire a stunning girlfriend. As he humorously puts it: "... dark-haired, headstrong beauty turns down athletic hero in favour of ink-stained wretch." Subsequently Young had many reporting adventures, as well as a few romantic ones -disclosures that may cause a few matronly blushes.

A Writer's Life is an enjoyable, often Dickensian account of a lost boyhood, both sad and hilarious.


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