Words cannot describe exactly the sadness of this memoir. It is full of feeling and emotion. It is not overly emotional and sickly or forced, because of this the emotion is raw and very real. There is very little censorship and it reads like the mind of Richard Beard as if he is trying to piece things together and these are his thoughts.
This memoir is about recovering the memory of the events that happened leading up to the death of his younger brother Nicholas Beard and how the family coped and dealt with his death.
The truth is they didn’t. They locked him and all his memories in the attic and moved on with their lives as if he had never existed. Beard’s mother appeared to never had time to grieve because she had 3 children and a husband suffering from cancer to look after. The only way she managed to cope was by believing her son was horrible and would grow up to be a banker or a murderer. However, Beard was interested in discovering the real Nicholas as he had very little memory of his brother, and he wasn’t a horrible and twisted little boy but in fact he was anything but.
This was a very sad and emotional book that proves that people cannot grieve as quickly and as easily as it may seem. Grief also takes a manner of shapes and forms as highlighted by every single person mentioned in this memoir. Arguably actively trying to forget the memory of Nicholas was not the best way to grieve and move on after his death on a holiday in Cornwall in 1978. However, compared to self help books that teach and advise you how to deal with grief, this first person perspective memoir shows exactly how a real family, real people, deal with the death of a close family member in real life.