Saturday, 8 February 2014

Flying With Cuckoos - Michael Patrick Clark

Flying With Cuckoos (2012) is a coming of age memoir written by author and former RAF comms man Michael Patrick Clark. It tells the story of a boy who was supposedly good at nothing as he tries to find his way in a hostile world, feeling as though he doesn't fit in anywhere and desperately trying to find his place. It is with collective relief and a touch of disbelief that he is accepted into a RAF training programme, where he begins his journey into adulthood completely alone - and that's where his adventures begin.

Clark shares lessons he learned the hard way with humour and humility, transforming from a boy unsure of himself to a young man who is only sometimes sure of himself (and not always doing the right thing). He describes spectacular mistakes and downplays his successes as moments of befuddlement that somehow worked out for the best. His honesty is endearing and, although he would argue otherwise, Clark is likable, if naive.

I really enjoyed this memoir. It is, for the most part, well written and highly entertaining. I wasn't sure about the first chapter. It painted a dire woe-is-me tale of an boy whose adoptive parents never really loved him and could find nothing but fault in his actions. The hyperbole was golden but, thankfully, the narrative moves on and keeps the opening chapter as background fodder for the setting. A great read.

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