One of my two favourite British actors – Ian Holm the living one; [a:Alec Guinness|66891|Alec Guinness|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1209225692p2/66891.jpg] the dead one – since seeing him in [b:Alien|35125|Alien|Alan Dean Foster|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1332019229s/35125.jpg|35062]
(obviously not when it came out, but once I was old enough – it was an 18 after all). As with Guinness's and [a:Tom Baker|109972|Tom Baker|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1240502409p2/109972.jpg]'s autobiographies it's amazing how little I knew about the lives of these actors. I bought this book back in 2004 as a nice signed-by-the-author hardback and it sat on my bookshelf from then (like so many other books on my to-read list) until now. Thanks to Goodreads allowing me to indulge my tendencies for lists and the like I was finally able to get around to reading it.
The book covers Holm's entire life to its publication. From his early years in Goodmayes (a mere 7 miles from where I grew up); his school days and actor training – each containing a disturbingly detached tale of what we would now clearly call child abuse – through military service and his acting career; his five wives and five children; finishing with presumably his most famous role, Bilbo Baggins in the Lord of the Rings films.
In fact, detached seems like quite an appropriate word for the whole book: from the Holm parents relationship to their son; Holm's attitude to his abuse; his attitude to his career; even his attitude to his wives and children. Not that he seems unaware of this either. There's a tone in the book that he thinks he aught to feel more about his life, that the people around him are all responding to things correctly, it's just him that isn't. And he blatantly does care about his career in the sense that he's professional and wants to do the best job he can, but he doesn't seem worried about the path of his career. And, as his serial-monogamy seems to show, he doesn't seem to plan for long-term relationships either. In spite of his detachment from his own life, what he presents the reader with is a thorough, frank and honest story of his life (at least I assume so, I guess you never really know for sure). It's an interesting, well-paced, and above all witty account.