Toy Fights: A Boyhood, by Don Paterson (Faber 2023)

Neil's picture

Toy Fights is the funniest book I've read in years. There were times when I had to stop reading as I was laughing so much. That doesn't happen very often. Don Paterson is a poet and academic, who grew up in Dundee, and initially made his living as an jazz musician and composer. This book covers only the first 20 years of his life, and ends as he makes his way to London to escape his rather dismal childhood. At this stage he hasn't written a single poem. He says he'll write the sequel if enough people read this one. He's a hilarious writer, very opinionated, especially about music, but despite his savage wit, the book is a warm portrait of family life. It's a terrific, satisfying and hilarios book; just don't read it in public.