Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Second Best: My Dad and Me by Calum Best

Calum Best should have had it all. As the only son of world-famous footballing legend George Best and his first wife Angie, a gorgeous English model, Calum was born into a world of privilege and opportunity.

But his father’s fame came at a price, and George’s playing career was soon overshadowed by his playboy lifestyle and an increasing dependence on the comforting embrace of alcohol. Whilst his tumultuous later years could never diminish the memories of the peerless, often breathtaking, quality of his football, they had a profound effect on Calum.

Growing up with his mother in California, Calum’s visits to see his father in England were all too rare, and he cherished every moment he could spend in the company of the man he adored. But as George’s alcoholism spiralled out of control, inebriation frequently led to violence and George’s self-destruction spilled over onto his son.

Vivid, deeply moving, brave and honest, Second Best is the heart-breaking story of their relationship. It is a powerful tale of love and suffering, of an absent father and his wayward son, and of a family torn apart by addiction.

On the 7th of January this year Calum Best walked into the Celebrity Big Brother house to emerge some weeks later in third place. Before CBB, I'd heard of the womaniser, party boy Calum Best , his reputation preceding him, but I hadn't ever taken the time to think of him in any other light. I pre-ordered this title at the beginning of March, looking forward to finding out more about him. I may have developed a teensy, little crush on him too at the time, so I won't lie, that did add to my reasons for pre-ordering.

We begin in 2008 where Calum describes his pride in filming a documentary about children of alcoholics before he takes us back to his childhood and beyond to the memories of his parent's life together.

Calum recounts his life with what seems to be an open and honest voice, not disguising the darkness that took hold of him throughout his twenties nor in anyway explaining away or excusing his previously debauched lifestyle. Throughout this memoir, he takes you on a vivid journey through his life, the highs and lows of being George Best's son, and the situations he found himself in that no young child should find themselves in. The reality of this book will strike a chord with many.

What struck me the most was the startling similarities between how George Best coped with life and how, in turn, Calum tried to cope with the loss of his dad. Calum undoubtedly loved his dad, that much is plainly clear to see and throughout you can't help but feel for the little boy who just wanted his dad's undivided attention and love. 

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