Stuart by Alexander Masters
A Life Backwards

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Synopsis

In this extraordinary book, Alexander Masters has created a moving portrait of a troubled man, an unlikely friendship, and a desperate world few ever see. A gripping who-done-it journey back in time, it begins with Masters meeting a drunken Stuart lying on a sidewalk in Cambridge, England, and leads through layers of hell…back through crimes and misdemeanors, prison and homelessness, suicide attempts, violence, drugs, juvenile halls and special schools–to expose the smiling, gregarious thirteen-year-old boy who was Stuart before his long, sprawling, dangerous fall.

Shocking, inspiring, and hilarious by turns, Stuart: A Life Backwards is a writer’s quest to give voice to a man who, beneath his forbidding exterior, has a message for us all: that every life–even the most chaotic and disreputable–is a story worthy of being told.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Alexander Masters

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Alexander Masters studied physics and mathematics in London and Cambridge. For five years he worked in hostels for the homeless and ran a street newspaper. He has also worked as a newspaper columnist, a travel writer, an illustrator, and a bedspread salesman.
 
Published May 30, 2006 by Delacorte Press. 320 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Self Help, Political & Social Sciences, Health, Fitness & Dieting. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Stuart

Kirkus Reviews

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When Masters finished a first draft, he showed it to Stuart, who said it was boring and should be organized more like a thriller or detective novel that worked backwards through events until the discovery of the Truth.

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The New York Times

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Photographs and memorabilia of legendary Nashville stars, most of whom have passed on.

Dec 07 2008 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

The New York Times

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Mr. Masters offers a harrowing and humane portrait of an extraordinary individual without a shred of sentimentality or cant.

Jun 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

The New York Times

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How a "happy, lively little lad" became a violent, homeless ex-con.

Jul 02 2006 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

The Guardian

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Stuart: A Life Backwardsby Alexander Masters HarperCollins £12.99, pp295.

Apr 02 2005 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

The Guardian

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And yet Masters, rightly, does not use his case as a metaphor for the condition of all homeless people: as Stuart himself points out, it's a little more complex than that.

Apr 01 2005 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

BC Books

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The frustration of everyone involved in a biography — from the author, the reader, and the subject (if he or she is still living) — is the inability of the form to capture the essence of the subject, the "real" person who lurks inside a dense cocoon of facts, statistics, family connections, resum...

Apr 01 2007 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

Entertainment Weekly

Stuart: A Life Backwards (2006) Alexander Masters, an advocate for the homeless in the U.K., has written the year's most surprising, charming biography: the tragi-hilarious tale of Stuart Shorter, an… 2006-05-30 Alex...

May 26 2006 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

USA Today

Stuart: A Life Backwards opens with an eye-rolling premise: the biography of a homeless man told by a Cambridge doctoral student who worked in a shelter.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Amy Woods Butler USA Today 3.5 of 5 Stars "If there’s a downside to Stuart, it’s that Masters insists on finding the exact moment when Stuart slips from ‘one of us to one of them.’ … And in a post-James Frey world, you might cock an eyebrow at some of Stuart’s hilarious monologues that Maste...

Aug 21 2007 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

ReadySteadyBook

Stuart: A Life Backwards is a memoir of a drug-addicted, alcoholic homeless man called Stuart, written by his friend Alexander Masters, who met him through his work with a homeless charity.

Feb 01 2006 | Read Full Review of Stuart: A Life Backwards

Reader Rating for Stuart
76%

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