Posted 20 hours ago

Fingers in the Sparkle Jar: A Memoir

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Just because there's a reason for you making your book annoying to read doesn't mean it's not annoying to read. In terms of style the language reminds me of Robert MacFarlane and the author does admit that MacFarlane was given a draft of it and provided support.

Some details I wish I wouldn’t have read about either - mainly speaking about ‘triangular bushes’ here.Fingers in the Sparkle Jar' is unique, startling, bewildering, frustrating and like nothing else I've ever read. Be they victorian glass vases, 1930’s tea pots, art deco brooches to a nice Vivienne Westwood jacket. Chris Packham, well-known TV presenter and wildlife expert, takes us back to his childhood in 1960s Southampton, and we meet a curious child who doesn't quite fit in to the societal norm. Description: Chris Packham is a naturalist, nature photographer and author, best known for his television work. Knowing that the camera on my phone wasn’t working I still got my other half to pretend to take a picture of Chris and me, so I could get right up close to him!

I grew up watching him on THE REALLY WILD SHOW as a kid and continue to watch him on SPRINGWATCH as an adult. Me, I'm not a fan of the abstract style so I found this very hard to get on with, skimming the lengthy descriptions more often than not. He is a confirmed outsider - almost overwhelmed - but determined to do things his way, on his terms.I have no doubt it's some sort of commentary on his autism and maybe it's even explained, I didn't get far enough to find that out, but it's still obnoxious. I wanted more narrative, more connections and explanations, but realise that memories don't always work that way. Chris continues to remember his difficult childhood, discovers the taste of tadpoles and encounters some bullies. It is telling of his character that this book is so meticulously and beautifully honed, the language carefully considered and precisely arranged, as though it were a rare eggshell cosseted in cotton wool in a display cabinet. I’m not a fan of overly detailed descriptions if I feel they don’t suit a purpose, and that combined with repetitive segments about his love of animals made this difficult to get through at times.

I do ultimately aim to just read or comment appropriately but then, like this – I just go on one instead ! Thus we begin to build a picture of the personality of the boy and how he is viewed by those around him.Everything seemed alive in that scintillating moment and as the gleams gyrated and glittered I imagined I could see their tiny twinkling hearts, seeding the sparks that made them so very vivid. I realised that growing up watching him on The Really Wild Show meant I was watching someone who thought like me, experienced life the way I do.

It felt like he was detached from the events going on, and to a certain extent he probably was, but overall it is a really good read. Every minute was magical, every single thing it did was fascinating and everything it didn’t do was equally wondrous, and to be sat there, with a Kestrel, a real live Kestrel, my own real live Kestrel on my wrist! Lastly in other sections we meet him in his early 40's, apparently having counselling following a suicide bid.I couldn't take him seriously knowing the words he wrote down and sent out for everyone to read and say "yes, this is what Chris Packham is like". It's not even just written in the third person, much of it is from the imagined point of view of the people around the author.

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