Clever Girl: Growing Up in the 1950s by Brian Thompson
Longlisted for The Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction 2007
Brian Thompson never had to look very hard for trouble. His unorthodox childhood and his eccentric parents guaranteed that. But when, aged eighteen, Brian left home he was determined to enjoy a life of unstinting ordinariness, taking advantage of a Britain that would 'never have it so good'.
National Service led to foreign travel to Kenya, skirmishes with the Mau Mau and a request to fix the results of his platoon sergeant's English exam, one Idi Amin. Even when Brian was safe on English soil he was still confounded in his ambition to lead a quiet life. His limp attempt at University entrance - a single letter on some stolen NAAFI headed paper - led to admittance to Trinity College Cambridge and the niceties of middle class student life. And then there was rock and roll. And girls.
Suitably confused, Brian did what was considered to be the right thing. He married the Clever Girl.