Opening Line: “I am torturing my father, Colin.”
I’ll be honest (based on the blurb) this wasn’t quite what I was expecting; yes there’s punk rock, heroin abuse and dysfunctional parents. But there’s also you Adam Sharp, and your life story is so much more than that.
Daddy Was a Punk Rocker is an inspiring, funny, horrific, surprisingly relatable and often sad memoir that at the core is a story about the child-parent relationship. This is little boy lost while he waits for his parents to get their shit together.
Adam takes us back to the very beginning with a mother who didn’t want him, refused to touch him or show him any form of kindness. His father Colin was a junkie, but more than that he was a disappointment, swearing that he wouldn’t abandon him yet continually doing just that. Subsequently raised by his grandfather and “Andrew” in Manchester England Adam grows up trying to be the bravest, smartest boy in the whole world so that his father will return and his mother Martine will visit more often and maybe not hit him as much. He tries not to cry, to lift the most weight in gym class, to never let a soccer ball into his net. Adam continually tries to prove himself while growing up. Eventually he comes to a sort of placidity about who his parents are and then it becomes all about escaping Manchester and who he is.
“His house smelled of cigarette smoke and violence.”
Throughout this Adam is always trying to escape; geographically from Manchester but mostly from himself. He relocates a lot; in Sydney, Melbourne, The Channel Islands, Spain, he recreates himself becoming funny and charming and successful and confident. It was kind of heartbreaking actually watching Adam try so hard to be someone else because he felt who he was wasn’t good enough.
I liked that this book followed Adam out of his childhood, I liked watching him attend college for a law degree he doesn’t want, meet girls, travel the world, be a stilt walker. I liked seeing him immigrate to Australia and live in a shed with spiders, be a “sexual experimenter” and then meet his wife Lee. I suffered with you while you bartended and served sandwiches in a casino. And attempted suicide. I watched you eventually find a relationship with your father and allow punk rock into your life. And the epilogue… the epilogue had me choking back tears. Oh No!
My only criticism would be that the beginning felt sort of repetitive, by putting us into the story in short form and then starting all over again with more detail. On the flip side there were certain sections of dialogue that were hilarious (like the nonsensical banter between Adam and his mates or when he first meets Lee at the wedding) I can only hope to read something along these lines in the future.
Thank you Adam Sharp for allowing me this intimate look into your life, what a brilliantly entertaining memoir you’ve put out there into the world.~4.5~
** A copy was generously provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. 366jb45