That sinking feeling
SOMETIMES YOU’RE SENT a book and realise from the cover alone that you’ll either have to pretend you haven’t seen it, or grit your teeth and force your way through it.
This is one of those books. From the first page of barely formed sentences, where tribute is paid to a Dr Clive Barton for undertaking the editing job
(Dr Barton, you should be hanging your head in shame, and Mr Davies, you can’t deflect the blame that easily), you know you’re in for a rough ride.
It’s as if nobody cared that in book-publishing there are conventions that have evolved to make the reader’s experience an enjoyable one.
The decision to self-publish is the author’s, but if he can’t be bothered to order his thoughts carefully on paper, he can’t necessarily expect anyone to bother to read the result.
And as usual that’s a pity, because Mr Davies says that five years of work went into compiling his memoirs.
Anyone interested in the early days of UK scuba might well relish sharing the adventures of a man who made a good living diving for urchins and then crayfish for six years in the 1960s, coming across the odd bronze cannon and sustaining the occasional bend along the way.
Seven of his friends died in the process, so this was a serious business, although not always treated that way by all concerned. There is no great narrative thrust to the book but it does include some decent stories.
Anyway, I did read it through, albeit with a sense of grievance, and after a while became inured to the nobody-will-mind grammar and misspellings, sifting out the nuggets where I could.
If you’re prepared to do the same, the book will cost you a tenner on eBay.
Softback, 133pp, £9.95
Appeared in DIVER April 2017