Saturday, November 12, 2011

Goodnight Steve McQueen by Louise Wener (Perennial 2002)

My name is Steve McQueen and I'm a bitter man. What on earth were they thinking of. calling me Steve? Didn't they realise it would ruin me? Didn't they know I'd be tortured? Didn't they understand it would be impossible for me to live up to? Did they hell. It was my mum's fault, of course, she was obsessed with him. The only reason she married my dad in the first place was because of the name. It didn't matter that he was a geography teacher. It didn't matter that he was bald at the age of eighteen, fat at the age of twenty-two, and dead at the age of thirty-three and a half. Mum had what she'd always wanted. She'd married herself a genuine McQueen.

I was three years old when my father died - he had a heart attack on a field trip to an ox-bow lake - and for a long time I actually thought Steve McQueen was my read dad. I remember my mum sitting me down to watch The Towering Inferno when I was five - spooning down my second helping of Heinz spaghetti hoops - and feeling really proud. We both clapped at the end. What a guy. He'd even managed to save Fred Astaire and the cat. What a guy. What a dad.

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