Quick Reads is a wonderful initiative to get adults reading. Currently 1 in 6 adults of working age in the UK find reading difficult and may never pick up a book. Quick Reads commissions well known authors to write shorter books that are specifically designed to be easier to read. What an excellent idea!
Do Not Go Gentle is one such Quick Read written by Phil Carradice. It is the story of the life and death of Dylan Thomas based on his Poem of the same name. Phil Carradice describes his book as ‘a piece of fiction grafted around real events’.
In this story Dylan Thomas is lying in a state of unconsciousness in a hospital bed in New York. He is reflecting back on his life as he waits for the inevitable end to come. We are given a sorry view of a young man who has frankly just run out of steam to go on living. Aware his life is now ending he revisits his childhood; growing up in Wales, his turbulent marriage with Caitlin, his misjudged affairs, the alcohol fuelled parties he enjoyed as a wild young poet in London and finally his last weeks in New York.
I really enjoyed this book. I’m slightly embarrassed to say so, but I found my self unintentionally reading this in a Welsh accent. obviously I was reading it in my head, otherwise it would just be odd, especially as I suspect the Welsh accent in my head is much better than the Welsh accent I would actually speak.
This book gives an insight into the life of Dylan Thomas and the events that shaped him as a man and a poet. I imagine the author wanted this book to inspire readers to explore Thomas’ poetry for themselves. If that was his intention then it worked, I have since bought a copy of Dylan Thomas Collected Works.