The King’s Speech

The King’s Speech, by Mark Logue and Peter Conradi, is a non-fiction account of King George VI and his battle with stammering, helped by his friend and speech therapist, Lionel Logue. But of course, anyone who’s seen the movie already knows this.

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King George VI of England had a terrible speech defect where he couldn’t stop stammering when speaking. This was obviously a hindrance to his political career, because as prince and then king, he was obliged to make a lot of speeches. With the help of Australian-born Lionel Logue, he managed to overcome his problem.

Let me be completely honest with you. This was a difficult book to get through, and it is even harder to review. It’s a small book. Excluding the leaves devoted to notes and bibliography, it’s only a mere 229 pages long. It even has pictures! But it took me four days to finish reading it.

I didn’t know exactly how to review it. There were certainly some parts that were quite off about the whole thing, but it was simply difficult to put into words. So I did my research, and if you want, you can check out this site that also reviews the same book.

The book follows the King’s friendship with Logue long before George VI actually became the king. It goes from when George VI, then the Duke of York, asked for Logue’s help, and ends with their deaths, several years later. Which is fine, trust me. The content of this book is fascinating. The writing style, not very much. It took me four days to read because every time I opened it, my eyes started to droop with sleep.

To steal a GIF from The King’s Speech movie, this was my reaction each time it got a little too descriptive with the facts. (Warning, bad words ahead!)

The book’s writing style was dry, like dead leaves on a summer day. It read like a badly done newspaper article, cluttered with facts and lacking any actual passion for what’s being written. It’s really not surprising that the movie had to fabricate so much to inject the story with some colour. (Half of what’s in the movie isn’t in the book. Like that aforementioned scene with the King swearing like a badmouthed banshee.)

I wouldn’t read this book again.

Now excuse me while I go watch the amazing movie.

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