A Biased Memoir
David Marr, in his biography of Patrick White, makes the statement that White saw suffering as a force of history shaping human life and events. The worst suffering of all being loneliness and the need to be rescued from it. White is quoted as saying; ‘I have always found in my own case that something positive, either creative or moral, has come out of anything I have experienced in the way of affliction.’ Marr explains that White admired, in others, signs of his own ambivalence: ‘men of unexpected gentleness and women with masculine strength’. A realisation, an explanation, sensed in childhood and expressed when he was an old man. Perhaps the inheritance for many sensitive and perceptive children.
Many people are exiles, either from choice or for some unrelenting reason. Whether we like it or not, we are all exiles, without choice, from childhood. Certain experiences during childhood shape our lives later on. Memories from Ruth Cracknell’s childhood present the reader with a sensitive and perceptive child and, at the same time, an adult able to bring to the printed page some of the realisations and explanations from certain events and certain people.