Where Did it all Go Right?


One of the Copenhagen finds, Where Did it all Go Right? is subtitled «Growing up normal in the 70s» – intriguing enough to get me to pick it down from the shelf. This is a tale to counterpoint the chronicles of suffering produced by people who had miserable childhoods – not, as Collins points out, in order to belittle their plight, but in order to show that some things are right with the world even if much of it is wrong… And for someone who’s grown up normal in the 80s (Collins was born in 65, and is thus 9 years older than me – I can’t remember much from the 70s…), a lot of this stuff is head-noddingly familiar. «They tucked him up, his mum and dad» – well, so did mine. Collins bemoans the fact that he was never seriously ill – neither was I, I had chicken pox when I was four and at about the same time had to have two or three stitches on my chin due to slipping on the ice below a slide and hitting said chin on the edge, and that’s the most I can boast (Collins beats me in the number of childhood diseases, but only has a measly ingrown toenail to my stiches). There are other similarities and there are, reassuringly, quite a few differences, but despite these it’s mostly comfortingly familiar. This might not be great art or a candidate for «Memoirs of the Year», but it’s interesting enough and sufficiently well-written for me to want to get hold of the «sequel»: Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now: My Difficult Student 80s. We’ll see.