Reading Speed

FOGGY – THE EXPLOSIVE AUTOBIOGRAPHY

Posted in Biography by readingspeed on March 1, 2009

Carl Fogarty with Neil Bramwell

HarperCollinsWillow ISBN 0-00-218961-5

Explosive is an adjective normally associated with roadside bombs or dysentery not biographies. To come close to being explosive this book would either have to give the reader amoebic diarrhea, cripple them with an improvised munition or perhaps tell us shocking things about Carl Fogarty that we didn’t already know. Anybody with even a passing interest in motorcycle racing already has a fully formed and probably unfavourable opinion about Carl.

Foggy – TEA initially does very little to improve Fogarty’s brand equity with the reader. In the first few pages we only have to read about his proclivity for burning the long suffering Mrs Fogarty with a hot spoon and tales of pubescent animal cruelty to realise we are in the presence of A Very Special Person. If Fogarty has a charm it is that he is utterly unencumbered by any concern about other people’s opinion of him. This happens to be a valuable trait for an autobiographer as it naturally leads to less self-censorship and restraint.

Thus we are treated to an unvarnished and authentic account of the career that led Fogarty to four World Superbike titles. Of course, honesty comes easily when one is being consistently successful. It would have been fascinating to see if the searing light of Fogarty’s introspection would have remain undimmed when he contemplated his less successful post-riding career as a team owner and manager. Unfortunately, that question remains, for the moment, unanswered as Foggy – TEA ends with the 2000 season.

The book’s other major flaw is that Fogarty does succumb to the universal autobiographer’s temptation of settling old scores. On occasion this can be entertaining and interesting when the feud is with another notable personality. But do we really need to know the details of Fogarty’s long running fight with his Uncle Brian? Does it add any heft to the story to know that the Fogarty – Uncle Brian casus belli were Foggy branded ceramic plates? No and no.

RS Rating: 3/10

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