Apparently there has been a bit of a discussion about this book. Jimmy Burns praises the famous columnist for her style in writing a biography about the most famous football player in Britain these days, while Simon Kuper says that the book is about herself, not about Beckham. I was glad I didn't know about the discussion, so I sat down with an open mind when I started reading it. After a few chapters I came to the same conclusion as Kuper. I do not have a clue who Burchill is, but she certainly has written a book about herself, her life, her idea's, her background, her youth, her idea of amateurpsychology and some similarities with the football player Beckham with these. I even the a risk with the next remark, but remember I have never been accused of sexism in my life, it is a concept completely strange to me, still I think Burchill has wet knickers every time Beckham appears on her television.
Is it possible to write a good biography and praise every single aspect of somebody's life? I doubt it. Still, she managed. She has proof that the Beckhams are really happy together, that they are a young and intelligent couple, that they are both multi talented, the best parents you can imagine and more positive things. She sees Beckham as a role model, very well in touch with his feminine side in the macho world of football.
I tend not to read biographies of football players. 99 out of 100 are written only to make some money on the side. Milk the punters while you can. How could a biography of any football star be interesting? He is in his twenties and for 15 years he hasn't done anything but pursue the heights he has now finally reached. He has only one single interest and that is football, otherwise he wouldn't be a star. Any biography therefore can't be interesting. I read this one anyway, as it came as a part of the latest Hard Gras, Dutch quarterly football magazine-book.
Luckily a few other stories were good, which makes it worth the effort of picking up the book. Ernest Landheer describes the effort of Feyenoord in Ghana, while Harry van Wijnen has some great anecdotes about some old players of that same club. The conclusion that most good football literature from my country is about Feyenoord seems fairly obvious by now. It is hard to admit as a lifelong Ajax fan, but it is the truth. Together with a shit-biography, this edition of Hard Gras was a hard one for me.