Sunday, 3 February 2013

The Escape Artist - Matt Seaton: Book Review

Reading the back of this book you would believe this book is about the terminal illness of the writer's wife and how that impacted his life. Well that's the impression I got. Yet it's so much more than that and in fact that is merely a side story to the main theme. Cycling. Amateur cycling and Seaton's obsession with it.

I've played football at amateur level since I was 18 and found Matt's account of the cycling equivalent fascinating. He addresses everything from the training schedules to the changing room etiquette - I'm assuming the 'not looking' policy is the same in all male changing rooms throughout the UK despite my wife's insistance to the contrary - not that he mentions this side of it. Seeing the dedication required to achieve at such a low level is quite an eye opener but what this book covers and excels at is that it covers questions you've always wanted to ask about cycling and raises, and answers a whole load more.

What you begin to realise is that his main enjoyment, hobby and reason for living is about to come to an end. While his mouth and brain have come to terms with that his heart hasn't. Forget his wife's illness or their IVF treatment, this is where the book really got me. Having given up football 15 years after starting I could totally relate to what Seaton was now facing. Family life called and it was only right he gave up cycling. While he slowly withdrew from cycling it dawned on him even more slowly how this would affect him.

So if you're suddenly finding age and life catching up on you and you're no longer doing what you want for just you 100% of the time then this book is for you. He doesn't tell you how to deal with it, he doesn't know himself but it does show you that many more men across the country are going through the same thing, whether they're in to tennis, cycling, football or rock climbing. If you want a full, rounded life then it will come to you too.

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