Me, Myself and Lord Byron

Me, Myself & Lord Byron, Julietta Jameson, Pier 9 at Murdoch Books, paperback, 2011, rrp $34.99, ISBN978 1 74196 645 9.

memyself"A woman, a poet and a quest to reclaim the zest for life" is the subtext to this revealing and fascinating book.

Australian journalist, Julietta Jameson, dissatisfied with her life, needs to 'find herself' and work through the effects of a difficult childhood, as well as the disappointments and stresses of her adult life. Sound familiar?

This is yet another desperate and dateless saga . . but there's a twist. Here we have Eat, Pray, Love, without Bali or India.

Always a fan of poet Lord Byron, Jameson decides to follow his treks across Europe (in particular Switzerland, Italy and Greece) to see if her life might have similarities, or whether she can learn from his life and discover a better way for her own.

As she does so, staying in Venice, Rome, Pisa, she bravely discloses an astonishing amount about her own background. This account of her family, her feelings, her needs and aspirations is both moving and unsettling in its honesty.

So did Lord Byron - himself a dysfunctional misfit, a genius with an aberrant side - help Julietta?

I think she would say so, but perhaps, too, the lovely landscapes of Italy, and the gift of more time and space to meditate and see things in a different light, also had a part to play. Surely she rediscovered and deepened her spiritual awareness.

This is a fascinating book on several levels, not least the opportunity it offers readers to gain a closer understanding of the life of a troubled yet hugely gifted poet who has slipped on the literary radar in the past few decades.

In today's setting, though, it's the sort of book you can imagine seeing on the wide screen at some point in the future. Let's just hope Julia Roberts is free to star in it!

- Sally Hammond

 

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