Mr. Campbell, back in Glasglow, found he had a flair for interviewing the misfit writers he admired...His flowering curiosity and bookishness led eventually to his admittance, at 23, to Edinburgh University and a long career in literary journalism...But this deftly written memoir, like Lord of the Flies, is about more than it appears to be about...It is the story of a writer finding his own voice...'The hardest thing of all in writing is to sound like yourself,' [Campbell] reflects. 'The kind of writing I liked kept its feet on the ground. It was a Scottish style: commonsensical, skeptical, impatient of cant, alert to the value of subterranean humor.'
This book is an interim memoir...Campbell was born and reared in a loving and, evidently admirable, respectable, serious Protestant working-class family in Glasglow...His father did wartime service in the Navy, then, upwardly mobile, for British Rail...His musical mother was a Land Girl in the war...His elder twin sisters would be the first in the family to go to university...His own schooling was unsatisfactory, difficult to see just why, and he left at 15 to be apprenticed to a printing firm...He stuck that for three years...Meanwhile, his father being promoted in British Rail, his parents moved to the South of England...This memoir of boyhood is fascinating...This memoir is one of a youth that remains vividly alive in memory, and now comes alive again on the page...It is very Scottish, revealing and yet also restrained in its selection of moments in a life–a memoir which is also a work of art.
James Campbell's Just Got Down to the Road is a humble and humorous memoir about the youthful pursuit of literary success...Just Go Down to the Road brings an exciting time in the world and literary history to life...It's a remarkable travel account that began with the simple suggestion: 'Just go down to the road, Jim. You'll get a lift.'