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Book Review: Life is not a Rehearsal by Ross Hartshorn

Lifestyle / Mon 12th Sep 2022 pm30 01:08pm

WE can’t think of many Harlow residents who have written their memoirs. There have been MPs such as Stan Newens and Jerry Hayes. There has been footballer Glenn Hoddle but not many, if you don’t mind the term, ordinary folk.

The writer Christopher Hitchins once said “I hear 99% of people have a book in them and that’s exactly where it should stay”

There was a time, reading Ross Hartshorn’s “Life is not a rehearsal” that this reviewer wondered, who would find it interesting. Apart from Mr Hartshorn.

However, getting the book written and published is the achievement. In many ways, this is the literary equivalent of deciding to run a marathon. You may not be Elid Kipchoge but the finishing is the achievement in itself.

Ross’ memoir takes us from his early days in Harlow, through education and enterprise.

There are highs and lows.

Some may be interested in his days as a racehorse owner and some his business ventures.

We found his description of his early life in Churchfield and education at Netteswell Grammar fascinating.

In many ways, he shone a light into class and aspiration. The he became a teacher, he described how certain schools still wouldn’t play St Mark’s at Rugby. Nothing to do with religion but purely snobbery.

The book could have done with less on some subject. There’s a long period on personalised number plates. And more on others. Ross was at Woodstock but the details are scant (yeah we know..if you can remember….man).

In many ways, this is a guide to why Essex man took Margaret Thatcher to their hearts between 1975 and 1990.

Mr Hartshorn writes touchingly of the late great headmaster of St Mark’s Mr O’Shea (MC MA).

But in the end, you finish the book, having read a story of what appears to be a survivor.

Life Is Not A Rehearsal is available in Amazon.

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