British editor Winder uses Ian Fleming’s most famous character to tie together a series of important personal and societal events in this cheery memoir.
He begins his potted history with a starry-eyed recollection of seeing The Spy Who Loved Me at age ten. It was a pivotal moment for Winder; the rugged Bond of the silver screen impinged on his consciousness and never really let go. The author makes an early disclaimer that his knowledge of history is limited at best and his life hasn’t really been interesting enough to merit a full-blown memoir—a typically British act of self-deprecation that might not appear to be the best start for a book. As the breadth of his Bond obsession slowly unravels, however, he manages to make some entertaining, albeit often tenuous links among himself, Fleming’s character and various upheavals in British society. Winder attempts to determine why the British public became so enamored of Bond after World War II. He explains how his own Bond-influenced penchant for safari suits caused him years of grief in foreign climes. He wonders why his frequent snorkeling trips have never met with the kind of undersea encounters inevitably faced by his hero moments after dipping a toe in the water. He primarily admires the Bond novels, but such is the extent of his obsession that he manages to find something worthwhile in even the most wretched big-screen adaptations. This leads to many passages in which the author muses on the nature of fandom, but he never strays too far from his original intentions. Winder manages to craft a deeply humorous tome from very eclectic subject matter.
Ambitious and highly original.