Tom Houghton 

Reviewed By  Janet Mawdesley       October 2, 2015

 

Author  Todd Alexander

Distributor:       Booktopia/Amazon 
ISBN:                 9781925184556
Publisher:         Simon & Schuster
Release Date:    

Website:    http://www.simonandschuster.com.au 

Written as a novel there are so many times when reading the pages of a life so often not well lived, you must simply remind yourself that, yes, this is only fiction: Tom Houghton is a fictitious person.

With the skill of a true storyteller, Alexander has woven the strands of Tom Houghton’s life into a tale that will, in turn make you weep, break your heart, make you laugh and cringe, as you will so often see a small portrayal of yourself in his confrontation of his life.

That he is a courageous person will unfold as you turn the pages: that he is a person who is doing his best to try and understand the hand life has dealt him has been created in a masterful manner, as Tom Houghton struggles with his confused world of fact and fantasy.

Growing up in the Western Suburbs of Sydney, Tom is a boy who is a gentle soul, very different to the other local boys, and smothered by his mother’s inability to cope with life. His grandfather cannot understand Tom’s almost fanatical escape into the golden age of Cinema.

When Tom discovers his Grandmother also had a love of cinema, favouring Katherine Hepburn, he decides to dig a little deeper into Katherine Hepburn’s life and discovers her brother was also named Tom Houghton; that her relationship with him, during his short life, boarded on the almost unhealthy side of brother sister relationships. Tom then sees himself as the almost reincarnation of this man.

That he is unmercifully bullied and beaten at school simply encourages him to retreat further into his fantasy world with disastrous results.

He forges a career in the world of theatre but it is not until 30 years on he is offered a role in a play being presented at a festival in Scotland, a role he takes and sees as he way forward; a way to move on and way from the many issues which have seen him become a pariah in the world of theatre and acting.

On the eve of his final performance in the play he is forced to face up to the man he has become; the pathetic remainder of a man who, at some stage, believed everything was possible. He discovers in most shattering way that he had allowed himself to become a tragic figure, far worse than anything he could possible portray on the stage.  He also finally decides that it is time to start accepting the consequences of his behaviour; that it is time to start making amends and rebuilding his life and self-respect.

Confrontational, riveting, emotional and totally engrossing, Tom Houghton will have you trying to work out just “Who is Tom Houghton” and how much of him resides within each and every one of us!